Hopleaf

BA SCORE
98
world-class

352 Ratings
HopleafHopleaf
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

5148 N Clark St
Chicago, Illinois, 60640-2828
United States

(773) 334-9851 | map
hopleaf.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

PLACE STATS
Score:
98
Ratings:
352
Reviews:
192
Avg:
4.43
pDev:
6.77%
 
 
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Ratings: 352 |  Reviews: 192
Photo of TmoNyc
4.13/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

It's a rather small place w/additional tables in a back room. Atmosphere was warm & friendly, with people along the bar freely offering food & beer recommendations.

The beer selection was massive. Draughts were well divided between domestic crafts & imports.

(One quick note about the Chicago beer scene: I found it to be more dominated by craft imports then domestics which I thought would have been the other way around).

Service was friendly & very knowledgeable though it was explained to me that the place gets very busy and the staff doesn't usually get to talk beer to customers very much.

The food was creative (had the mac & stilton cheese and organic Montreal-style brisket), however I wasn't blown away by it. Then again, I don't go to beer bars expecting great food. Prices were reasonable for both the food and beer.

As a beer lover, I've heard & read a lot about this place and couldn't wait to experience it for myself. For the most part, I'd say they lived up to expectations. They would get my vote for best beer bar in Chicago.

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Photo of efheigert
4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Dogsitting for the weekend meant I would need to cool down with a beer. I'm pround to say that I picked the Hopleaf Bar from among the smattering of "beer bars" in Edgewater and Andersonville. Great atmosphere in the bar was topped by its awesome beer selection.
As my cool down beer turned into several, my pal and I kept on ordering because the selection was varied, exciting, and well priced. We were both introduced to several fresh beers and didn't even touch the bottle list. These people know good beer and serve it properly, glassware, temperatures, and portions were all well received.
In retrospect I was happy with my experience at Hopleaf (and I'm not denying the fact that I was also quite jolly as I left).
I can't wait to dog-sit again and take a nice long break!

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.15/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I arrived at Hopleaf shortly after five on a Saturday, hoping to have dinner with a group of 4. The bar area already looked crowded, and the hostess informed us that the wait for our table would be about twenty minutes. Twenty minutes later when we asked, she informed us the wait would be twenty to thirty minutes. Not sure about the math or time estimate on that one, but our group didn't really care, as we were enjoying the bar area anyway.

The entrance of Hopleaf brings you into a bar area with many tables and a small bar on the left. The area is very tight, and with a little bit of a crowd in it, it becomes fairly difficult to navigate. In the middle of the room is a ramp that leads to the back of the building and the seating area. Going up that ramp, I find the seating area ahead of me, with a nice large patio area behind that. Directly to my right is the kitchen, and on my left is a stairway that goes down to the restrooms and up to more seating.

The tap list is pretty solid. It is made up of about thirty beers, half of which are American styles and half of which are Belgians. The variety is pretty good, with selections from Three Floyds, Great Divide, Metropolitan, Goose Island and numerous others on the American Side. The Belgians include both a geuze and a straight lambic. The Belgian beers are mostly from Belgian breweries, with a few American examples.

The bottle list is several pages, and the Belgian selection is really impressive. It includes all of the usual suspects, every trappist (no Westy, but there is a note about it), many sours, and many other breweries. The American section and the selections from other countries are also pretty solid.

The service at the bar was good. The service at the table was OK. Nothing great, but nothing offensive either. My group wasn't terribly anxious and the place was packed, so it was fine by us.

I thought the food was great. We split the Belgian muscles as an appetizer, and they were very good. I ordered the brisket platter and the brisket was flat out amazing. Very well spiced and prepared. My sides were solid, and my friend's duck reuben was both interesting and tasty. My other friends enjoyed their steak and fish stew.

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Photo of organicbrewer
3.95/5  rDev -10.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 1 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Finally made it out to Chicago and the Hopleaf. Front room is really cool rickety looking wood tables and chairs and a cool bar along the left. We went to the back so we could have table service...which might have been a mistake.
The food and beer was topnotch. Best mussels I've had EVER! Beer was awesome too! Cantillion and other rare treats on tap. Bottle list was also impressive. Everything served properly and fresh.
Though the beer focus was on Belgians, there was enough variety if that isn't your bag. Got Lou Pepe Kriek and Angels Share on tap.
My only complaint is the service which was HORRIBLE. Took almost 10 minutes after seating to get someone over. Every time I wanted a refill I would have to wait a couple of minutes, and then flag someone over. It seemed like I was bothering the server. Check was slammed down on the table without so much as a thank you or enjoy or anything.
Such a great place, I mean everything minus the service was top notch, but the service killed it.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.18/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I finally made it up North to check this place out. On a Sunday night it was super crowded, had to wait 45 minutes for a table. Cool atmosphere really reminds me of a euro pub. Chill place, cool people. Easy place to hang out...On to the beer, there are some plusses and minuses for sure. On the plus side, great selection, roughly 40 taps and probably 200 bottles. The menu is awesome. Its informative for a novice, and put set up nicely separating by country and style. Most styles were repressented. They also had some super rare stuff that I've never heard of or rarely seen. On the minus side, firstly it was overpriced. Most expensive beer bar I've been to by far. The selection is wide but its almost a little generic. Its dominated mostly by bottles from semi big craft breweries, and there more common offerings. Not a ton of rare or hard to find beers so a little disappointing. If i can get it at the store, that's not rare to me. Service was decent but the waitress didn't seem to know a ton about beer...The food is really good, not typical bar food at all.

Overall, this is a place worth checking out, but not a mainstay hang out. Way to expensive and not enough rare offerings to top the Map Room.

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Photo of Here4Beer
4.36/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Aha, finally to the joint that was the reason for my visit from Vegas...and it didn't disappoint.

The review below mine describes wonderfully the aesthetics of the interior setup, so scroll on down folks for a great read on their interpretation of the vibe, with which I completely concur. I sat at the bar though, on the far wall next to glass shelving that holds the immense variety of brewery specific glassware. Although glassware has never made or broke my opinions of a place (so long as they had generic pints, tulips, hefe etc.) it always is cool to get a Kwak in the obscure glassware/holder, etc.
It does convey that they do care about their operation though, so very cool!

Had a Brouj Bocker: Cuvee des Jacobins on tap, as I was in a flemish red/tart sour sorta mood and it was probably the best beer I tried on a trip including the 'Leaf, MapRoom, Publican, Local Option & Goose. Just damn great. Tried some other obscure bottles that ran around $10/bottle, but frankly I was on vacation & didn't think it was too outrageous a price.

Great draft and bottle selection, homely interior feel & friendly patrons that definitely put off the vibe as being regulars, which are always fun to chat with. Was wearing my Stone SublimelySelfRighteous t-shirt & was approached by their Stone rep, who had a cool chat with me and introduced me to more regulars. He even tried to give me a free Dark Lord Day pass. Damn I miss the midwestern kindness!

Service was pretty attentive, although one of the barkeeps was visibly annoyed at a group of tourists whom had no clue how to manage such an expansive beer menu. As a beer-bar barkeep myself; I must say that it comes with the gig guys, so play nice lest you get pegged as a rude establishment like Toronado in SanFrancisco.

All in all, a must-stop when in the Windy.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

A couple hours hanging out, starting around 5pm...20 April, 2010.

After a stop up the street at Charlie's for a couple pints and some gut-filling grub, we worked our way back to Hopleaf, our main reason for the unplanned jaunt into Andersonville. Housed in an unassuming mid-block two-storied brick building, Hopleaf opens into a cozy daylit room with warm, dark floors and a stout wooden bar to the left. Vintage bier and liquor signage covers two walls; the third is concealed behind the bars backdrop and a row-upon-row collection of empty bottles that showcases the dozens, nay hundreds, of domestic and international offerings. Seating is mostly at squat tables; a few booths line the right wall and 10 or so stools line a bar (kept on this day by the affable and capable 'Slim') surrounded by clusters of tap handles.

We chose a table for two right in the front of the bar, tucked into the front nook just left of the door. Those shelves of empties hovered ominously above my head; I tempted fate every time I stood, since an inebriated misstep could have sent the whole thing crashing down. From the list of 50+ taps and 16 pages of bottles (pints/bottles generally $4-6 to start, more for rare/vintage) we ordered a first round consisting of a pint of the Two Brothers Long Haul (a very tasty dark mild/session ale) for me and a hefty goblet of Tripel Karmeliet (proper glassware) for the lady. As we reflected on the excellence of the day and the wonderful vibe of the place and neighborhood (touristy camera shots and facebook updates ensued...), we started to get hungry. When I ordered my second round (a Goose Island 'Green Line' - a draft only local; also sampled the robust and fruity Metropolitan Alt), we added a pot of steaming Belgian Mussels. They were a bit on the small side, but were tasty enough and swimming in a divine witbier-based broth.

Twice we had reason to check out the rest of the facilities (i.e. bathrooms, unremarkable but for a low-ceilinged approach down the stairs to the basement - watch your head!); the spacious back room, full of light and surrounded by high brick walls filled up by 6pm. An overlooking balcony was stuffed, too, and an unoccupied but at-the-ready secondary dining room/bar looked to be just as inviting as the rooms downstairs.

After 2+ hours, we figured it was time to depart for dinner, but not before partaking of the magical elixir that is Surly Four. My review will support the fact that this was among the finest beers either of us has tasted in a very long time. A terrific way to end our time at a bar we thoroughly enjoyed and would love to re-visit. Any plans to open a Hopleaf in Portland??? :)

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Photo of rtepiak
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5

i lived about two blocks from this bar for about six years.

the form is a bar in front with a restaurant in back. louder but still mild social/causal environment in the front and pleasant dining in the back of two stories. still somewhat loud though.

atmosphere wise this is a place for debate. the coffeeshop of beer bars. a bit of a yuppie crowd that makes it impossible to get a seat in the bar after 7 and before 11 in the bar... even during the week.

for the serious beer drinker.... come at five when they open... or after midnight when it lets out a bit. this place is packed with young urban professionals and the north side college dorks that will become them.

as for the beer. in that six years i had found that they have a very consistent but conservative beer selection. it's great... but to find something new thats belgian is sort of a big deal. as for americans. there on top of it. they have quite a bit of rarities. one of a select few that carries surly and dark horse... consistently. on top of chicago's beer culture. some very elite goose island that you may find at the brewpub. the place for belgian possibilities in chicago. not always on the forefront but in form. almost no german beer... too close to lincoln square and irving park and daman... which is known for its heavy german bar culture, food and bakeries. they always have a hef on tap though for that type... whatever that means. about 30 taps. about 50 percent belgian... 50 percent american... usually swings on belgian style... or just solid form beers. and that ayinger brau wiesse... bottles... huge belgian list. lambics. sweet and traditional... linderman's and 4 or 5 traditionals including about 5 different bottle of cantillion and 2 of beer sol. they usually have a lambic on tap too. not liderman's... or at least something sour... i.e. a flemish red. the rest of the belgian selection is solid. lots of duponts in bottles... de proef... and all the trappist... some randoms... Brouwerij 't IJ, petrus... basically every de dolle available to the US... some fantome... which vary in season. solid but conservative. poor on the english styles but they have some. not many.

and the food. wonderful. you can get a duck breast ruben for twelve bucks with frites. a bit pricey but delicous. flemish stew. i had pork belly once. regular rotating menu. they are known for the mussels for two but i've had better.

overall great food. they have sandwiches, decedent entrees, and the works. a must for beer people and foodies period.

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Photo of YonderWanderer
4.15/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Was in Chicago for a couple days and wanted to have a few beers, and from reading reviews, the Hopleaf seemed like a good place. I was not disappointed.

Excellent beer selection with a good variety of taps that mixed American and Belgian brews. Beers are served in their proper glassware as well. We ate dinner as well, and the brisket sandwich was quite tasty. A little bit on the dry side, but great overall. My girlfriend got the CB&J which was cashew butter and fig jelly with cheese, and was damn tasty.

Atmosphere was great. Crowded, lively, but not annoyingly so. I'd definitely go back next time I'm in Chicago. The Hopleaf is a great bar.

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Photo of AHebel
4.43/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Oh, how I miss Hopleaf.

I recently moved to Los Angeles and haven't found a bar to match it. I'll keep this review short and sweet, frankly because I've just finished reviewing 4 other places that have only made me miss this place more. Everything about it had been impressive the few times I ventured to the North side to go here. I am very sad that my Hopleaf tulip glass broke during its rocky journey from Chicago to the West coast. Is there any way I can get a new one shipped? I hope so...

Anyone in Chicago must go here if beer is on the brain!

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Photo of rgctlc
3.63/5  rDev -18.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Hit Hopleaf at abt 5pm on a Sunday evening after a day of shopping, eating, drinking and other. Found the last 2 open seats at the bar and started looking over the beer list. My GF had the Lost Abbey Devotionale and the Oud Beersel Framboise and I had the Port Brewing Hop 15 and Sierra Nevada Trippel(!!??!!)..all were on tap and served in proper glasswear. We had the cheese sampler and the frites, both of which were perfectly fine. I recommend with reservations b/c the bartender did not seem particularly happy to be there. We left before we would have normally because we did not feel welcomed. A great place but we'll spend our hard earned $$ elsewhere, thank you.

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Photo of mymrnngjckt
4.7/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

My first stop on a recent visit to Chicago. Walk up the ramp and into the building. Big dining greets you on the right and a large (20 seat?) bar on the left. Grab two seats on the far corner. Service was prompt and amazingly friendly. The beer selection was outstanding. The best I saw in during my trip. Tap list is about 50% belgian styles, 15% other country, 35% american craft. The food was excellent and quickly served.

I was there on a Sunday but I figure this place gets really crowded quickly. On my next trip to Chicago, this will be my first stop. Great place. Get there if you are in the area.

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Photo of wolffman17
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

A longer-than-expected hike on the red line left me with less time here than I wanted, but Hopleaf left a great impression on me in the short time I was there. Walking in, there are a few benches on the right, tables in the center, and a small-ish bar area on the left. To the right of the bar they've got their extensive glass collection for all to view...very impressive. Relatively small and cozy place. I'm sure you get to know your neighbor quite well during the busiest times of the day. Loved the vibe of this beer geek bar.

Good service, though I'm not sure the bartender was too excited to chat with a random beer drinker on this particular visit.

Really just an incredible selection of beers. Looking at the tap handles, I didn't recognize several of them. Numerous hard to find Belgians on tap and in the bottle. Lots of locals and regionals represented as well. Spending hours here at a time would suit me just fine. Too many highlights to even begin listing them here.

Go here and keep going back. I'll make it a destination anytime I'm in Chicago.

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Photo of beertooth
3.88/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I've had some mixed experiences here. I've been rushed out after having dinner with my girlfriend so they could make room for other patrons. I've had completely rotten beer given to me as well.

The vibe is usually very laid back when I go during the week before the 6 o'clock rush. Don't even bother coming here on a weekend night, trust me. Front of the house has tons of natural night, which I like. The layout and crowd on Friday and Saturday nights makes it very hard to order your beer.

Service is hit or miss. You'll get better service at the bar and in the front. Most bartenders are friendly, some servers are jerks. Some bartenders know their beer and others don't know a porter from a brown ale.

I love the food, but it is a bit on the pricey side. I usually stick to the sandwiches and frites. Pricey yes, but worth it.

The beer selection is great if you love Belgians. The bottle list is impressive and they have a vast amount of taps with a healthy mix of American, Belgian, and some English beers on tap. It seems they have a ton of stand by brews which never change which I am indifferent about.

I like the Hopleaf a lot, but as far as the two well known beer bars in this city goes I'll have to stick with the other bar. Go during the day, the kitchen opens at 5 so It's best to get there beforehand. Avoid it on the weekends.

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Photo of botham
4.14/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Hopleaf has a great reputation, and in most regards, it lives up to it. in appearance, the bar is like most good beer bars, with various memorabilia around, a wall of bottles above the bar, and a variety of tap handles that gives the bar a great character.

the atmosphere is laid back and very condusive to drinking great beer. this BA visited on a monday evening, around 4pm to 6pm, and the conditions were decent, with around 15 to 20 people around the bar, all drinking great beer and no drunks to speak of.

quality and service are great. correct and clean glassware, knowledgeable barkeeps, and friendly & prompt service.

selection is solid. a wide variety of styles with a bunch of less common styles are available on tap. the bottle list is extensive (this BA stuck to the tap handles); expect a good proportion to be Belgians, with a healthy selection of american craft brews as well.

food is available, albeit a bit pricey.

overall, this is one stop in Chicago that should make it on any visitors list, provided a trip north of the city is possible. cheers!

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Photo of Bung
4.1/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

In an obviously alternative part of the town. Walking from here to the Red Line is then a more questionalbe part. A little small, a little crowded. This has the most impressive selection of Belgians I've seen. Unfortunately, I could care less about Belgians. Good selection of others, locals and hard to find out of state, like Surly. Seasonal nature lended toward summer brews, so many lighter styles not all that different from the large Belgian selection. Didn't have any food, looked rather unique/trendy. Prices were fine for Chicago. Service was good and knowledgeable. Worth visiting, but if you have some conservative friends the area may not be to their liking.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
4.06/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5

When I came in, the draft system was down, I think the coolers had broken or something. I almost want to hold it against them, but I don't think I should because I don't think it was their fault.

The bar was kind of dark, pretty crowded, and not too loud. Most people were sitting at tables spread around - there was a big dining room apart from the bar. And a little upstairs bar with Belgian options. The tap list looked really great, and there were some beers I really wanted to try on it, but alas, I couldn't. I'd also like to see the pours that you'd get on them. Otherwise, everything came with a proper glass. The service was okay, but average for a bar. At one point, I was sitting at the bar, and was overlooked with empty glasses quite a few times by two or three different bartenders. Kind of upsetting, especially when the draft lines are down, but the guy upstairs was friendly and helpful. I didn't try the food, but I heard from one person that the fact that they serve decent food with the beer makes this the best bar in town. I don't know whether to believe him or not, but if those tap lines were pouring quality beer, it very well may have been enough for me. The prices seemed to be about normal for the area $4-5 for anything craft, maybe less if you make the right choice. This seemed like a great beer bar, that I happened to show up at the wrong hour. But like I said, I'm trying not to hold it against them since it wasn't their fault.

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Photo of Wheelinb
3.93/5  rDev -11.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

In town visiting and had to check this place out. We had heard about the selection and was happy to see that it was as great a we heard. We hit the place on a Friday around happy hour and after a Cubs game so it was really crowded which contributes to the low service rating o it may not be a very fair assessment. We will have to come back another time.

We found the guys behind the bar to be very knowledgeable. Lots of bottles to choose from. We did not try the food but the menu looked cool. We will be back sometime.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.36/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in here around 5:30 on a Friday evening, the place was packed. With luck, we were able to secure seats at the bar after a few minutes. I head that this place is divided into the bar area, and the dining area. I heard rumors of a patio as well, but honestly we never got up from the bar. The bar area was small, but it was nice. You could hear some easy music playing. Certainly a Belgian feel going on here.

SOme spectacular Belgian beers on tap, as well as an impressive bottle selection. Also, other craft beer as well such as 3 Floyds, and an interesting Brown Saison from Sierra Nevada/ Beers were served in the appropriate branded glassware for the most part, which was quite impressive for some of the Belgian brews.

Service was good, particularly for how busy this place was. There were 2 bartenders, and I am not sure if they ever stopped pouring beer while we were there.

Didn't have food, but we sat next to a couple who had a nice pot of mussels, so I would certainly be interested in eating there in the future. Prices seemed reasonable, even for the rare beers. A great place to stop, but get there early if you want a seat.

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Photo of Florida9
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

One of my favorite Chicago restaurants - and not just for their beer.

Hopleaf calls itself a bar, but its a restaurant as well. The place is located in an old building. The front half is the bar. There are some tables here, but it can get kind of crowded. The back half is the sit down restaurant. It can be a little cramped at times, but its still better than being in the bar. As an FYI, if you want to sit down for your meal, head straight for the back to be seated.

The feel is Belgium. While both the beers and food on offer are not entirely Belgian, there is a definite slant towards Belgium for both. However, the beer selection is large enough to accommodate all tastes from sours to stouts to hop-bombs.

The food is gastropub - meaty sandwiches and funky twists on your old favorites, while also offering some items not normally seen (eel in green sauce was on a recent menu). Everything is fresh and prepared in house. Fries are cut downstairs - fried upstairs.

Waitstaff is helpful and knowledgeable, though they can be a little slow at times , especially as the night wears on.

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Photo of Jbeyer
3.98/5  rDev -10.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Went there on a friday night, which was my first mistake. The place was jam packed. It reminded me of a college bar offering 1$ u-call its. There was no where to sit at tables or the bar, and the wait at the restaurant was and hour and half. So we were left to stand with 20 or so other people. The amount of people likely hindered the service as waitresses and bartenders were swamped.

On good notes; the selection was very good for reasonable prices. I got and Old Rasputin, a Delirium Tremens, and a Triple Karmeliet for about 18$ The food was delicious and was served relatively quickly.

I would go back only I would shoot for a weekday night to avoid crowds.

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Photo of brewdoc75
4.01/5  rDev -9.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I was quite excited about visiting the Hopleaf on my recent trip to Chicago. I had read great reviews on BA and had high expectations. After we walked a mile in the wrong direction, we finally found this place. It was a Wednesday night, but we still couldn't find a place to sit when we got there. After about an hour, a table opened up and we grabbed our seats. I started the night off with an Alpha King. The beer was phenomenal. Served in an appropriate glass and at the right temp. The price was a bit higher than I usually pay for this style, but I didn't care. For my next beer I went with a Great Lakes Dortmunder. The price again was slightly higher than I liked but was worth it. The beer was served appropriately. My final beer was a bottle of the Brooklyn Chocolate stout. A very good beer, but they had me pour it myself. Now, at most places I don't mind, but at a premier beer bar, I like to see if they know how to pour. Not a huge deal, but just something I wasn't expecting.

The selection overall was outstanding. A great selection of American crafts, but the Belgian selection was really the star. They even had a few rarities. The only thing was, that most the places I go in the Twin Cities (Stub and Herbs, Muddy Pig, Happy Gnome) have at least as good of a selection, if not better. The only thing about the Hopleaf was that I paid slightly more. Otherwise the place was great. I would go back again, but if this was in the Twin Cities, it would be a bit lower on my list.

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Photo of hrockefeller
4.58/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Recently went to Chicago on a 4-day weekend with the wife. I'd heard so many good things about the Hopleaf that we had to try it. Needless to say, my expectations were pretty high.

Atmosphere was very nice. Just what you'd expect from a place specializing in Belgian style beer and food. A little loud and very crowded, but what else do you expect on a Friday night? On a related note (but not counted against the bar, it's not really their fault), the parking situation in this part of town is horrendous. Get there early or expect to look down many a side street for parking. After 25 minutes of looking, we happened to get lucky and find a spot about 7 minutes from the door. Chicago natives are probably laughing, but I thought I'd let other travelers know.

Now on to the beer! My wife had a draft Metropolitan brewing Copper Lager and a Leffe blonde. She liked the lager and loved the blonde, both were successful recommendations from yours truly. I had an Avery/Russian River Collaboration not Litigation that was fantastic. My second beer (with the food) was an Atomium Grand Cru (from van Steenburge). This was an excellent beer, and an excellent deal IMHO, $7 for a gigantic goblet. At 8%, I had to make it my last beer of the night.

In the food department, we ordered the Belgian style mussels for two. We both loved these! If we weren't already short on time, I would have ordered another pot and devoured them myself. For you Indianapolis residents, my wife said she enjoyed them more than the mussels at Brugge Brasserie, which is saying quite a lot. For dessert, we had a rasperry chocolate lava cake that was a perfect ending to the meal. Very rich, but well worth it.

The service was also very good. The waiters were attentive and pleasant, despite the fact that we did not really order all that much. If I had one complaint (and this is really kind of picky) it would be that some people might like a few more menu choices on the food side of things. Of course, I would need to try more menu items to say this definitively, but if they do all items as well as the mussels and dessert, maybe they don't need a more extensive menu.

Overall, I don't think we could be more pleased with the experience we had at the Hopleaf. It was easily my favorite place in Chicago.

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Photo of deliriumfest
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

A lot of work to finally get to this place so I was hoping it would be good. As soon as I walked in, I could tell this place was awesome. The bar area was packed full of beer lovers of all shapes and sizes so my girlfriend and I decided to get a table in the back restaurant area. Our server was very knowledgeable and actually used to work at GI Clybourne which was a plus. We both ordered our beer along with the house specialty: mussels. I can't say enough how awesome the beer selection and food was. We had just a few and then headed out because we had a long night of drinking ahead. Definitely would recommend this place to anyone!

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Photo of Maction
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The other reviews have covered the Hopleaf very well. I live less than a mile from the place, so it's become my default bar, so I thought I'd add some info that visitors might find useful:

1. It's easy to get to -if you have access to the Red Line. If you are staying in the Loop for business/family/vacation, but don't have access to a car, fear not! For $2.25 each way, an elevated train will take you to a stop about a half mile from the Hopleaf. You'll have to hoof it from there, but it's a pretty easy walk through a decent neighborhood. Use Google Maps, enter the addresses, then select "by public transit" to get detailed directions.

2. It's not easy to get a seat. It's pretty crowded on weeknights. You're definitely going to have to wait for a table on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday nights. To get a seat at the bar on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, I'm pretty sure that someone has to leave it to you in their will.

3. They have a good website. Since I started checking it about a year ago, the draft and bottle menus on their site have always been very up-to-date. Not only that, but they include prices and ABV, which often helps me to formulate my plan of attack.

***I gave an extra "vibe" point because there are no TVs.

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Hopleaf in Chicago, IL
4.43 out of 5 based on 352 ratings.
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