Whole Foods Market - Lincoln Park

very good

18 Reviews
Whole Foods Market - Lincoln ParkWhole Foods Market - Lincoln Park

Type: Bar, Eatery, Store, Homebrew Store

1550 N Kingsbury St
Chicago, Illinois, 60642-2532
United States

(312) 587-0648 | map

Monday - Sunday: 8:00am to 10:00pm

"1550 Brew" bar located at NE corner of the store, near the front entrance.

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Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 34
Photo of Kraj30
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75

i know two of the guys that work at the red star bar so service is good.. one of the best "rare" beer lists in chicago especially that no one knows about..

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Photo of Fluffheady
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4

We drive past another Whole foods just to go to this one because you can get a good beer while you shop. They always have something interesting on draft. A couple months ago they had "Evil Twin" day with 4 different ones on draft. You can spend hours in this grocery store sipping good beer, and the guys (and girls) behind the bar know their stuff well. They also have lists you can put yourself on for some of the more special beer shipments.

As for purchasing beer to-go, the Binny's just down the road has consistently lower prices.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.44/5  rDev -12.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

I stopped in here on a lark one day to see what was what. The vibe is just like every other Whole Foods on Earth, but larger than most I've been to. For whatever reason, I just never feel completely comfortable in these places... The excess noise from the good amount of foot traffic certainly doesn't help this one much, especially at the bar, which is already not ideal due to its incredible openness. The beer section is larger than most WF locations, with a pretty nice selection (especially considering the place is, after all, primarily a grocery store). At the bar, the selection is actually pretty impressive, with some taps you don't really see around at too many other places in town. I didn't find any staff to interact with in the beer section (nor did I really need to, as I was just browsing), but the bartenders seemed generally to know what I was talking about, though I didn't press them about the beers (nor did I really want to). The prices are pretty reasonable, especially considering the setting: a posh-ish grocery store in Lincoln Park. Overall, a nice source of bottles in the area (though the nearby Binny's and other liquor stores seem better in most cases) and a decent bar, especially if you're looking for a drink whilst shopping.

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Photo of sweethome
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I'm rating for a combination of the bar (yes - there is a bar at the front of the store) and the beer selection in retail. Not bad selection in retail - but you can do better up the street at Binny's. Overall, better than most Whole Foods and just about all grocery stores - but not up to Binny's.

The bar is the bomb. Good price, about 16 tap lines, all quality beers. They sell flights for $8 - 4 4 oz pours. I had Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (are you kidding me! this is $8 for slightly larger pour at the Goose Clybourn pub two blocks away!!) a Sierra 30th Anniversary; a double brown from Half Acre (local beer); and Saison DuPont. Best bargain in town. Other great beers on too - Double Bastard from Stone for one.

A great place to enjoy a beer and nosh on WF food. Servers are cool - not he most knoweldgeable - but it's Whole Foods - and they do know their stuff pretty well.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I do my weekly shopping here so it helps me to actually kill three birds with one stone, groceries, beer, and a drink. When you first walk into the store to the left is a bar. They always have about 10 beers on tap, most of the time they are nice locals but they always have random stuff. The beers are universally pretty good, almost always something to tick. The beer selection is pretty good for a grocery store. They have a cooler that has about 60 6 packs to chose from and another 50ish bottles to grab on the run. Great locals and most staples. They also have about 50 other beers that are not in the color, mostly the singles just not being cooled. They have a pretty knowledge staff. They have most of the GI beers and usually have some Three Floyds. Random beer events is solid.

Not a destination spot but a place worth going to get staples, especially with discounts for buying more than 12.

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Photo of cjacobsen
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Whole Foods is just known to be more expensive because its organic. Seems to me that less preservatives and additives should equal less expensive, but go figure.

Their liquor department isn't very large and they don't have that outstanding of a selection, but then again this place is an all around grocery store.

One thing that they do have that I was kind of surprised of was a bar, with a decent selection of beers on draft. They had an impressive array of Stone beers which really blew my mind, even some rarities such at 07 Old Guardian and Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans.

This place isn't bad and they actually have decent parking for being downtown Chicago. I'm still not a major Whole Foods fan though, but it was a cool place.

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Photo of Florida9
4.16/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

For a grocery store, this place is the shit. First of all, they have a two separate bars - one near the front of the store that serves beer and another in the middle of the wine section. Plus there is this whole ready-made, take-home, eat-in, food court section. Different than any other grocery store I've ever been in, but it works. It works well.

The beer bar offers a respectable selection of local beers on tap and in the bottle. I've been a few times now and there always seems to be a FFF, a GI, a New Holland, a Half Acre, and a 2Bros. The other taps come and go, sometimes different brewers, sometimes more from the above. The bottle selection is very limited, maybe 10 bottles, but the prices can't be beat. $2 for any bottled beer. Incredible. Plus, you can walk around the store with your beer - you can drink a beer while shopping for your beer.

As for the selection in the store, it seems to get more impressive and just a little larger every time I go. Very nice blend of craft beers, with a heavy tilt towards the local brewers, along with a very nice selection of the more respectable imports. Prices are fair, though I have caught more than a couple deals.

I know this place is really just a juiced up grocery store, but its always a pleasure to shop here. I guess they've really figured out how to part this fool from his money.

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Photo of robbyc1
4/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Update October 2009:
This place is now HUGE, and has separate wine and beer/coffee bars. They even have wine machines that dispense servings by the ounce. The bottle selection is not much different from what it was, disappointing given the size increase. The bottle offerings, mostly chilled, were diverse and seasonal. Not much different, but good prices one as few, well worth a bottle stop.

The real prize is the bar, with 16 drafts, all for $6 or less, including La Folie Sierra's trippel, Goose Saison! and Naughty Goose, Founder's Breakfast Stout, and Furious. Really nice. Plus a selection of "Everyday $2 bottles" including Two Hearted, Founders Red Rye, and several other midwest micros. On draft beer flights (5 4oz pours) for $8 are offered, and snacks and full bar drinks are offered as well. It's at the front of the store, not secluded, but an easy place to sit. Good bartender. Worth a stop in the area.

Original review 2008:
I must correct drdc, this place surprised me.

Quality looks fresh as it's busy here and they do nice turnover.

Didn't really test the service, but the coffee guy I conversed with said the beer person is very solid, he came from Austin, their headquarters, and helps open and run new stores so he's in the know.

Nice one isle beer row with 4 shelves of singles and bombers. Cooler has a further selection mostly 4-6 packs. Some unusuals, Fantome, Jolly Pumpkin, Southern Tier six packs (I see mostl bombers elsewhere), nice collection of Belgians, could use a broader selection of micros, but not bad.

The prices I think were quite good, for example the Famtome was $11, I see it mostly for $14 elsewhere, and Pannepot 2006 @ $5.99, elsewhere for more.

Just saying, if you're in this neighborhood, and the Sam's is nearby also, check both before you commit to something special, this place might have it and be cheaper.

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Photo of hoosier222002
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Stopped into the new store with the family on a Sturday evening. After venturing around, my father-in-law and I discovered the bar so we decided to stop for a drink while the ladies shopped some more.

Pretty decent slection of beers on tap. Mad Hatter and Dragon's Milk stout, Oberon, and some others. The bartender offered good service. He was very good about samples.

On this visit, I did not venture much into the beer selection for purchase. Appeared to be very similar to what I recalled from the old store.

Nice to be able to stop for a drink while grocery shopping.

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Photo of emerge077
4.36/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

2010: This review is getting too long... 8 assorted Stone taps on my last visit, expanded shelving for warm beer near the beer coolers, with beer books and glassware bumps up the service/selection score. 2011: Assortment of 5 Brooklyn Brewshop homebrewing kits available, and roughly 250 brands on the shelf.

2009: Expanded taps in the bar, expanded beer-to-go selection, large "food court" upstairs with plenty of choices if you want to eat and have a few brews. Best Whole Foods location in town for beer.

Completely different store, new review...

The new space is absolutely massive. The beer bar was along the east wall, if you walk down Kingsbury, the rows of glasses are visible in the window.

The bar is adjacent to a coffee bar, with some table seating along the east wall of windows. The glassware reminded me of Hopleaf, the glass shelves were stacked high. Many Bells tulips, Ayinger weizen glasses, Unibroue, and 3 Floyds glasses galore.

Service at the bar was quick, and they filled my little tray of popcorn twice in the course of one beer. On draft was FFF Banana Split 7", Founders Cerise, Bells Oberon, New Holland Dragons Milk & Mad Hatter, 2 Bros. Dog Days, GI "Pub Beer", 8 taps total. One was empty and one was Kombucha tea. All beers were local/regional, there were no bottles, just Old Style tallboys for $2. They charged tax on beers. One large flatscreen tv was tuned to sportcenter. Kind of sterile feeling, but the scene was at a grocery store. There was this little circular stage that looked like it was set up for live music...

After getting directions to the beer area of the store, I made my way to the center, on the left side of the island refrigerator. Sadly the selection had been scaled back, probably to reflect what sold the most. Notably absent were the Jolly Pumpkin (august 09: now there's Bam Noire & Luciernaga), Flossmoor, and T'IJ beers from the "old" store. The beer was entirely refrigerated, 2/3 were 6 packs, and some singles/750s were on the far right. Oberon mini kegs were noted, also Bare Tree 08 for under $7, Southern Tier, FFF, and a few other worthwhile options. Founders & Dark Horse were well represented in the 6 pack area.

The new store had an express checkout area, which was very welcome. Overall, i'm not sure that the selection has improved, but the bar is a definite asset. If they continue with the local/small batch taps, i'll check it out often...

**old location**

2008: Still a great selection for the limited amount of space. Six JP varieties (same as Sams), 3 Flossmoor, Dieu Du Ciel, T'IJ, Fantome, Cantillon, and FFF Blackheart on sale for $9.99. Nice hangtags that designate local brewers. Friendly checkout.

Original review 12-11-2007:
This WFM probably has the most interesting selection in the chain, although the new location in the Sauganash area gives it a run for it's money with it's in-house tap room & BBQ smoker.

Go through the doors on the right, and immediately turn left into the beer & wine aisle.

Reiterating what others have said, their selection sometimes eclipses Sams nearby, so it's always worth a look if you are hunting for something specific. They get many quality seasonals, such as those from Founders, Three Floyds, and Southern Tier. Once they had Devil Dancer if you asked for it, so be sure to track down the beer person if you're not in a hurry. Another daytime visit found wine reps standing in the aisle, blocking the beer, which was a little annoying. They have limited space for beer, but they manage to do well with the space they have. Beers are rotated regularly in the coolers at the end of the aisle and endcap. Sometimes there can be stacks of seasonals found up front by the registers.

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Photo of tedsox31
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Go to this place all the time for my groceries, and it is a nice place to go and get some beer.

The quality is always very good, and the selection is definitely a step up from what I see in most other grocery stores. I would say to go here, and then go to Sam's basically across the street. Between the two you'll be able to find some good deals on good beer. The only drawback here is that while the staff is nice, they aren't really knowledgeable. Prices are pretty standard, although you can find a bargain occasionally.

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Photo of brdc
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

This was my last stop during my last visit to Chicago, and although I got some food to take home, did not get a single beer.
That is not to say they do not have anything wortwhile; they actually have a good selection, particularly of local microbrews, but there was nothing there I had not find some other place in town. I would still but it there, it just happened there was nothing in there that I did not already have in my trunk.
Service is very courteous, but the beer knowledge is minimal. Prices are a bit higher than average.

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Photo of 4thoseabout2bock
4/5  rDev +1.8%

From time to time we have visited this location of WF to see how their selection is doing (and for their cheese selection -- there are often free samples when you walk in).

From today's visit, I have to concur with RR that the selection here if anything is improving! They have a few things that Sam's did not (on this visit, it was the Brooklyn/Schneider Weisse and the Southern Tier Pumpking) plus when they do overlap, WF can be .50 to $2 cheaper than Sam's.

Also saw the Malheur Dark Brut Reserve that I did not see at Sam's, and Abita Pecan Seasonal.

The selection is selective, but well thought out. Worth a visit when you are coming to Sam's and Goose for a beerhunt.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%

As the Sam’s across the street condenses their beer isles into smaller and smaller spaces I stopped by this whole foods (known as whole paycheck by many in Chicago) for some cheese and Southern Tier Imperial Pumpkin. It has one long row of beer with ½ of the row in a cooler. There was a good supply of Belgian beers and all the beers were craft or craft selections from BMC. They had a few nice American limited release beers that sold out at Sam’s months ago. Since I was in the store I got some nice cheeses and meats to go with the Belgian selection that I picked up. I will have to stop here before I make my way to Goose Island or Sam’s.

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Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Typical huge WFM, this one is just a block or so from the awesome Sams Liquors, as well as Goose Island in Chicago's Lincoln park beer rich neighborhood, tons of everything to eat, Foodies heaven. Respectable beer selection, mostly mid store shelving and in 2 smallish cooler units. Typical Belgians, mid west goodies, Goose Island and New Belgium sixers piled up high, but in general the selection is nothing special. Go for the varied and high quality food and pick up some BA worthy brew, if you don’t have time to go to Sams and its far superior Beer options.

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Photo of mmcave
3.85/5  rDev -2%

Let us start out acknowledging that this place is first a grocery store before it is any kind of liquor store, but since it is committed to gourme foods it does similarly with wine and beer. The beer section is not large, it’s the expanse of about half of one side of and isle. The selection is not terribly large, but is quite well condense into quality beer. Most people in the store are clueless if you ask them (honestly the can be really frustrating), but if you can find Kim (she is the person that orders the beer) she can answer any question you have and is quite pleasant to boot. They even sometimes have beer that Sam’s, a straight up beverage warehouse does not have. For instance to day I picked up 5 bottle of DFH 120 minute IPA which I have never found at Sam’s. The prices are very reasonable and the other staff members, aside from knowing little about beer are very easy going. Also if you want to pick up some cheese or eggs it’s there. My policy is, if Sam’s doesn’t have something and I have time why not stop at whole foods.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4/5  rDev +1.8%

The selection here at North Ave. WFM is pretty good. The American craft scene is decently represented as are the Belgians. Much of it kept cold. Most of it seems rather fresh, though some labels do look like they've been languishing. The prices are usually good but sometimes a selection can be had for less elsewhere. Their prices on seasonals are really good, and actually excellent when at season's end they're closing out the remaining stock. The service can seem spotty, some know about beer, some don't, but they're all mostly polite. This is a surprisingly good place to shop for beer.

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Photo of moulefrite
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%

I go here alot, and always find something new in the world of beer. The service is non-existant. Every now and then a token beverage person who seems to be just learning, nods to admit that the customer does exist. Hey, this market is another corporate mega chain, but they do have some cool stuff. The hidden beer buyer should be commended. However, this place aint nicknamed "whole paycheck" for nothing. Find what you like here and then buy it as a repeat somewhere else.

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Whole Foods Market - Lincoln Park in Chicago, IL
3.93 out of 5 based on 34 ratings.
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