190 Reviews

Type: Bar, Eatery

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

(773) 334-9851 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 190 | Ratings: 348
Photo of tpschi
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I am fortunate enough to live blocks away from this beer lovers paradise. I'm a bit bias as I know many of the employees and kitchen staff there, but i eat out and all over Chicago and this joint is hands down the best. Map Room and Quenchers are great and all...really do love those places...but Hopleaf has it all! I too bring any out of towners here immediately. If you are in Chicago or visit Chicago, put this on your list! Great neighborhood too.

 452 characters

Photo of surfcaster
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Just an incredible selection of beer and some tough to find gems--fresh Zombie Dust and some great Belgians amongst others. Super laid back. Will go again. Easy red train from downtown.

 186 characters

Photo of spointon
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

I have only visited the Hopleaf once (it is WAY north on Clark Street) but I was very impressed with that visit.

The main bar room is not very big and is dominated by the bar and all of the empty bottles covering the walls indicating what beers they have in bottles. For the size of the bar, there are a staggering number of beers available in bottles and the draft beer list is quite good too. My tastes run toward Belgian ales and the Hopleaf did not dissappoint me. I saw almost every Belgian ale I have ever had and a few I had never heard of in this place...

While I didn't have any of the food on my visit, I was sitting next to others enjoying mussels and pomme frite which looked and smelled delicious.

Service was solid and the prices were fair for the quality and rarity of many of the beers available. Definitely on par with the Map Room for a fantastic Chicago beer destination!

 893 characters

Photo of Slap_and_Pickle
4.95/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Arrived in Chicago at noon and here I was at hop leaf 40 minutes later. Lived up to the hype both on the beer selection and food. So many brews to choose from I was going mad! They even had drie fonteinen schaerbeekse kriek (for the hefty price of 75/bottle).
My consumption at this joint entailed: Tripel Karmeliet, Zombiedust and Jagwida's Minod Pitney Poltorak.

 365 characters

Photo of brdc
4.95/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This is an incredible place.
Although the place itself is not exactly special, being a simple bar and restaurant (not a tavern looking place as they imply on their website), everything else is top notch.
The beer selection is great, with an amazing variety of all styles and origins, from locals to belgians, germans and british, but the best selection is belgian.
The food is impressive, including great belgian style mussels, which matched my gueuze very well.
Service is very good although I did not ask anything specifically about beer.
A great place indeed.

 564 characters

Photo of ZS881107
4.94/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This is my go to. The fries are ridiculous, the small plates are great, but the dinner plates are where its at. I love this place so much. Will always be a fan. Every time I go here I am impressed with the beer selection, and the quality of food. If I could work here I would.

 276 characters

Photo of ryrust5301
4.9/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Stopped in for a couple of nights on my trip to Chicago for DLD. Located on a main street and easily accessible by bus, as it's right on the route.

Atmosphere - As you walk in you enter the bar portion of Hopleaf first. Kind of dark inside, but we went when it was raining one afternoon and again at night. Plenty of tables and booths to sit at in the bar area, though it can get a little cramped on busy nights. You can sit at the bar as well. Through the back is a full service belgian restaurant with an upstairs and downstairs. Restaurant also opens up to a beer garden in the back, but was closed due to the weather.

Service - Outstanding to say the least. From the bar to the restaurant the staff was on top of everything. We sat in the restaurant for a few good hours and ate and drank the night away. The waitress was spot on all night long, and even offered a better beer to replace one they were out of.

Selection - 20 or so taps which are updated and rotated every couple weeks or so. All changes are reflected on their up to date beer menu. Great selection of local midwests (Surly, Founders, Great Lakes, etc.) as well as 10+ belgian offerings on tap. Bottle list is very extensive as well with a library of choices to offer.

Food - Awesome authentic belgian food! Mussels, cheeses, lamb, montreal BBQ brisket, frites, and an array of desserts are offered amongst others. It is without a doubt one of the country's best beer bars, but don't let the take anything away from the food. I could go there just to eat even if I didn't drink. Food was just incredible, especially pared with the beers.

Value - Draft list is very well priced, and the bottle list won't break your bank if you pick and choose right. Food is also priced to keep your wallet full.

 1,770 characters

Photo of semihobo
4.9/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

My fiancee took me out to Hopleaf for my birthday. It was pretty accessible by public transportation, which is a plus -- #147 north to #92 west put us right there. I'll skip the general scheme of the place as there are so many other reviews.

On a Monday at 7:15, the place was pretty full, but we got seated immediately at a table for two in the back. Our attentive server got our drink orders immediately, although we needed some time just to digest the tap list. We started off with a Maredsous 8 and a Tripel Karmeliet, both served in the branded glassware. I had the mussels for starters -- they were excellent. If you like mussels, don't miss them, cooked in beer, with sourdough bread to soak up the extra liquid. Comes with very thin, savory french fries. Unfortunately the two travelers eating next to us (judging by their suitcases) were bragging loudly about their toolish exploits while I was trying to enjoy my birthday dinner... thankfully they left early. All other patrons were pleasant.

The menu was not that long but it was certainly adequate, there were two major options for vegetarians, a sandwich and a squash/risotto combination. We both had the CB&J, cashew butter, fig jam, and morbier cheese. Definitely a winner there. The side of stilton mac-n-cheese was also delicious.

Dessert was the only place where the food didn't shine -- the blueberry almond crisp was mediocre, although it didn't help that we were stuffed to the gills. We finished with a Dogfish 90 Minute and an Allagash White, both of which were reasonably priced at $5 a pint. Selection was excellent -- roughly 20 Belgian and 20 other taps, along with a very long list of bottles, arranged by category with prices. Meads and wines are also available. See their website for lists.

The men's room is kind of funny, nice walls and fixtures but the dividers and stalls are made out of rusted old corrugated metal, it works nicely. They also have one of those high-speed hand dryers that blows the air so hard it distorts your hand.

A filling meal for two plus 4 good beers for $62? I think that's a reasonable value.

A must visit, I will definitely be returning soon.

 2,160 characters

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.88/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

After a successful trip to DLD, blitheringidiot & I took a real interesting cab ride (apparently we look like two dudes looking for Chinese hookers) from Midway to the Hopleaf. We got there at 4:45 & got seats at the bar. The place was busy but not packed. Smoke-free (as is Chicago) which is always a plus. Crowd was youngish and into the beer. The waitstaff really added to the atmosphere since they were outstanding: pleasant, friendly, & never too busy to answer a question or give a sample. Great bottle and tap list with a great variety of styles. Our food was also extremely good: I had a kick ass Montreal sandwhich & the portion was huge. My only "complaint" was the menu was rather limited and I was hoping for a bit more of a local flavor to the tap list.

Highly recommended. Cheers.

 796 characters

Photo of BeerLover99
4.88/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

A: my visit was a post-lunch Monday affair, during Spring Break; bar area quietly full.
Perhaps a weekend or night time visit would be completely packed.

Q: This place is rather clean, nicely decorated, high standard fare,
sublime beer.

S: Johnny (Jersey guy w/red beard) was extremely friendly and helpful.
He offered pairing suggestions and his own personal touch to almost
every beer + food item on the menus.

S: The food and beer are top notch gastropub. A casual craft beer
fan or foodie will absolutely enjoy this spot.

F: Chose appetizer for my 1st visit: Sausage variety plate with white beans
in a bourbon barrel aged sauce and panchetta. The aroma and flavors
were so incredibly divine, I didn't want the dish to end.

V: The only mild drawback is the price; not for me, honestly. two 1/2 pints + 1 pint
plus an appetizer was $30 including tip. Life is about quality experiences, this was
so worth the wait, money, and time.

O: Hopleaf has been my #1 food/beer overlooked destination
in Chicago. Chicago born & raised. Treat yourself to this
mighty fine craft beer spot!

 1,091 characters

Photo of marcobrau
4.88/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

If you like Belgian beer like I do, and like to enjoy it in a cafe-like atmosphere, then you'll like the Hopleaf. Way north near Clark and Foster, this place is worth seeking out. Always very friendly and often very packed this beer cafe is the spot for the not-too-expensive tasty beer. This is a "beer cafe' decorated with art deco posters and a vintage jukebox full of vintage tunes. Featuring almost two dozen drafts ranging from regional micros such as Bell's, Goose Island, Sprecher and Summit, to west coast micros such as Anchor, Mendocino and Sierra Nevada. Overwhelmed by the number of taps? Try a 10-ounce draft instead of a whole pint. What lurks further behind the bar and in the cooler is the best Belgian bottled beer selection in the city. The Hopleaf has the best selection of Belgian beer and the most Belgian drafts in Chicago. I could probably devote an entire site to the beers that can be found at this bar. You'll just have to be courageous and try them yourself.

 986 characters

Photo of lpayette
4.86/5  rDev +9.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Stopped here while in town for a business trip with a friend living in the area. It was a Sunday night and the place was packed. We were lucky enough to get seats at the bar, but I'd be afraid of trying to go here on a friday or saturday.

The selection was very well thought out with good offerings from around the country and around the world. Plenty of rare and more expensive things too. An excellent representation of belgian beers in particular. The beer menu is broken down well and has good, accurate descriptions of each beer. Very impressive and professional looking.

The service was also much better than most bars I've been to in recent memory... but perhaps that's because we had good seats and were buying $20 bottles of beer too... anyway, on this occassion, the bartenders were quite attentive.

This place was a bit pricey, but not all that unreasonable when you look at the prices of some of these beers in stores.

 939 characters

Photo of soper2000
4.85/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Ahh, my return trip to the superb Hopleaf. I must admit that this bar was the impetus for flying a thousand miles to spend a weekend in temperatures 50 degrees lower than in my hometown. We arrived shortly after the opening time of 3 p.m. following a 6 dollar cab ride from the Goose Island Wrigleyville. Saddling up to the bar, I had to start formulating my plan of attack. I decided that by starting with low alcohol and matching every beer to a glass of water, I'd be ok.

First beer out of the gate was a Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold. This beer is always a marvel when fresh and it did not disappoint. At this stage of the day the bar was nice and empty with maybe only about 8 people inside (3 of which were in my party), so service was nice and prompt although not very talkative (which can be a plus sometimes in my book). About 40 minutes later and I was ready for my second beer: 3 Floyd's Black Sun Stout. It was served on nitro but pleasant nonetheless. I followed that up with: a Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek, Rodenbach Grand Cru (very nice and accompanied with a split order of Mussels and frites), and a Saint Bernadus 12. All beers were served in appropriate glassware and service continued to beer very timely although the place was starting to crowd (standing room only) and it was now pushing 8 o'clock.

As we were feeling a wee bit lightheaded we caught a cab back to the downtown Rock Bottom (after waiting all of about 10 seconds outside). Our bar tab was far less than expected which is always a nice surprise.

The Hopleaf is absolutely a destination bar and I could've spent several more pints here if our hotel was a little bit closer. Beyond all doubts it's worth the ~20 dollar cab ride if you are staying near the loop. Great place, I'll be back.

** Original review 3-12-2005 - Original score 4.85**
Finally got to hit up the Hopleaf this past Wednesday. I was prepared for a little bit of a let down after reading reviews of spotty service, but thankfully the Hopleaf met all of my high expectations. Although the Hopleaf is quite a trek from downtown, it's easily accessable via the red line and the #55 bus (cabs take away from my beer fund). My non beer drinking girlfriend and I arrived absolutely starved at about 4:45. The backroom doesn't open up until 5 so we decided to stay in the bar area (which was free of smoke at this point) and I grabbed a pint of 3 Floyd's Brian Boru. Service at the bar was very prompt and friendly as there were only around 10 people in the bar. Grabbing my pint and heading back to a booth I noticed a lot of brewania on the walls, a few books and newspapers to read through and the immense chalkboard with bottle selections (look left when you enter). I love how every table had an updated draft selections card with small descriptions of the brews on-tap. Beers such as Duchesse De Bourgogne, St Bernadus abt 12, Bell's Double Cream Stout, Kwak, Delirium Tremens, Saison Dupont and many more were available. A lot of Belgian beer was on-tap as expected ,but I was surprised by the amount of non-Belgian beer as well.
5 o'clock approached and we were led into the non-smoking back room which was nice and airy and featured a wood burning furnace/fireplace. Our waitress was exceptional. Never had to wait for anything. Mussels and frites were excellent and very reasonably priced. We finally left several beers and glasses of wine later very content. I will definetly be back to the Hopleaf and it surely won't be soon enough.

 3,521 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.85/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I was able to make it to the Hop Leaf on my last visit to Chicago. I went on a Saturday night with my wife and we arrived at about 6pm. I walked directly through the front bar area (which looked pretty cool and not very crowded yet) to the back dining area. This area has brick walls, very high ceilings with brushed metal panels attached to the ceilings. There is a second floor balcony for when things get quite busy. To add to the ambiance there is lots of cool vintage beer posters & signs scattered about the dining area, and there is a welcome addition (especially on this cold night) of a cast iron raised fireplace/ hotbox.

The beer menu is fairly extensive, with a good selection of rare Belgian goodies (things like Girardin, and Westvleteren), as well as a decent American Craft selection. There is a whole section dedicated to Lambics, which I always appreciate greatly. The food selection is somewhat sparse, but with enough options to keep one interested. The food is Belgian in nature; I started with the mussels cooked in Farmhouse ale served with French fries and garlic aioli. This was quite tasty and paired absolutely stunningly with the Girardin Gueuze I chose to accompany it.

At this point I ran into a bit of luck; after I ordered my second beer (a De Dolle, De Dulle Teve) the waitress virtually left us alone, and did not even take our dinner order. This was a rare bit of luck, that I wisely chose use to savor the beer from De Dolle. The one thing that annoys me about American restaurants is that the wait staff never leaves you alone, it is like they are trying to get you out of there as quickly as possible. Anyway, I think that our waitress may have just forgotten us, or perhaps she sensed that I just wanted to enjoy my time and my beer.

For dinner I ordered a trio of appetizers; the three cheese plate with dried figs & apples (very good cheeses by the way), some browned scallops, and a goat cheese served atop a bed of greens paired with a sherry vinaigrette. My wife ordered a trout cooked with bacon and served on a bed of escarole, which was also incredibly tasty (I'll probably get this next time).

Unfortunately the beer I ordered with dinner failed miserably, I don't think the beer itself was off, it was just not something that could handle being drunken with food. The beer was a De Ranke Kriek, I have had this before & it was quite good. We finished the meal with a Westy 12, and it was awesome, a great way to finish the meal, I highly recommend it.

My one complaint is that they brutally serve the beer at a much too cold temperature. They really should be serving all of the beers that I ordered at cellar temperatures, they were at least 10*F too cold, if not more. Overall though this place is kick ass, and I will love coming here as much as I can.

 2,819 characters

Photo of socon67
4.85/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Came here to finish a pub crawl around Chicago. Stopped in to try some local stuff I can't get in NY. Bartender not only made suggestions, but even gave some samples of other local beer that she though we would like. Big Win! A couple other craft beer drinkers were there and made good conversation. didn't have food but the options of blegian food looked good.

Needless to say, the generosity made us buy another round and tip well. I think this was an awesome place with fair prices given what was on tap (FFF Seasonals, and NB Tart Lychee). I can see why Hopleaf gets such rave reviews.

 591 characters

Photo of schenked
4.83/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I don't think words can adequately convey how much I love the Hopleaf. From the cozy, old-school bar feel to the beautiful line of exquisite taps to the oh-so-tasty mussles, it is just a place of wonder. They always have six Belgiums on tap with another host of American craft brews - Bell's, Dogfish head, Goose Island (typically one of their reserves such as Matilda), Jolly Pumpkin, Three Floyds, Sprecher, Allagash, etc., etc., etc. - on hand. The beers are rotated seasonally.The bottle list is long, filled with Belgiums, American Belgium-style beers and many, many others.

Then comes the food. If only all beer bars had such good foods. The mussles, steamed in seasonal brews, such as Oberon in the summer, are sweet and succulent. They make exceptional frittes. They just need to take the next step and begin pairing beers with foods on the menus, helping educate those that are not as tuned into the complexities of beers.

If you are in Chicago, and have a chance to stop by, I would highly recommend stepping in between 3 and 6 in the afternoon. It is at this slow time that the Hopleaf is essentially a laid back coffee house with beer. They only drawback to this plan is that food does not kick in until 5:00.

You owe it to your beer-loving self to stop by.

 1,279 characters

Photo of CH3CH2OH
4.83/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I would have given it all 5s, but I haven't been to enough high-end beer bars to make sure its warranted.

Everything was fantastic. Went on a Friday night (April 18, 2008). Waited about 45 minutes for a table while enjoying a Dortmunder on the back patio. Then we were seated, got a Tripel Karmeliet with an order of mussels (excellent). Then we had entrees of lamb stew and scallops (also excellent, scallops were equal to anything I have had in top seafood places.)

It started raining outside, and I noticed they had an enormous umbrella that they opened up for those still on the back patio.

Overall, my favorite beer bar to date. In Chicago area, it goes: Hopleaf>Firkin>Map Room.

 693 characters

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.8/5  rDev +8.4%

Hopleaf is a great beer bar. Decor is about what I expected: Lots of brick and wood and simple, industrial-looking barstools in the back. This is a big place with lots of nooks and crannies. I love the vintage beer signs hanging throughout.
We arrived at Hopleaf on Sat. evening and the place was packed. Still, I had a Zombie Dust in my mitts within 5 mins. of arrival and had a seat at a bar shortly thereafter. The friendly hostess came and got us when a table was ready (about 15 mins.) and we thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the evening. Amazing beers, fabulous food, great service. The legendary mussels steamed in Belgian Wit are fabulous. Among us, we had the salmon, duck reuben, and organic brisket. All were excellent.
I knew which beers I wanted so ordered straight away each time. The two people with me were less certain and got plenty of help and samples from the helpful barkeeps.
The beers are priced on par with most other places. the food is pricey but worth it.
I will make this a regular stop whenever I'm in Chicago.
Top notch all the way.

 1,061 characters

Photo of goalie33
4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I stopped in during a visit to Chicago this past week. I hadn't heard of this place, but an employee at Binny's recommended it while I was there picking up some goodies to bring back to New York.
I went early afternoon to kill some time before the Bulls game, so I didn't order any food. There was only one other person in the bar, so I had the bartender's attention. Very nice guy, very good service.
The selection on tap was outstanding. About 40 taps, mostly good domestic brews with a few foreign beers thrown in. I loved that they offer some of the bigger beers in half pints thereby reducing the price of what would be an expensive pour to the same as that of a non-premium beer.
Over all, this is bar is a must for a craft beer enthusiast visiting Chicago. Really reminds me of my favorite NY bar, Rattle N Hum.

 818 characters

Photo of Fluffheady
4.79/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This place is a legendary Chicago beer bar. With their expansion last year, they have undoubtedly vaulted themselves into a top 10 beer destination in the United States. Their food menu is very solid, high end pub food with Belgian flare (eat mussels, drink beer). Their beer menu will blow your face off. With the expansion, I believe I counted 62 drafts. Even among the "good" beer bars, though, their list is very special. Few bars can fill more than 30 drafts with truly interesting choices. And then there’s the 22 page bottle list.

If you’re visiting Chicago, this is a MUST. MUST. Visit. If you live here and haven’t been, shame on you.

Hopleaf hosts great beer classes in their upstairs room. They range from classes for newbies to relatively advanced (cicerone tasting/sour beer/regional beers/etc)

Disclaimer: these guys get BUSY. The staff is extremely lovely, so go at a time when you can actually talk to them.

 934 characters

Photo of TheLoneGunman
4.78/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Located in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, Hop Leaf gives you one of the two best beer selections in Chicago. The other being Map Room.

You walk into a comfortable room with the bar being on your left. Booths on your right. Tables in the middle. Continue on through the bar and you'll find the walkway to the dining room, located in the rear. upstairs you will find an extra room with balcony for busy nights and private parties. There is a mini-bar for a small,
convenient, quality selection of beers. Music is always quality and somewhat chill.

The food is outstanding and I believe fairly priced for the quality. Service will always be good. But sometimes it is obvious that the staff is overwhelmed. They try their best but the place simply gets mobbed. It may be hard for their rather small kitchen to keep up.

Bar service is always solid. Even when they are slammed they hold their own. Considering what is available to the Chicago market, I couldn't ask for anything more from their beer selection.

It should be illegal for a serious fan of beer to miss the place.

 1,097 characters

Photo of koolchas
4.78/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

hopleaf was the third "main" bar visit that i my wife and i did during our recent chicago trip last week.

getting there took some time since we took the 22 clark bus from downtown up to andersonville. we made some stops along the way (get off at the clark/surf stop for some awesome belgian zucker waffels!) the bus ride takes you through some great neighborhoods and you even pass the front of wrigley field for some good photo ops. on the way back we did take the "L" but, if visiting, it is worth taking the bus at least one one leg of this trip. plus, if leaving early, you'll need to kill time since they don't open until 3pm (we went on a thursday).

by far, the hopleaf was our favorite beer bar during our chicago visit. we arrived at 3:30pm they had an excellent selection of american craft brews and belgians. my wife's favorite beer, dogfish 90min, was there on tap. so of course she got that and i decided to go with a lucifer. within half an hour we noticed the place to start to fill up so, we moved from the bar to a booth. the bartender was really nice and offered up many samples and also struck up some good conversation. on my second brew, i got a some kind of belgian "grand cru" - sorry forgot the name and it's not the one on their website. the chef came out since food is served starting at 5pm (and we needed it bad!) and recommended a couple of sandwiches (the ham and the brisket) which were both yummy. for my third brew, i had to go with a dogfish 90min since this is the first place i've ever seen it on tap. needless to say after three very good brews, i was done! my wife only stuck with one.

we stayed there until almost 6pm. by that time, the front part of the bar was already packed out and the back end was starting to fill up with diners. as typical, you can smoke in chicago bars. luckily, nobody was really smoking around us.

what really sets this place apart from the other top rated bars here on the chicago beerfly is that it also offers solid food. with us, we like to have munchies or at least some access to food when drinking and hopleaf delivers that. their tap list was well balanced which i liked (not all craft, not all belgian) with some yummy suprises for us like dfh90 which we did not expect to get at all.

given all the fun stuff we were able to do by taking the 22 clark bus up to hopleaf, if back in chicago this is one place i would make the trip and do. a friendly bar, with great staff, and overall a great selection of beer with great food.

 2,506 characters

Photo of kensuthe
4.78/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Atmosphere - The Hopleaf Bar is a bar and restaurant located to the north of downtown Chicago on Clark Street. The front of the establishment has a bar with stools stretching the left side of the room, booths and tables to the right side of the room, and a walkway to a ramp to the restaurant area of the establishment down the middle. The restaurant area consists of the main dining space, a smaller loft space upstairs, and an outdoor deck that can be used during nice weather. The restrooms are at the bottom of the stairwell that also goes up to a private room and the loft dining area. Neither the bar nor the restaurant is excessively cramped, although they're not really spacious either. Brick, iron, wood, and glass can be found in various areas. You could say that there is an intimate feel to the building.

Quality - The beers, meads, ales, and other assorted beverages were served at the correct temperatures and in the correct glassware. Almost everything we sampled on tap was fresh, and almost all of the bottles were in great condition. One beer that we ordered was the tail end of the keg and had completely unbalanced carbonation, but the staff took care of it and replaced that beer with another one.

Service - The service here was pretty good. The bartender was spot on with his pours, the servers were quick to make sure we were never left waiting long, and the bussers were quick as well. The staff was knowledgeable about the food selection and the beer, and they didn't get any of the numerous items we ordered wrong. They replaced the one beer that was bad with no problem, and the waitress not only knew that they were out of a certain beer that we ordered for dessert but also knew something that would be a good replacement.

Selection - The draft selection was good, with a variety of Belgian, English, German, and American craft options to choose from. I'd guess that there were between 40 to 50 options on the list, but I didn't actually count. The bottle list was extensive with well over 100 beers available, and there was a good mix of styles and prices available to choose from. We made two trips here during the same week, and we always found something new to experience in their beer menu booklet.

Food - The food is a little different than what you might expect from regular bar fare, with appetizers like a Belgian style mussel pot, frites with aioli, sausage and cheese plates, and onion rings, sandwiches including a duck reuben and a Montreal-style brisket, and entrees such as lamb stew and venison meat loaf. Everything we tried was good, and the food we ordered made for some interesting combinations with the beers we were drinking.

Value - Three people drank plentifully and ate extensively through roughly five or six hours and three courses, and the total price per person after everything was said and done was more than reasonable. Some of the items on the beer list are a bit pricey, and some of the items on the food menu are slightly high, but all in all it was a great value and I plan on stopping here again in the future.

 3,081 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.78/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

2012: New remodel, much more space. A true beer mecca in Chicago... try it again, you won't be disappointed. Many unusual beers, some not found elsewhere in town. Menu is as good as ever also. My main gripe about the crowds in the past wasn't a problem recently. Hopleaf is truly a Chicago institution.


#1.) Expect to wait for a table if you go on Friday or Saturday night. Don't complain on BA you had to wait for a table, or wait for service when you go at peak hours when everyone else does.

#2.) No table service in the front bar area either, order from the bar. During the week it happens to be a fine place to relax with a great taplist, definitely unmatched in the area. Best Belgian selection in the city.

I've been here over a dozen times, and will keep going back. It's not my 1st choice beer bar in the city, but it can be very cozy at the right time of day (early and late, weeknights), and they do have an amazing collection of breweriana throughout the place.

Hopleaf definitely is #1 for Belgian food and beer pairing, which is it's most unique aspect. The bottle selection is broad and especially deep if you are into Trappists, Saison, Gueuze, and other Belgian specialties. They are pretty well rounded for craft brew options, and other top quality imports as well. The US craft leans toward Belgian-style offerings such as Allagash, Ommegang, even a couple from Jolly Pumpkin. Their bottle menu is very well laid out into clear sections, with descriptions for each entry. Be sure to ask for the list if you are at the bar. My value rating reflects the high markup on 750s (3F for $45) and some high entree prices. Tap selections are about 80% standards, with roating seasonals, and specialties now and then.

Service at the bar has always been friendly, the same 3 bartenders for over a year now have always been quick and attentive even when under pressure. Table service may vary, but is usually adequate. Glassware is emphasized here, it never fails that there is a Kwak being poured here daily/hourly into it's ridiculous glass :)

The food is pretty good, the sandwiches and salads are the best value. The menu occasionally has seasonal specials. Quality is good, but be prepared to pay plenty for the entrees. Mussels and salty frites are fun now and then. The sausage & cheese plates are a favorite.

Really the only reason I tend not to go here more often are the crowds. It's popular among the trendy/foodie/yupster crowd, and practically every night it's packed to the gills. Almost every time someone is ordering Stella and asking why they don't carry it. Sometimes the crowd seems like they just got off a tour bus and treat the place like some precious novelty. In other words, not a beer geek crowd by any means. End rant. Go during the week, or late afternoon/late evening on weekends (hit or miss).

They host great beer events on occasion, such as release parties for Surly, Dark Horse, Lost Abbey, and a special tapping of unblended Lambic from Boon last year that was intimate and really fantastic.

All in all, a great concept here, and well-worth the experience.

 3,224 characters

Photo of TheRealPour
4.78/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

My favorite place to have a beer in Chicago...period. They've been around since before most beer nerds were legal and along with being a Belgian beer Mecca they always have a top-notch craft beer list. Zombie Dust...always on draft. Service is spot-on, especially at the bar and everyone knows their beer and can recommend something new if you find yourself overwhelmed by the selection. Food is excellent with the mussels and frites being the star and steaks, sandwiches and other unique selections sure to satisfy your taste. The fireplace in the main dining room fills the entire space with a pleasing but not overwhelming cozy vibe that feels best on the coldest winter nights. During the warmer months a beautiful outdoor space beckons but I can never seem to pry myself away from the bar. Such a wonderful place!

 818 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Hopleaf in Chicago, IL
4.43 out of 5 based on 348 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.