Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

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Rock Bottom Restaurant & BreweryRock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
3,303 Ratings
Rock Bottom Restaurant & BreweryRock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

1 W Grand Ave
Chicago, Illinois, 60654-4806
United States

(312) 755-9339 | map

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Ratings: 119 |  Reviews: 70
Photo of Getinthevan
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I went here about two weeks ago and overall it was a nice place. The food was pretty spot on, even though it was a bit on the pricey side. The deal for the day I went were $3 Walleye Wheats. Needless to say, I ordered a few and the brews themselves weren't too bad. I had never heard of this brewery until a colleague of me referred me to it.

Overall, it's a nice place. It's in a good downtown location and the beer is refreshing. It's a bit expensive however and you really have to plan ahead for a place of this caliber. Great times are to be had here however and you can't go wrong with that at all!

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I regret not visiting this place more often, the regular selections of beers are good, but the seasonals, and especially the barrel aged beer are some of the best I've had.

The prices are reasonable considering the location, and the food is quite good.

I experience very good service whenever I am in here, the bartenders are friendly and helpful.

I would say this is my favorite Rock Bottom due to the quality beer and the east accessibility from public transit. I recommend a visit, it is very much worth it.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I was staying at the Embassy Suites down the street so this place was the nearest beerworthy joint. Went there on two occasion and although I was please with the overall experience, I wasnt really expecting much from this chain. I will say this was my best experience of the chain.

Went on Friday night and it was slammed with thirtysomethings so service was really bad. Ordered a Belgian Wit and received a pale ale. It thought it would be okay when the server said "This one is on us". Whenever I got the bill, there was the wrong beer on there. I knew if I disputed it would take 30 minutes so I accepted the beer anyway (my wife drank it). Went on Saturday afternoon for a LATE lunch (like 2pm) and service was still pretty lame although the joint was pretty empty.

Beers were actually pretty good. I had the American Stout, the pale ale, the Belgian Wit, a 13 anniversary ale, and a HopFunWeizen (american wheat) and all were enjoyable with the stout being my favorite.

Chose a mushroom swiss burger that was pretty good. Fries were kind of old and cold and chewy due to the late lunch.

Pricey beers but I guess that is Chicago. Most were in the $5-$6 range, which was typical of all of Chicago. Went twice so I enjoyed it!

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Photo of kensuthe
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Atmosphere - We stopped in for a bite to eat and to grab a couple drinks after the long drive up to Chicago from Baton Rouge, somewhere around 9pm on a Wednesday night. We sat in the bar area, and there were Cubs and White Sox games on the televisions along the wall. The bar area has a bricks, wood, tables, and booths look and feel to it. The crowd was younger and trendier than I remembered from the last time I had come here, but that wasn't a bad thing. The place was full without being packed, and different groups of people were coming in and out the entire time we were there.

Quality - We each had two beers, and they were all pretty good and served in appropriate glassware. Two of our beers, the Eric the Red and the Dublin Irish Stout, seemed to have slightly less carbonation than I would have expected, but the flavor wasn't off so it could have just been the after effects of driving for 15 hours.

Service - The place was busy, but our server was a little slow refilling drinks and taking new drink orders. He also failed to explain that the beer menu on the table is not what is available at all times, since Rock Bottom rotates certain beers among certain styles during the year but the menu does not change to reflect this. This wasn't too much of a problem to figure out, but I'd rather hear it from the server than be left to figure it out on my own after a beer that is different from what I ordered is brought to the table.

Selection - There are six basic choices on tap to choose from, with one or two extra offerings on top of that depending on the time of year. Some of the styles rotate seasonally, so you'll see the same style on the menu but it might be a different beer that you're ordering.

Food - The food was okay, better than the average bar room food but pretty average compared to a decent restaurant. We had the hickory burger which was severely lacking in barbeque sauce and the bourbonzola burger which was pretty good, and a couple appetizers to go along with it. We stayed away from the pizza, at the suggestion of the server.

Value - It was slightly more expensive than similar dining experiences in the area, but it was still affordable and worth the prices. The beer was cheaper than the food. I'd probably pick something else if I had the option, but it's definitely not a painful experience to eat or drink here.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Ahhh...home of the $6 pint, but I am going to assume that's normal for Chi-town.

Under construction all around this place and even the facade of the building was getting a serious upgrade. A less determined visitor may have passed up this place after seeing the intersection of Grand Ave. and State St., but after going to my colleagues' choice for dinner the night before on a recent business trip, there was no way I was going to skip this place, only a few blocks from the Embassy Suites Lakefront.

Got all the regulars and seasonals in a sampler, for 6 or 7 bucks. Nine of them total. Not bad I thought, to go along with dinner. Dinner fare was acceptable and all in our party were happy with our meals. Server was not too beer savvy but didn't mind sharing what she did know. "Construction Ale" which IIRC was just the Blonde renamed for the current events, was on special for $3 a pint. After my sampler I got a pint of the Erik the Red, which I thought was a fine Irish Red Ale, and then another pint of the Stout over at the bar. That too was pretty good.

Bar area had loud music and some pretty drunk morons for a random Tuesday night. Let's put our ties on our head like Rambo and dance to some fucked up top-40 bullshit song. Oh yeah...and these are two guys who I think were actually trying to impress girls...

Anyway...I guess I am too old to understand that kind of behavior. I would not head to this bar for a relaxing pint with my buds and to chat up the bartender, but it's nice to drink a good beer or two.

I'd go back for dinner, since the bar and dining room are totally separate. Having to go upstairs and through a maze to use the pisser is a bit of a drag.

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Photo of bditty187
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I've been to a couple Rock Bottom Brewpubs. I am never thrilled to go to one but I always like my visit. As this Rock Bottom was literally two blocks from our hotel we stopped here for dinner.

At 8pm on a Saturday night it was loud and busy. We found a seat near the bar in moments and had great service throughout even though it was busy.

The first thing that jumped off the food menu was the large pretzels for an appetizer and beef tips for dinner. I don't even recall what else was on the menu. I was hungry and those sounded good. My better half got steak and she liked it. The food was very good. As expected.

For beer, we tried the seasonal IPA (tasty... hoppy, not too bitter), Stout (robust roasted flavors), Unfiltered Pale Ale (decent) and a Barleywine which I really liked. If wasn't so tired (I had drove straight from Omaha) I would have had a couple of these.

I didn't really checkout the building; the dinner area seemed to be separate from the bar. The bar area was dark, lots of wood and their beer signs. Lots of tables and booths, plenty of seating... it looked like a fairly big place. There was even seating upstairs (but that was closed on our visit). The bathrooms were upstairs as well. The TVs had a Cubs rerun on plus some random-ass "X Games" type thing. That was really my only complaint, put on some live sports!!

Our waitress, Jen, was awesome... attentive and knowledgeable about their beer.

Rock Bottom, during our visit, was the right place at the right time. Good food and good beer... yes, it was loud and busy but it was downtown Chicago on a Saturday. What else should I have expected?

Worth a visit.

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Photo of DreamFielder
4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Okay, yes, it's a chain. And the menu might be similar to what's elsewhere. But this is as good as it gets, and it is certainly the best restaurant/brewpub in downtown Chicago. There's a decent selection of food, although a lunch menu would be a nice addition, for all tastes. I enjoy the fish (salmon) and chips, as well as the meatloaf. And the desserts are even better. As for beer, there always seem to be several varieties besides the six standbyes. The Brown Bear brown is always reliable, always wonderful. Last week was the Fire Engine Red, which is rich and tasty. The Belgian was absolutely out of this world; any extra ABV was not overpowering at all. Only two piddling complaints: the bourbon barrel porter had run out hours before I arrived, and it's always a highlight of my visits to Chicago in the spring. And the musak tends to be loud, but the waiter graciously turned it down a bit with no quibble. I've always found the service to be reliable, generous with the samplers, knowledgeable, and more friendly than an Iowa yokel has a right to expect. Which is why this is my main eatery during business trips. It's great.

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Photo of AllSeeingPie
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Been coming here about once a month for the past two years. Think of it as a Chillis with excellent beer. The menu is normal restaurant chain food and nothing special and the quality has dropped slightly over the last two years. What is special is the beer. They have the normal Rock Bottom Brewery beers but it's their specials that keep me coming back. I had a Kolsch which was good. I then had an IPA which I didn't like so much but that may be me. I finished with the barrel aged raspberry stout which was superb. Finally service was top notch as always.

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Photo of jf60657
4/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Big place. The bar area is large with many tables and bar seating. Around the bar is a large area with pool tables and more seating. A waitress came to us after about 5-10 minutes (it was busy) and took our order. The beer came quickly and I pair 5.50 for a goblet of Rye.P.A that was quite good. The food menu was not very vegetarian friendly so I passed on eating. The bar got a little loud and was packed with the chicago yuppie scene, so I had a repeat on the beer and hit the road. Very nice place, staff was friendly, not really the crowd I like but that doesn,t mean anything, no-one was rude or offensive. I'd go back if I was in the area but I would rather hit piece or G.I

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Photo of Stoneman78
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Nice and open brewpub typical of the style for this chain, plenty of seating and TVs abound. The overall atmosphere and quality were acceptable but lacing in uniqueness.

Service was very good, our waiter was very attentive and expedient with drink and food orders. Bonus points for running after us in the street to get me my left-behind beer journal!

Impressive selection of beers. In addition to a standard RB lineup, this location had ~7 specialty beers including a belgian wit, barleywine, smoked porter, and dry-hopped oatmeal stout. There is something here for any beer geek, this Chicago location had the best specialty beers of any RB location I have frequented

Food also was good and indicative of the chain. We split a series of appetizers for dinner (chicken nachos, spinach dip, pepperoni pizza) all which satisfied our tastebuds and hunger.

Even if you've been to a RB before, I would recommend a trip to the Chicago location to try their unique specialty beers

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Photo of larsee01
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Definitely a fun place to go...conversationally challenged. Always crowded, but a good crowd. Pool hall/bar area an upscale version of the cookie cutter brewpubs.

This place is BIG! Polite service suffers slightly due to elbow-to-elbow crowds stretching the staff. Adjacent restaurant serves good food and a wide selection.

I've been here several times, but the memory that really lingers is an AMAZING seasonal "Belgian Dark" that I had. I wish I could remember more details, other than this thing was double-digit ABV which essentially erased many of my memories from that night. It sure was easy-drinking and sessionable that evening!

Overall a fun meeting place.

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Photo of Hollenbeck2
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I was in chicago on business ran in to grap a pint and glass for the collection.

This link in the chain occupies a downtown spot, about 5,000 restaurants within 20 feet, very busy area, the good thing is with so many spots this is not too crowded.

They had good beers on tap, like most rock bottoms the standard 5 or 6 plus some brewer specials.

I enjoyed the beer I ordered.

Good service. the people were very friendly mostly only ran in to grab a pint of beer and a collector glass.

I did not sample the food. Well worth a stop!

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Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

2010: Pete Crowley has left to start Haymarket Brewing. Haven't really been back here with any frequency since.

Stopped here tonight for the purpose of trying some barrel-aged offerings, which there will be a series of 8 released starting Nov. 2007. A dry-hopped stout, winter warmer, and oatmeal stout were all pouring. These aren't available in growlers, so we decided to stop in for a beer. Had a new barrel-aged oatmeal stout ($6), and took home a growler of the 12th anniversary IPA ($8.75).

Service and atmosphere are much better at the bar than in the restaurant. If you're visiting from out of town and write the place off after one visit, you're missing out. The seasonals and one-offs are impressive and consistently good.

Original review:
The atmosphere is better than a TGI Friday's but not by much. Lots of staff dashing about, herding busloads of tourists and after-work groups. Daytime is a better atmosphere, more relaxed anyway. During the summer months, the rooftop garden is a nice option with a limited menu. The brew kettles are prominent right up front, on the left when you walk in. Bar is generally louder and slightly smoky, again daytime is not so bad.

The beers i've tried on various visits have all been fresh and of high-quality. Erik the Red, BA Coffee Porter last year, Saison, Hefe...all good. Usually a great seasonal offering.

Food is alright, not my favorite. Some tex-mex, bbq, southern salads, pizza, all things to all (American) people. Quality wise it's passable. Check it out if you're staying downtown, the beer is way above average for this chain.

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Photo of botham
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

rock bottom in chicago is right in the midst of downtown. a great location and a great spread of brew types.

there were around ten brews on tap, with a good spread of variety, from pilsners to stouts, and a good line of in-betweens. the terminal oatmeal stout is good, although it jumps away from the archetypes of the style a bit, it is a decent brew. the porter was great, highly recommended!

the staff is friendly and responsive, for brews, samples, or to talk beer and brewing. service was prompt and of good quality.

overall, this is a good place to stop and have a brew while in downtown Chicago, especially when travelling with a group of diverse beer drinkers, most styles are covered. cheers!

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3 | food: 4

This is a great place to have dinner downtown. It's less like a typical beer bar, and more like a Bennigan's or Applebee's that happens to brew their own beer. What I mean is that for 90% of the patrons, the focus is on the food (families, non beer geeks, ect.).

The food was excellent; I had a Mediterranean style pizza and my fiance had a chicken quesadilla and a cesar salad. The beer was good, but pretty average and forgettable. I tried the porter, the IPA, the non-barrel aged Brown Bear, and the Oatmeal Pale Ale...all were decent and very much "too style," but nothing really stood out.

I picked up a growler of Eric the Red, that I tried at home the next day. It's a hoppy session brew that is their best regular offering IMO, and I had a snifter of the bourbon barrel-aged Brown Bear which is the real standout of the place. Its an outstanding brew if you like bourbon or scotch (I do).

The service was amazing, and our knowledgeable waiter was more than happy to bring me free samples of everything ...he just kept bringing me stuff to try, I didn't even have to ask!

The place is huge and very nice. There is a third floor beer garden with great views of the buildings towering above you. Also, be warned...the bathrooms are on the second floor and not real easy to find.

There are much better beer joints in Chicago, but if you are with your family or a bunch of non-BA's or people who don't drink (perish the thought) this is a great place to go, and it's just a few blocks away from the Magnificent Mile.

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Photo of sleazo
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

There are a few things I loke about this location of rock Bottom. First there is the roof deck which is great for the summer and offers nice views of downtown Chicago. The second thing is this place seems to have better quality seasonals than other locations. I had a Bourbon Barrel aged Brown bear ale which I thought was excellent. Other than that it was the typical Rock Bottom beers. The IPA I had was pretty bad, it tasted like hop pellets and nothing else. The food is typical Rock Bottom which you would find anywhere. It happens to be across the st from y friends house so it is a good choice for the area.

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Photo of mgobrew
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

We went here after dinner for a few beers on the rooftop beer garden. The beer garden was nice change of pace for the downtown area although they only allowed drinking from plastic cups which I understand but it does take away points for quality. The beer selection was average with one seasonal offering and 4 others currently on tap. I started with the Chicago Gold Pale Ale and it was nice but I would prefer a bit more bite, but that’s just me being a hop head. The seasonal was a lager that was perfect for this blue collar Midwestern “Old Style” kind of town. This beer would be perfect while watching a game in the sun at Wrigley or Comiskey (Sorry I will not dignify the corporate moniker). It was smooth and refreshing and went down easy with just the right mix of malt and hops. Well done! The service was good even though one waiter covered the whole garden. I’m sure they have more when it is busy but it was full and another minimum wage server would have made for quicker service and happier customers. Not a high price to pay to insure good service customer satisfaction in my opinion. But that being said it was a nice experience and it would not deter me from returning.

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Photo of ByTor2112
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Second time here, first time reviewing.
Great service and I went to have dinner with my family.
One Belgian on tap was the most unique seasonal. Good porter on tap and the Erik the Red was decent. I will not turn my nose up to Rock Bottom. They still turn out quality brews. Food has always been very good. They used to have a Monte Cristo sandwhich that was to die for. Not on the menu this time. Very convenient in the downtown area. I have never been disappointed with my dining or drinking at this palce.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

conveniently located if you're downtown visiting in the loop. if you're just interested in beer while in this part of town, you're better off going to the clark street ale house down the street. if you want food or a larger venue then this place is fine. this place is quite big and the decor is the same as other rock bottoms. i rate this higher due to the rooftop area with a decent view of the city and it's overall scale. there is also an entertainment room (pool, darts, etc.) and probably other shit i missed. typical lineup of rock bottom standard brews and monthly special release beers. selection suffers due to no guest beers as with all RBs.the brewer here is pretty good. as such, the monthly specialty beers will be better recieved by beer geeks than the standards. service was prompt and helpful. food was good, i had the buffalo (no, not spicy chicken) fajitas which were quite tasty. way better than beef. prices are reasonable, especially given that it's in a pricey part of downtown chicago.

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Photo of kajerm
4/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I'd been hearing about this place for a while, finally visited it for the first time today. I've tried before, but it was way too crowded and the wait was something ridiculous (45 minutes of something like that.) Atmosphere is solid when it's not too full (weekdays or late afternoon), but way too loud when it is.

Our waiter (Jeremy) was excellent, and knew the beer list very well. He had no problems with special orders on our food either.

The list of in-house beers is good, although some of them are lackluster (the belgian ale and the hefe were both pretty weak.) The brewmaster really has his act together, though, and his specials are awesome-- I had a killer bourbon-aged imperial stout. The Amarillo/Centennial DIPA that they're currently serving was brewed by the assistant and also kicks ass.

The food was decent, good quality, but ultimately this is a chain and there's sort of a ceiling on how great it can be. Still, no complaints and it hit the spot for an early Friday night dinner.

Overall, it's worth the trip for the beer, but avoid the crowds unless you like waiting and noise.

NOTE: Turns out the "DIPA" was just a reguarly IPA, but it's Amaraillo-heavy (with a bit of Centennial), and was so good that I bought a growler of it. The Woodford Bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout is an absolutely incredible beer, comparable to the best imperial stouts out there. Both Pete and his assistant really have their acts together; if you're in Chicago, this place (chain status notwithstanding) is a can't-miss. Rock Bottom Chicago is fortunate to have such incredible talent working for them. Advice: get the local creations, avoid the corportate stuff.

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Photo of number1bum
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped here on a business trip. I've only previously been to the Rock Bottom in Minneapolis, which was pretty good but not great, and overall I would say that this location was much better. Atmosphere was fine - nice bar, plenty of space, and not terribly loud or smoky on a busy but not crazy Sunday evening. I sat at the bar and the service was prompt and courteous...nothing to complain about there (although at least one of the servers clearly didn't know much about beer, while the other two were more competent). I had the BBQ chicken chipotle pizza which was very good (and the dough is made with the brown ale, mmmm), but a lot of the stuff on the menu seemed sort of boring so I didn't go above a 4 there.

Now on to the beer. I had the Erik the Red, the Brown Ale and the Blitzen. The Erik the Red was very good, the Brown Ale was solid if not unspectacular, and the Blitzen was a really nice belgian pale (although I thought it leaned a bit toward a belgian dubbel, but it was good however you want to classify it). I enjoyed all three and wish I had time to try some of the others...particularly the Imperial Stout on cask. Only knock I have is that the selection is somewhat limited, but they had 2 cask selections so I left it a 4.

I thought the beer was a tad pricey, to be honest, but the food was very reasonable so overall the value was good. I would definitely come back.

edit: stopped back again the next night and had the Irish Dry Stout and the Fire Chief Irish Red. Fire Chief was very tasty, and the Stout was nice, as well. The two Reds are definitely the best brews I tasted here.

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Photo of tapman
4/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

4s straight across the board for me.

The atmosphere is as good as one could ask from a downtown restaurant, but give me a good old fashioned Irish Pub any day for true atmosphere. Am I right?

The food is delicious and there is a decent variety of entrees to appease many different palates. I have been there about five times and they never fail to dissapoint.

Their beer selection is pretty decent. Since they brew their own beer they try out many different recipes and everytime I walk in I can't wait to see what's on the menu. Tried a brown ale and an imperial stout, pretty tasty. Beers come accompanied with a description of brewing technique and/or a basic account of the ingredients (type of hops, top fermentation, etc.)

The price isn't even to bad. We're talking $8-$22 depending what you want, but most reside at about 12-15 dollars, not bad for downtown really. And you get a decent amount of tasty grub for that price. A new favorite for my friends and I, I highly recommend The Rock Bottom.

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Photo of Xadoor
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I've been to various Rock Bottom locations around the country and they've never disappointed. It turned out to be our evening-ending place after spending the afternoon at The Hop Leaf. The front bar was pretty packed and noisy, but the back area around the pool tables was empty and quieter. Service was quick and attentive with the waitress making constant rounds to check on us. The waitress sold us on trying the Bourbon Barrel Brown Ale which I was certainly not a fan of at all once it began to warm. Soper2000 seemed to be enjoying his, so I filled his glass with mine when he wasn't looking and proceeded to order something else. After a few games of pool, a few more pints and an amusing time of watching Soper2000 wander around the place looking for the bathrooms (they're upstairs), we decided to call it a night and grabbed a growler of their Chicago Gold and headed back to our hotel. Unfortunately, a full day of drinking took its toll and the growler had to wait until the next night.

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Photo of soper2000
4/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Our party made it back to the Rock Bottom after stops at G.I. Wrigleyville and the Hopleaf. The place was packed upon walking in at about 9 o'clock. The only free space was by a surprisingly vacant pool table in the back. A waitress came by asking for orders before we even had a chance to set our coats down. We split some nachos which hit the spot and myself and Xadoor each got a pint of the Bourbon Barrel aged brown ale.

My first impression of the brown was very favorable as I was on a bit of a bourbon kick. The whiskey flavors and aromas were very much up front but it wasn't a one trick pony like the bourbon barrel aged imperial stout at Two Rows in Houston. You could still tell that this was a brown ale. The beer did start to lose its appeal as we were playing pool. The warming process made the beer a little too boozey. At this point in the evening I was definitely ready for something lightweight so I decided to give their wheat a go. It was a decent enough example of an American wheat and surpremely drinkable after a long day of heavy beers and palate bruising Belgians.

Overall I think my initial review of the Rock Bottom Chicago was on the low side. I only wish we had this place in Houston.

*Original review 3/14/2005 - Original score: 3.51*
I hit up the Chicago Rock Bottom as a nightcap after a fine early afternoon/evening at the Hopleaf. Great location, being only a half a block away from my hotel and literally steps away from the red line. My girlfriend and I we seated right away in the bar area. This RB feels more open than it's cousin in Indy (I must admit that I liked Indy's layout a lot better). Prices are reasonable but they seemed to be lacking the selection that the Indy location has. Possibly 8 beers on-tap with half of the selection being rather boring in my opinion. I had their Irish Stout in honor of St. Pat's day and it was decent enough with a nice roastiness but nothing to write home about. My second beer was a "juiced up" version of their "Eric the Red." The waitress claimed that this beer had twice the hops and twice the malt of the regular version, but it ended being overly alcoholic with not much else going on. Other than these quelms about selection and quality of the brews, the Rock Bottom was pretty solid. Great service and decent atmosphere (bonus points for playing 10 Rush songs in a row!!!) make this a nice place to enjoy a nightcap. If I stay in the same hotel again, the RB will be seeing more business from me.

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Photo of 4thoseabout2bock
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

a) the beer
yes its a chain, but the brewers at each location have the opportunity to brew outside the standard selections at their own discretion. Pete Crowley does an excellent job and there's usually an interesting special brew or two on tap. Right now there is an especially stellar selection including a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout (red line), a bourbon barrel aged doppelbock (doppelbarrel -- absolutely lovely, $6 snifter, worth every penny) and a bourbon aged stout.

In addition there is also a selection of special brews available including a strong scotch ale, hefe, imperial pilsner and an oatmeal stout. The scotch ale was served in a pint for $4.50 and was nice, sweet and malty (although it didn't seem as strong as in previous years if this is the scotch usually availble over the holidays).

The seasonal beer selections are on par with Goose Clybourn although selection may be a tad more limited (atleast that generally seems to be the case, although not this week!). This is the best beer destination in downtown. They also do regulars right with their mug club and affordable growlers.

b) the food
we usually get the pretzels and ahi tuna appetizers. Both are decent size servings and make a dinner with a few strong beers. The nachos are also quite ample. The entrees are typically oversized as well. The food here is quite good, especially for a brewpub. They often win the Chicago Beer Society Brewpub Shootout beer and food pairing, and for good reason. The entrees are a bit pricey but they are also good sized, so its still a good value. Also if you consider its downtown location, the prices are reasonable for the area.

c) the atmosphere
its a large space but thurs and fri after work the place gets PACKED with an after work crowd. Times other than that are better for relaxed beer enjoyment.

d) directions
Take the red line to grand.
Take the south/west side exit.
As you emerge, Rock Bottom will appear before you.
The bar is on your right as you enter through the spinning door.
Don't drive here. Parking is difficult.
Use public transportation if at all possble.

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Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in Chicago, IL
Brewery rating: 3.71 out of 5 with 3,303 ratings