Liked This Place
3.72 w/ 5 ratings

Type: Bar

3243 N Western Ave
Chicago, Illinois, 60618-6344
United States

(773) 404-9363 | map

Sun - Thurs: 11pm - 4am
Fri: 10pm - 4am
Sat: 10pm - 5am

Added by emerge077 on 01-19-2007

View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5 |  Reviews: 4
Reviews by botham:
Photo of botham
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Underbar is tucked away in the residual urban fabric of Chicago, on a street fronted by an overpass, without much around besides the traffic. The bar itself is unassuming and worn-in, with a gem of a beer list and a nice bottle selection.

atmosphere is cozy, with a blue-collar aura and friendly staff. the bar area is adorned with various artifacts of random uses, while the back wall is sparsely populated with tables and bar stools. not much to the place, but this does not adversely affect the experience.

quality and service are good. the brews come in the proper (clean-ish) glasses and the service is laid back and prompt.

the selection is the strong point here, due to the fact that there would be no reason to frequent this place if not for the healthy tap and bottle load. craft offerings vary from Jolly Pumpkin to Dark Horse to Allagash, with some obscurities mixed in.

food is not served, with exception of small bags of kettle chips, though ordering in is allowed.

overall, this is a stop solely for the beer, not for the establishment. that being said, Underbar epitomizes the diamond-in-the-rough archetype, to which one would never enter expecting a good selection of craft beer. a testament to this would be the near empty conditions experienced by this BA on a saturday night.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Eman17
2.99/5  rDev -19.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.75

Photo of drinkinmiles
4.11/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Have been going here for months now since moving in with my girlfriend a block or so away. Usually it's empty and always has a bouncer checking id's. Once or twice there has been a decent crowd, though it's kind of rare.
The service is great especially if you go more than once and get to know the bartenders, and the beer selection is great, lots of good locals from Great Lakes, FFF, and others with good domestic/import craft stuff on tap and in bottles, as well as the usuals ( pbr, miller, etc.)
They make good mixed drinks too, not too strong or weak, just right.

Not a "destination" spot, but an awesome neighborhood hang out.

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Photo of Treebs
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I was shown this establishment after the beer garden at the Village Tap closed and the inside got too crowded due to the heat. It's in a very unassuming place under the Western Ave. "over pass" and the atmosphere around the area is less than inspiring. Getting into the place it is dimly lit inside and it was basically empty. Apparently this is the norm for this location (we got there around 11:00 PM).

The tap list was up on the a chalkboard and some great Midwest local breweries (Gumballhead being one) and the usual Chicago local suspects. I got a Founders Centennial IPA, my girlfriend got a Great Lakes Burning River and my other two friends got Breckenridge Vanilla Porter from the bottle selection. Prices were all very reasonable and a little less than average for the are.

The bartender was nice and the service was quick (as it should be for an empty bar). The other employees were nice as well.

Overall this is a nice little stop with some good beers on tap and is in walking distance from other bars around the area. This place is definitely a place to chill out and enjoy some random mixes of music.

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Photo of emerge077
3.54/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

The construction is over, and the bar is under new management. Opens at 11pm during the week and 10 on Fri-Sat.

Oddly enough Underbar is never a destination, it's always the last stop for "a beer". There's always a bouncer ID'ing at the door, even when it's (always) empty. Two draft Gumballheads were oxidized and off tasting (how does this even happen?). Bottle selection has been cut in half, guessing the more obscure beers just don't move here. The "beers to share" list had about 5 options, the better ones being Canaster and Old Viscosity. Sort of an average place now in terms of beer, not really a destination that's for sure.

2008 update:
A / 4.3 rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$

Underbar is still a hidden gem, their selection rotates and changes pretty often. The bottles especially, although they could use a couple more seasonal taps. It never fails, the place is never packed, and always has a relaxed atmosphere to wind down in. If you haven't been, check it out!

2007 review:
In recent months, it appears this subterranean 4am bar has been swept up in the wind of the craft revolution. It's located a block north of Belmont Ave. "under" Western Ave....

The bar itself is dimly lit by assorted fabric lanterns, a fairly narrow yet deep and cozy space. Tables line the wall opposite the bar, which is covered by all manner of framed mirrors. Kind of a mysterious bordello vibe going on. Windows in the front face the Western Ave. bridge, giving the place a somewhat hidden feeling. Great Lakes and Pabst neon light the way from the street. A lone tv is perched in the back corner behind the bar. Large chalkboards behind the bar list the draft and bottle lists, around 50 total that are exclusively craft selections. A smaller second board lists the "big beers"; around ten 750mL bottle options. They advertise "real 16oz. pints" as well as the option for 20 oz. imperial pints. Around 10 taps, mostly craft, and of course PBR for the cool kids. Alpha Klaus & Black Sun were on when I last visited. Three Floyds usuallly occupies a tap here, and they also held a Rabbid Rabbit release party here as well.

Bottle selection is nice, well-rounded and draws from Belgian, German, British, and US micro styles. Jolly Pumpkin (when available), Old Rasputin, 2 Bros., Herold Bohemian Black, Weihenstephaner, La Chouffe, Duchesse De Bourgogne, and Storm King were among some of the highlights. Only 5-7 macros in all.

The bartender was quick, and helpful when talking about their selection. Service was attentive and relaxed. Eclectic music was playing, from Miles Davis to Belle & Sebastian.

I've only been in the early evening hours, and it was a great place to relax and have a conversation. This place would make a nice stop after hitting Kuma's for dinner (Underbar has a better selection, imho).

Beware after 2am though, things may get ugly.

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Underbar in Chicago, IL
Place rating: 0 out of 100 with 5 ratings
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