Clark Street Ale House

Clark Street Ale HouseClark Street Ale House
Clark Street Ale HouseClark Street Ale House

742 N Clark St
Chicago, Illinois, 60654-3502
United States

(312) 642-9253 | map

Notes: Monday - Thursday: 4pm - 4am
Friday - Saturday: 4pm - 5am
Sunday: 5pm - 4am
View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 93 | Ratings: 110 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Gatch
Gatch from Massachusetts

4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25

Fantastic patio. Solid selection but average for the users on this website. Can't go wrong though. Plenty of Midwest staples and great European beers. For liquor lovers, the selection is stellar. Especially the whiskey/bourbon/scotch. Recommended for anyone in the area.

Aug 20, 2017
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wapcap from Nebraska

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This place surprised me. Its a great place, perhaps one of the best in Chicago. Great, carefully sorted craft beer menu. Foods are solid and they source local. Hours are also solid. Should be a destination for a craft beer lover, beginner or nerd level.

Sep 22, 2016
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DMcGirr from Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Definitely a no frills atmosphere. Relaxing place to have a drink with great selection and a friendly and knowledgeable staff. I've spent many an enjoyable night here.

Jan 25, 2016
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srletend from Texas

3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75

Thursday night in July around 9 PM. Walked in and heard the blues (spotify?) station. Great music. Couple of local guys standing at the bar. They bantered back and forth with the staff, but never engaged me. Decent beer list, but not anything special. Beer garden area in the back pretty empty too. I can see the potential in this place, but it wasn't there for me (solo) on that Thursday night...

Jul 26, 2015
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98green from Michigan

4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Stopped by at 5 on a Sunday. Dark place with classic metal playing quietly. Almost nobody inside, but the outside beer garden might have been. Came for the Zombie dust, left satisfied. 25 handles and $6 pints ($7 snifters for high abv).

Jun 28, 2015
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TMoney2591 from Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Stopped in here as part of my nearly-weekly excursions into the Big City. It's a cozy little pub, the kind of place I could see drinking at after a long day of working in the Loop or something, with dark-ish wood lining the place, an L-shaped bar to the left, and small tables spread out around the rest of the area. I was surprised to be greeted by a dog upon entering, but he was well-behaved, and I didn't mind much at all. Things were relatively quiet, so I bellied up to the bar, as per usual, and perused the beer list. The draft list wasn't anything overly impressive, but it was relatively expansive considering the place's appeal (...maybe that's not the right about apparent target audience?), with a supposedly custom-brewed pale ale from Two Brothers and offerings that included Three Floyds, Boulevard, Stone, Sierra Nevada, Two Brothers, Metropolitan, and Southern Tier, among others. Pint glasses seemed to rule the day, but I only partook in the pale ale, so I don't really know if they employ other styles of glassware. The bartender was friendly enough, if a touch aloof, and I didn't really press him as to his knowledge of the beers. (Maybe I should have, if for no other reason than to get more information concerning the pale ale...lord knows Two Brothers probably'd never get back to me...) The prices seemed right in line with the majority of Chicago bars. Overall, this place ain't half bad. I don't think I'd consider it a destination, really, but it's a very nice option if one were to find oneself in the area and desired oneself a drink.

Oct 19, 2012
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SpasticKoala from New York

4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

This was definitely a solid place to go. I went during somewhat "off-hours" (a Saturday afternoon) and hung out for a few hours. I was pretty impressed with their beer selection on tap and ended up trying 3 snifters and a sampler of 3-5oz beers. Since it was fairly quiet, I got to chat with the bartender. He was rather knowledgeable about the beers that they serve and gave me some insight on what they were aging and what I should try.

Overall, I'm looking forward to going there again. It sounds like they rotate their selection and I'm looking forward to seeing what else they get.

Sep 29, 2012
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elNopalero from California

3.28/5  rDev -20%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3

I came here with my friend on a Thursday evening in mid-March on a Chicago trip, right around happy hour. I wasn’t sure what to expect. They have a decent tap selection although I didn’t find much exciting about their house pale ale, and my conspirator in drinking ordered a beer which was clearly infected. I found their house brew to be like the bar itself, boring yet passable. The vibe, like the beers, was somewhere between unremarkable and …eh. Sorry, but this isn’t going to merit a follow-up visit.

May 04, 2012
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EricCioe from Montana

3.86/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Went here with an old pal and the lady while we were passing through Chicago. It has the virtue of being close to two different L lines, red and brown.

The vibe is pretty cool and low key for a northside (ish) pub. Our server was a bit slow and it wasn't busy. I like being left alone but not with an empty glass. The selection was quite good. I had Daisy Cutter, Breakfast Stout, and a Summit bitter on cask. The downside were the prices, which sadly were normal for the neighborhood.

Overall, this place was an okay place to grab a brew, but it's hard on the wallet to sit there for too long.

Apr 13, 2012
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brewandstew from Maryland

4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

My girlfriend and I visited CSAH on 4/4/2012 during a short trip to Chicago. The place was a little dark, but overall the atmosphere was nice.
The draught beer list was excellent in my book; we both had Founder's offerings and split a flight of a few others.

Our bartender was honest about his preferences and very knowledgeable. He suggested a great beer, was prompt, attentive and was conversational. A nice touch was the pretzels served alongside of the beer.

I highly recommend this place if you're in and around downtown.

Apr 07, 2012
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wieserjd from New York

4/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Wife and I spent some time here while we visited Chicago this past fall. Conveniently located and easy to get to via public transportation. It was pretty empty when we arrived mid-day on a Saturday. We sat out back in their beer garden at first but since you only got servce at the bar we soon moved in there. Once inside bartender was attentive and chatty. Good selection of east coast, mid-west and west coast brews with some belgians mixed in. Kinda pricey for my taste but they seemed to be charging market price for beer in chicago. Nice juke-box and golden tee was a plus. All in all we had a nice time and would definitely go back out next trip in town.

Dec 24, 2011
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beesy from Ohio

4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Stooped by here the night of 11-11-11 after chowing down some Gino's.

Excellent little place located in the River North/Magnificent mile area. The old bar and woorkwork were very neat. It was pretty busy, but was still able to get beers at th bar quickly and snagged a table. Waitress serving the seated area was attentive for a bustling night.

Bummed the 120 minute on their board was gone as well as the cask Zombie Dust. A nIce selection of taps and bottles to suit a wide variety of tastes.

Seems it could get a little hipster at times, and was a younger crowd, but a variety of people there.

Nov 12, 2011
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madpentzer from California

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Stopped by this place at the recomendation of a local while on vacation.

The atmosphere here is amazing. It's got beautiful wood and dim lighting, perfect environment to enjoy a nice beer.

The quality of the beer selection was really good. Had plenty of good stuff on tap and in bottle and I even got some Zombie Dust on cask. Also, their whiskey and vodka selection is pretty extensive.

The service was good initially, but then my server left, because her shift was over. The girl who came in to replace her was nice, but ignored my girlfriend and me for over 30 minutes (with empty beer glasses) while she managed to serve every table but ours, which was a little dissapointing.

Prices are reasonable, most drafts are $6.

Overall, I would recommend this place to anybody traveling to Chicago. Just sit at the bar rather than at a table you'll get served quicker.

Nov 11, 2011
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jdhende from Illinois

4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

This is a great local Chicago bar with a great beer selection. One of my go to's in Chicago.

The bartenders are extremely knowledgeable and really know their stuff. The bar also has something like 50 different types of vodka and Whisky to choose from.

As many reviewers have stated if they tap a rare beer it goes quickly so head there right away or you will miss it. They typically have a good variety of local beers such as Goose Island, Three Floyd's and two brothers. Prices as stated before are reasonable. All their drafts are $6 with the most being $7 for more out of the blue beers such as pumpking or founders breakfast stout.

Overall a great place would highly recommend.

Oct 29, 2011
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bkett01 from Massachusetts

3.38/5  rDev -17.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Stopped by the Ale House due to its proximity to my hotel. After checking out the website I was looking forward to having 3F Dreadnaught & Bells Two Hearted on tap. Upon arrival they were out of both. Ended up having a number of 3F Alpha Kings, which were good. They did have a decent # of beers on tap but nothing really stood out to me.

There were about 10 people in the place when I was there (on a Sunday afternoon) and the bartender was attentive to our drink needs. My big issue with this place was the music. Loud & obnoxious tunes came on about halfway into our visit and kept up until eventually driving us away. As others have mentioned there were dogs wandering about the place (which I like, but may not be for everyone).

Overall, I wouldn't visit again.

Oct 19, 2011
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Illiniphil from Illinois

3.59/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4

Was there early evening prior to dinner with friends. Atmosphere was typical but yet had a nice vibe. Was the first night of Goose Island tap domination. Not a large crowd, but once again was there around 6 pm so I'm sure things picked up later.

Ordered a Goose Island Vanilla Bourbon County Stout which was served in a 8 oz. water glass which was similar to what was in my hotel bathroom - not impressed.

Service was fair at best as there was one waitress on duty for the whole bar and my glass sat empty. After having it happen twice, I left and went to Haymarket Pub.

Sep 30, 2011
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Yetiman420 from Ohio

4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I was in town for business a block away at Moody Bible College and took advantage of the logistics to make a long-overdue visit to Clark St. Ale House.

Really nice historic and well decorated interior. Probably one of the nicest atmospheres for a beer bar I can recall.

As far as beers go, they have a great selection of regional beers but nothing uber rare like one may find at Publican, Map Room, or Hop Leaf. I checked the beer menu online in advance and had my heart set on a Capital Maibock as I'm currently brewing that style. Upon arrival, they were out so I consulted the chalk board and was told the printed menu was more up to date. I settled for the Three Floyds Alpha King.

I managed to misplace my notes of beer available. One thing I do remember is the bottle list had GI Bourbon County Stout and DFH WW Stout (for $12 a bottle which is a steal for a bar in Chicago - I pay $9 for a bottle in Kentucky).

The place was pretty empty and two people had brought their dogs in and let them run around which I thought was cool/European.

This is the kind of beer place you could easily take a group of non beer geeks if you were downtown Chicago for a conference or some event. It's close and has a very good line up.

Mar 11, 2011
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t0rin0 from California

4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Visited 7/30/2010.

Walked in during the afternoon, right as they were opening. Not surprisingly I was the first and only one in there for a little while. I picked a stool at the long bar right by the taps. Everything was made of wood and looked kind of old and broken in.

They have a number of taps and some interesting selections. The girl working the bar was nice enough to set me up with a flight, a free sample, and a pint. They have a house beer called Clark Street Pale Ale that is apparently made by 2 Brothers.

Over all the service was very good, but again, I was the only in there at that point. Who knows what it's like when it fills up. Prices were good. Nice little place to stop in and get a beer if you are downtown.

Also, I did happen to run into another BA there. Kind of random but made the experience that much more enjoyable.

Jan 31, 2011
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wingedeel from Indiana

4/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

I am kind of surprised at some of the negative reviews for Clark Street Ale House.

First, yes this is a neighborhood bar, nothing fancy, but a nice homey atmosphere.

The beer selection was decent. I stuck with Bigfoot, but there were several other worthwhile selections. The most interesting thing was they had a crockpot of a delicious warm local mead, just what I needed after a cold walk to the place.

No food, but our bartender made a decent suggestion, Kerrymans up the street.

Our service was fine on two visits.

Dec 10, 2010
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ARSmythe from Ohio

3.61/5  rDev -12%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4.5

Nice selection, good atmosphere, lousy service. Visited here early on Monday evening for a few beers before a Bulls game and my wife and I were literally the only people in the bar when we walked in. The bartender could still barely be bothered to talk to us and clearly didn't really know much about the beers he was serving. He even disappeared for a solid 20 minutes later in the evening when more people were there. I even tried calling the bar from my cell phone to no avail. I would have just left if I hadn't have given him my credit card to open a tab. Wonder why you would want to be a bartender in a place like this if you don't like people or good beer?

Nov 12, 2010
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Czap from Illinois

3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

A Chicago institution and yes, maybe a little over-rated, but this is still one of the better beer bars in the city. The beer selection is extensive, but does seem to stay pretty regional and there is not much that can't be found at your neighborhood Binny's.

The service was good. The atmosphere is very forgettable, kinda divey at best. Seems like it is time for a bit of an update.

The whiskey selection seems really impressive. I know little to nothing about whiskey, but my buddy does, another BA, and he was happy with it. So there's always that if you want to mix it up. So while I never go out of my way to drink here, I stop by when in the neighborhood.

Oct 14, 2010
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argock from Virginia

4/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Walked the mile or so from downtown to give this place a try. Cozy with a long narrow layout. Good Midwest-oriented selection with locals Three Floyds and Two Brothers with national offerings like Allagash and DFH and a few out of the area brews like Bridgeport. A nice relaxed, comfortable atmosphere without pressure from the waitstaff. Not crowded and not overly noisy. Prices are reasonable at $6 a pour. I enjoyed my stop here although I wish the selection was a bit more robust and original. I would stop back to see what else they had to offer on another trip if I was staying downtown again.

Oct 05, 2010
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onefmatt from Illinois

4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I used to live around the corner from this place and it is a diamond in the rough. I think people who post poorly about this place forget that it is completely surrounded with pretentious clubs and lounges selling aluminum bottles of bud light for $8. Getting a Bell's Two Hearted for $6 is a steal in comparison. They will always have a beer on cask, which changes routinely. The selection is mostly area breweries, which is totally fine by me, I don't need my bar to bring in Mikkeller on draft to say they have a good selection. Though they will usually have 1 or 2 fairly off hand beers.

I am a huge believer in bars that have no pretense and simply just sling good beer. This is one of those bars, and for anyone claiming it is a cheezy italian steakhouse vibe, check out any other italian steakhouse in the area and see if they allow dogs. The let you bring in your own food, which is awesome, if you want a true Chicago experience, go to Al's Italian Beef or Portillo's down the street and bring your food in for a good beer.

There are typically some regulars sitting at the front corner of the bar that are friendly and quick to give tips on the area if you need it.

Overall, this is one of Chicago's finest bars, and it is especially great if you are in town for business and need a place to go when you're downtown.

Aug 16, 2010
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jrallen34 from Illinois

2.19/5  rDev -46.6%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 1.5

This had decent BA reviews then I recently say it in the all about beer traveler issue ranked as the 52nd bar you have to go to, so I finally made the trip over. Two words and two phrases for you all, OVER-RATED and AVOID IT.

This place was beyond disappointing. The atmosphere was horrible, unless you are an old school Chicagoan who finds the cheesy mafia style Italian steakhouses appealing. Its old inside, little charm at all, all wood, then somehow think its the right place for video games such as golden tee. The staff are all in ugly black outfits, just terrible. Staff is not terrible friendly or knowledgeable. I asked what's tasting good guy and the guy just started at me.

The quality and selection are garbage. Yes, they do have several craft breweries represented but they are alongside Miller, Bud light and corona. The beers from the breweries are terrible. They are all easy to find regular local staples. They aren't bad beers but nothing I can't go to the local store and get. If I was from out of town, maybe it would be ok for 2 seconds.

I get the feeling this place is more for whiskey and vodka as they have great lists for both. If you want liquour you might give this place a shot, if not avoid at all costs as with so many better options in Chicago are are surely wasting your time.

Jun 26, 2010
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SwillBilly from Virginia

4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Popped in while in town for my organizations Annual Meeting.

A: My kind of place. Long and narrow with local and national brewerania adorning the walls. A few locals hanging with the bartender before the black hawks game. Juke box blasting old skool gangsta rap (NWA, Ice-T, etc..) and hardcore (Black Flag, Dead Boys, Circle Jerks) whats not to like about that ! 2 flat screen TVs were it. Just a really cool and local vibe.

S: Bartender was very cool, tentative and knowledgable. Made some nice recommendations when asked about local beers on tap. Kept my glass full at all times.

Sel: Nice variety on tap and bottle. About 20 beers on tap with locals Half Acre, Two Brothers and Metropolitan and nationals like DFH and Allagash. Started with a 3 Floyds Alpha King and then hit locals.

All beers priced nicely !

Highly recommended if in downtown Chicago.

Jun 08, 2010
Clark Street Ale House in Chicago, IL
Place rating: 4.1 out of 5 with 110 ratings