Grumpy Bulldog

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Grumpy BulldogGrumpy Bulldog
Very Good
18 Ratings
Grumpy BulldogGrumpy Bulldog

Type: Bar, Eatery

7 W Jackson Avenue
Naperville, Illinois, 60540
United States

(630) 922-8040

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Added by AAAPPLEGATE on 06-29-2008

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Ratings: 18 |  Reviews: 18
Photo of emerge077
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is seemingly the best Naperville has to offer better beer enthusiasts. It's in the quaint downtown area, where there are a few free parking lots thankfully. Signage out front is nondescript, I only noticed the Blackhawks bud light neon from down the street.

Inside it's your typical sports bar atmosphere, with a few craft beer signs on the walls. Exposed brick on one side, wood trip and tan paint on the other. Nice tap list with zero macros. Green Flash West Coast, BCBS, Hop Stoopid, Brown Shugga, Bridgeport IPA, Gumballhead, Mild Winter, Big Eddy, and others. The bottle list was pretty extensive, but nothing too obscure. Mainly craft/import staples such as Bells, Lagunitas, Goose, GLBC, Breckenridge, DFH 90, SNPA, Smuttynose Big A & Brown Dog, Stone Ruination, FFF AK & P&J, 2 Bros, Tyranena Hop Whore, Victory Prima Pils and Golden Monkey. Imports: Hopus, Chimay Red, Duvel, Sam Smith, Weihenstephaner, Youngs Double Chocolate.

Service was great at first, quick beers served up when we sat down. Unfortunately it took almost 45 minutes to get a cheese pizza! Can't complain too much though, it was a $5 special of the day. Crowd was mostly Bears fans on a Sunday afternoon, along with a family or two, and tables of cougars with shopping bags.

Overall the best thing about the place is the beer selection, in most every other aspect it's fairly average (atmosphere, crowd, service).

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.85/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Downtown Naperville is Yuppieville, what with the $11 martinis across the street at Sullivan's and the overly made-up white high-school girls in tight dresses. If you tire of that all, come to the Bulldog for a divey, boisterous ambience and good craft beer.

This is a compact, smallish, old-looking sports bar with dudes drinking buckets of Bud Light and hot, slightly-slutty-looking waitresses. Busy and noisy because of the size, but rarely too crowded that you can't get in.

About 45 bottles of craft beer, with some goodies from 3Floyds, Ska, Tyranena (Rocky's Revenge) and others, but mostly mainstream (Stone, Avery, you name it). No printed tap, supposedly because taps change very often (and so what, many bars print a daily list).

On tap I saw Central Waters IPA; Goose Island Green Line; 3Floyds Zombie Dust, Alpha and Gumball; Capital Supper Club; Ommegang BPA.

Zombie was very fresh, but Alpha and Gumballhead not so much. A little flat.

They have a $5 burger special on Friday nights you ought to get. It is tasty and cooked to order. I ordered it as rare as possible (afraid it would come medium, as usual) and it came outright raw. YUM! Grilled onion and roasted poblano peppers on top. Great fries too, and even though it took forever to get to the table, it sure was worth.

Despite the cheap burger, the overall bill for $4 beers and a burgers wasn't so affordable. But... this is Yuppieville, right. I will come back.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

(Visited 11/2010): Grumpy Bulldog is located in on the south side of downtown Naperville on W. Jackson, a couple miles off I-88. Street parking is available pretty much in all directions.

The place is relatively small, with the bar on the left side and some high tables elsewhere. The decor includes brick walls, brewery stickers and the like. There were a lot of locals present on the weekday evening we visited.

The bar has about 11 taps and over 50 bottles. Draught offerings include Kasteel, Two Brothers, Lagunitas, Southern Tier and Goose Island. As for bottles some breweries represented include Goose Island, Two Brothers, New Belgium, Tyranena, North Coast, DFH, Ska, Founders and more.

Service at the busy bar was pretty good. There did not seem to be a lot of people there for craft beers but the bartender was cordial and knowledgeable enough.

We did not try any food on this visit.

Overall this is a pretty fun spot to hit in the area.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped by here today for dinner, it was early so we just walked in and sat down. The place is pretty bright and seems to be partroned almost exclusivly by Cubs fans so it loses points (i suppose i'm being a bit unfair here) there. A few people at the bar and a few at some other tables the place is small but doesnt feel cramped, though I imagine this changes as the night progresses.

Nice selection of 7 or 8 taps with a predominatly domestic focus and composed of mainly midwestern selections. Surly Furious was on tap along with FFF Gumballhead and some others I can't remember. Our server gave us a print out of the bottle selection as well as a tap list, all of which seemed well priced if a little uneven (Flying Dog IPA was 6 a bottle while Mojo IPA and HopDevil were 4 a piece). Beers were served in the appropriate glassware but only because we didn't order anything that fancy. The furious was served in a pint glass which is fine but it didn't have any head, the bar tender gave it one of those stadium pours where the beer took up all of the glass. He was doing this for every beer he served, so I'm guessing he wasn't the owner of the place.

Service was quick but again we were the only ones ordering food at the time. The food is traditional bar and grill fare, burgers and sandwiches dominate. I had a rueben that was good if a little skimpy on the meat and a bit overcooked. Still I love ruebens so it scores a good in my book.

Low pressure waitstaff, its nice to be at a bar and not have somebody come up to you every few minutes and ask if you want another beer, we were allowed to sit back and enjoy our meal.

Overall a good experience, great selection and prices. A gem for beer geeks who live in the suburbs and don't want to make the drive out to the city to get a decent beer.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

this place is a real diamond in the rough; it's hard to believe that this place exists in the meathead/preppy/trustfund baby wasteland that is downtown naperville. quite small and with some craft beer memorabilia on the walls, but otherwise pretty non-descript. 10 taps plus a delirium tremens tap which was out. alpha king, gumballhead, allagash white, surly cynicale, dfh 60, and others on-tap on my visit. also 50-60 selections available via bottle, almost all of them good. the bottle list primarily featured american craft beers along with a decent belgian and german selection. some of their beers are served in their proper branded glassware but this seems to be limited to belgians/etc. otherwise you get a standard shaker pint. my first beer on tap was unfortunately served in a miller lite glass, which fucked with my head a bit. service was helpful and attentive. menu was regular bar food. prices were decent, especially considering the location-people are paying more for bmc crap in every other place around here. a must-visit if you are stuck in downtown napertucky.

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Photo of thewimperoo
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

My wife and I were here earlier in the week. It's a nice cozy space. Our server was friendly, attentive and prompt but lacking in beer knowledge. She mispronounced Lagunitas multiple times and imo misclassified the Lost Coast Great White as just a "wheat" beer. Also, someone else in our party asked about the Brasserie Des Rocs Triple Impériale. She told him no one ever orders it so it probably isn't that good.

The selection of beer was pretty solid. 10 taps and tons of bottles. The Cynicale and Hop Stoopid were great. The food was above average for bar food. Fried pickle spears were awesome. My burger was well cooked and flavorful.

I would definitely recommend it to others in the area. It's a gem in the barren wasteland of downtown Naperville.

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Photo of ahq514
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

My second time to the Grumpy Bulldog.

They have some good beers on tap and in bottles. Ordered a LH Milk Stout and a FW Double Jack. They have around 12 or so taps and 40 or so bottles. Bartender I talked to seemed to know about beer, we had a 5 minute or so conversation about the different beers and breweries that were on tap there. Bartender actually didn't charge my buddy for one of his beers on purpose which is pretty cool.

Atmosphere is pretty typical of downtown Naperville, kind of douchey with most people drinkin BMC, but there were some people there also obviously to drink good beer. If I ended up drinking in downtown Naperville I would definitely go here for the beer, but there are other places around the area that have better selection and better atmostphere, but it is worth a stop if you are in downtown Naperville.

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Photo of DownDaHatch
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Re-evaluating this establishment since there seems to have been an issue in the past. For the record, I spend a great deal of time at this establishment, however I am in no way part of the ownership or management of this bar.

This place is ia diamond in the rough in the normally lame downtowm Naperville. The place is quite small but a great benefit to this place is that it is an independent and not a corporately owned place. Big brick walls and concrete floors with low ceiling lead to a bit of an echo and loudness to the place. At times the music can be a bit to loud but generally not until the "later/lamer" crowd makes their way in. This place has a split personality, Craft beer drinkers until about 10 pm on the weekends and then the younger, college "Bud Bucket" crowd make their way in.

The service is very good and both the servers and bartenders can generally make good reccomendations and know their way around a beer menu.

Food is better than average, yet pub style. Burgers and wings are probably the benst entres. But don't forget the fried pickles or gravy fries for an appetizer.

11 beers on tap which seem to change frequently but generally include, Surly Furious, Triple Karmeleit, Widmer, Kasteel Rouge, Delirium Tremens, Shiner Black Lager, Stigl, Left Hand Milk Stout, Couple of Goose Island and unfortunately Bud Light. As for bottles, about 40-50, these seem to change very frequently, and are sometimes out of stock, which is a drag. I am told it is a cold storage issue at the bar. Bottles regularly include, DFH 90, FFF products, Alagash White, Victory, Boulder, LaGunitas, North Coast, Bells, Dark Horse, Two Brothers.

If you get there at the right time...on the right night, you can even enjoy the Blackhawks game on TV WITH SOUND. Yahoo!

Make this a stop if you are in the Naperville area.

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Photo of JohnnyTightLips
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

I only went here for a release party that a local brewery (Two Brothers) was throwing to introduce a new beer that was on tap just for one night. At 6:45 on a Monday evening this place was packed. I luckily found a seat at the bar, which seemed like the only unoccupied seat there. Already, I was impressed by their selection of craft beers. They must of had about 15 beers on tap & their prices ranged from $5-7. As Far back as I can remember, I saw Matilda $7, Fleur, Shiner, and, Cane & Ebel $6. Bottled beers were $3.50. I can remember seeing Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold & Eliot Ness, North Coast Scrimshaw, a variety of magic hats, goose islands, Three Floyds, Dogfish Head, La Fin Du Monde, Allagash White and (unfortunately) a variety of Michelob ultras. The demographic seemed mainly mid 20's to mid 30's & seemed like half were beer geeks & the other were bmc drinkers. Really, the only thing I didn't like was the loud music which would make you yell your drink request to the bartender and the small size of the place which made it uninviting when you enter during its peak crowd time. My tab came to $17 with 3 drinks on tap. I would go back if I was in the area.

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Photo of ChugginOil
3.73/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Walked into the Grumpy Bulldog to a crowd cheering on an NCAA March Madness basketball game so it was pretty loud. The many flat screen tvs were pretty nice.

The building was nice and the place was clean foe the most part. The space was limited and i did feel a bit cramped. The quality of food was average and a bit pricey.

The server made sure we were taken care of when our drinks were empty and made frequent rounds to ensure we we were doing good.

There was an average selection available. I had Delirium on tap and some LH Milk Stout on tap as well. There were some local brews like Two Brothers and Goose Island on tap and about 40 bottles.

The food was pretty good but not good enough for the price. We paid 9 bucks for some nachos that were topped pretty high but nine is pretty steep.

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Photo of akokandy
3.45/5  rDev -13.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A- Seems to be something of a college bar, located only a few blocks away from North Central College. It was bright when I came in, but the lights were dimmed around 10PM. Smoke-free, like everywhere else in Illinois, and not as crowded as all the other bars in the area. The music was TOO loud, and hard rock/heavy metal was all I heard.

Q- They had a number of good beers on tap, but other than Matilda, all the beers were served either straight in the bottle or in a standard pint/mixing glass.

S- When I first came in, my waiter was all over me. He must have come up to me five times in the first ten minutes. As the night wore on and more people joined my table, I had to seriously wave my arms to get this guy's attention. I was in the corner, so I was tough to see, but he didn't stop at the table once in 2 hours without me waving my arms like a madman. It wasn't even that busy, so I didn't understand it.

S- They had 13 beers on tap: Goose Island Matilda & Imperial IPA, Left Hand Milk Stout, and a bunch of other quality brews I can't recall. They didn't have 80 different bottles, but they did have at least 40, and about 35 of them were great craft beers. Some parts of the menu made me shake my head, especially the prices, and Dark Horse was listed as a Colorado brewery.

F- I had some nachos, and they were delicious. You get a lot for your food dollar. Some midwest favorites, like Cheese Curds, and a few good burgers. The $8 nacho appetizer could have been a meal for 3 people, and had fresh veggies all over it. I'm pretty sure they fry their own nachos on site.

V- The food prices were reasonable. The beer prices were pretty high. Some of the craft brews on tap, like Left Hand Milk Stout, were $7+. I think a six-pack at the liquor store (2 miles away) is about $8. Not as good a value as the Bavarian Lodge.

Overall, it wasn't too bad of a place. I would go back, but never, ever on a Saturday night, unless I was sitting at the bar. The bartender's service, when I got impatient and got up to get another beer, was excellent.

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Photo of makdeco
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I agree with other posted about being great for that area, its a waste land out there in the Naper Plainfield area. Stopped by for lunch today to get Metros Lager which went on tap. very nice, also had a few Deliriums. Nice bottle selection for a bar in the burbs, Ottercreek, left hand, few selections from Victory.. Shiner in bottle and on tap. Plenty of Goose in bottle and on tap.. Also had Hopslam on tap. plenty more...

A beer rep stopped in and was trying to sell them Corona and they passed on it thought that was funny...

Had a sandwich and it was good, pricey?? a little but probably spot on for downtown Naperville.

When I am looking for something good to drink beer wise I will return for sure.. Music a little loud but hey its a bar if I want to listen to what I want to listen too I will sit at home!

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Photo of ginger420
3.85/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

this bar is very small and easy to walk right past if you arent paying attention! I was recently there on a sunday and had a blast! it seemed like cheers, how everyone there knew eachother from being regulars at that bar! anyway back to the bar, they have about 70 different craft bottles and 11 taps, nothing too special: kasteel rouge, DT, 2 goose taps, #9, and Stiegl to name a few. While I was there I shared their burger sampler with a friend, it was a good mix of their burgers. the menu consists of mostly sandwiches and a few salads, typical bar food. there are 3 hd tvs and they will put the sound on too if you ask! they have sliding glass doors in the front which is nice in the summertime.

the only downfall of this bar is that on the weekends it turns into a typical dbag dt naperville bar. The one owner isnt exactly nice or grateful either. the beer selection has been the same since they opened too, lets try something new guys!! If I go to dt naper ill come here for a beer but id prefer to drive another 10 mins to the bavarian lodge for a better selection.

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Photo of JonB1958
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Went here with a buddy tonite, rather than the Bavarian in Lisle. A little disappointing. I'm not the kind of guy who thinks that bars with good beers need to be filled with beer snobs, but the people here tonight (about half of whom were sucking on Miller Lite) seemed here for other reasons.

From the outside, it looks just like a lot of other downtown Naperville bars; nothing really says it's anything different.

Inside, the staff was reasonably attentive and knowledgeable about what was on tap. I remember: Trumer Pils; Left Hand Milk Stout; Kasteel Rouge; Delirium; Widmer Wheat: Triple Kramallet; Goose Matilda; Goose Reserve; Surly Furious, and Two Brothers Bonfire. An extensive bottle menu, plus a dozen or so rotating bottles.

The food was OK; the hard rock music was WAY too loud. Three big screens with Bowl games.

I'll stick to the Bavarian.

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Photo of Rhoobarb
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Met up here with two buddies last Saturday afternoon (1/24/08). Small place, but had no problem getting a table. For those complaining about it being too bright inside - not so for us. We took a table towards the back and it was like being in a place at night! One TV screen, not visible from where we sat, had NCAA basketball on.

Beer selection was good and our server was pretty knowledgeable. She once slipped up and attributed Great Lakes' Eliot Ness to North Coast Brewing, but I have to give her a pass there. With everything else, she was on the ball and able to offer a good alternative to anything listed on the menu, but no longer offered.

Beers on tap that I can remember included Ommegang's ObamaGang, Triple Karmeleit, Widmer, Kasteel Rouge, Delirium Tremens, Shiner Black Lager, Left Hand Milk Stout, and Goose Island Maltilda. Lotsa bottles, as mentioned by others, ~50. Only ones I had was Eliot Ness and Alagash White; a buddy had La Fin du Monde.

Food is very good. Nachos are great with a nice, spicy chili ladled over the chips. Cuban sandwiches and onion rings were also a hit with us.

I can imagine this place gets pretty packed with the typical, young, BMC drinking Naperville crowd on a Saturday night. I don't know about you, but I'm too old for that crap. I'll stick to visiting on a nice Saturday or Sunday afternoon - especially since the Bavarian Lodge doesn't open until 4pm!

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Photo of jkblodge
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I am sitting in the bulldog as I write this. I am realy excited to have a beer bar ten minutes from my house. While this place won't replace the map room, it is a welcome change from the usual suspects in Naperville. The bar seats 12 with more table seating in front of the bar. Ten beers on tap including Matilda, alpha king, surly furious, left hand milk stout, and 90 minute IPA. Over 70 bottles on the menu. Grouped by country selections include Avery, Boulder, de dolle, koningshoeven, victory and Hitachino. Prices are very reasonable. $3.5 for a bottle of kzoo wheat $13.5 for a bomber of Avery Hog Heaven barleywine. My server has very little beer knowledge but this is a fairly new place so beer ed will come. My only real complaint is how bright it is in here. Dim the lights please! Besides that great place with a friendly staff. I'll be back many more times. I know people on BA delight in shitting on Naperville, but give this place a shot and you might love it

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Photo of rscot231
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Stopped in for dinner and drink a few weeks ago. They have a great beer selection, head and shoulders above anything available in the area.

The staff basically read the menu to me when I asked any questions about the beer. I got the impression the owner knew more, but he wasn't there. It took a long time to get a beer more than once.

The food was average. Not bad, but not great.

The place is tiny and doesn't have any real atmosphere.

We took our 2 young kids and the staff was very accomodating.

I'll go back, but probably not for dinner.

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Photo of jaster
4.11/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

My good friend lives in Aurora and enjoys beer, though he isn't a beergeek (yet). We went out after dinner on a Saturday night in Naperville a few months ago and he suggested going to Jimmy's, which I shot down (I was there once, and once was enough). I asked what the other options were, and he mentioned the Grumpy Bulldog, "which has a bunch of beers." Sounded good, so I said, "let's go."

Walked in and was instantly happy to see about a dozen taps at the bar. It's a small place, which, to me, is a plus, though not much atmosphere. One average-sized bar, plus several tables. Wasn't overly crowded, which is also good, but most of the people in there were drinking Miller Lite and such, which was disappointing, if not annoying. And the music was louder than necessary. After cracking the menu, I was happy to see a great selection of local craft and foreign bottles (about 75), plus another dozen on tap. Our server was very knowledgeable and personable, and happy to engage in conversation about the different beers they had. Good sense of humor to boot.

The jackpot was finding a beer that my wife enjoys. She's not a beer drinker, though I'm trying hard to slowly get her interested. Though it barely qualifies as a beer imo, she ordered some Kasteel Rouge and really enjoyed it. It's a baby step, but a step nonetheless!

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Grumpy Bulldog in Naperville, IL
Place rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 18 ratings