Durty Nellie's

very good

31 Reviews
Durty Nellie'sDurty Nellie's

Type: Bar, Eatery

180 N Smith St
Palatine, Illinois, 60067-2401
United States

(847) 358-9150 | map

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Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 40
Photo of ricknelson
4/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Great place for brews and good food; plus it has a great night club in the back. Nearby to Emmett's Brewery. Good location near the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL which is not too far from Palatine.

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Photo of PatrickG
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

I like Durty Nellie's as a place to get dinner and have a beer or two. The food is a bit pricey but it's good. The beer selection is nice. As noted, the draft selection isn't huge but it frequently changes, they do get some limited stuff, and they have a sizable selection of bottles and cans. I haven't really encountered the college bro crowd other people have mentioned, but I'm not really there on a Saturday night, either. Still, I'm not as keen on it as a place to hang out with friends and drink, which I used to do quite frequently at the old Durty Nellie's location back in the day. That place was old and run down, but had an intimacy to it that the current place lacks.

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Photo of mbmiche
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Pretty solid rotating taps. Not huge volume, but they change out beers frequently and often have limited brews on tap. Turns in to college scene on weekend nights, but stop by after work for a few drinks.

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Photo of maxcoinage
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

Nellies is a top notch beer bar with a fantastic rotating tap list and huge bottled list. They hold 1/2 big beer fests per year in addition to several beer event/dinners. They feature a craft beer of the month for good value ( eg Founders All Day IPA $3 pints). Food is awesome, they get a good lineup of bands in, from cover to nationally touring bands.

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Photo of MSG0125
4.01/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

I have been going here for years and the only gripe I could say is all the young Dbags that congregate around here late on the weekends really keeps this place from being legendary. It's also not really cool to charge a door fee to everyone after 9 PM unless you are going to see the often lame band that they have that night. The place is setup to allow those who want to drink to do so and those that want to see a show see it. They are separate! So to charge everyone that walks in the door is poor practice. Great beer selection, though they have a hard time keeping the best stuff in, keeps me coming back and the food is quite good for pub food. I recommend this place but just watch the day and time of day you come in if you don't want to have to deal with the fratboy nonsense that happens almost every weekend night.

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Photo of joe1510
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Durty Nellie's is located right across the street from the Palatine Metra Station. A nice area overall with newer construction built to look like it's been around for decades. This place is connected to a small music venue/theater. A large, open, high ceilinged seating area makes up the restaurant with a smattering of TVs behind the bar playing Sporstcenter. The whiskey, rum, tequila, and other booze seemed to be pretty run of the mill but the taplist was pretty impressive.

25-30 taps make up the beer selection with 7 or 8 being mainstays (Daisy Cutter and some macros). The other 20+ taps are rotating. There was a nice selection of styles and breweries available. Off Color Troublesome, Solemn Oath Grumpess, Anchor Zymaster Saison, and Gumballhead were a few of the taps available. Zombie Dust and Akari Shogun were listed but, unfortunately, sold out The bartender was helpful and talkative apologizing for being out of a couple things although there was plenty to drink anyway. Prices are in-line with Chicago prices. Most pints run in the $6 range while some smaller pours of bigger beers go for around $8.

I wouldn't go so far as to say Durty Nellies is cookie cutter but there's not a whole lot of character. That's the only real knock I have on this place. The taplist is well thought out and the beer seems to be well cared for. The bartender was friendly and there was a good selection of locals. Durty Nellies is certainly worth a stop if in the area.

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Photo of emerge077
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5

Impressive draft list, high quality options like Zombie Dust, Off Color Troublesome, Ale Syndicate Municipal IPA, and more. Well organized bottle list, broken out by style. Not many places do this... a really impressive list with options for most every style.

Patio in the shadow of the Metra tracks, well shaded with umbrellas and trees around. Inside, the bar was to the left, and had a looming back bar with impressive styling. Lots of tvs placed high around the bar area, natural light coming in the front windows.

Around 3 in the afternoon we were joined by children in the bar seats next to us... granted they were well behaved, but this isn't Wisconsin (where that's legal). Never expected to see kids sitting at the bar, especially when there were dozens of empty tables in the dining area and around the bar.

Overall this place has a great beer list, the atmosphere left a little to be desired, bit service was good. Walking distance from Emmett's, Bauer's, and Cardinal if you have time to kill in the area.

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Photo of Kestrel452
2.65/5  rDev -32.2%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 3

I'm not a fan of Palatine's flagship bar, and for good reason. This isn't really a place you can go to just chill out, you have be a person of relatively high energy in order to enjoy such a busy/bustling place. Getting a drink at the bar is a pain, good luck trying to find an open table as well. It's like the college bar experience, except I've had better while I was actually at college...

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Photo of Redrover
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Durty Nellies is located close to the train station in downtown Palatine. There are lots of new condos nearby, so they should have a good close in base of business.

There is a small parking lot & patio out front.

It is a really nice space. They have an impressive ceiling height (20 plus feet), nice windows/light, dark wood, well-worn wood floors and strategically placed big screen T.V.s. The bar runs alongside the south end of the main room. They also have a second story with another bar and a band room.

They offer a good tap list. There are 6 regulars and by my count 25 rotating taps. Lots of locals (Revolution, GI, 3F) plus other Midwest favorites. They also have a huge bottle list broke down by style. It is Impressive in scope, size and quality. I think the beer choices are well thought out and decently priced.

The food menu is large with lots of burgers, sandwiches (house made corned beef!), salads, appetizers and entrees. You should find something you like.

It is Beer centric in focus and service. Every town deserves a place like this.

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Photo of MIA4IPA
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The best spot in the NW burbs for a great craft btl or tap. They have like 20 taps and huge btl selection prices are very fare. They keep a good range of Floyds, Goose and limited release beers on tap.

The service is pretty good the staff is not very knowledgeable on the beer. I once ordered a Victory Hop Devil and it was way out of date but they replaced no questions asked. Food is typical bar food but the mussels are to die for!!

I don't go here as much during the weekends unless they have a great band paying. Cover is usually around $7. My big complaint with Nellys is when I just wanted to stop in for a brew separate from the band area I don't want to pay the cover charge. I think the way they setup the building was poor. The main area where all the craft taps are I can't see or hear the band so why do I have to pay the $7?

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Very nice exterior and interior. They have remodeled this place since I was in high school, looks great. Plenty of live music, especially on weekends.

The wait staff were fine, not bad nor good. The 2 times I have visited this place, they had a very low beer IQ.

The beer tap selection is rotating and very nice. The US craft beers were current simple styles to extreme, plus nice import selection to choose from on any given day. I would say Firkin (Libertyville) is better, but this is right below it.

Pretty standard pub food, a few delicious gems. The menu can satisfy anyone of your friends.


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Photo of ghetto90007
3.95/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Flew into Chicago from LA and was working the next day in Palatine. Hotel was in Schaumberg. I decided to get a feel for the offerings in the area from BA and Durty Nellie's seemed like the place to go - I was looking for some good brews on tap that I can't get in California.

Durty Nellie's served this purpose well. Aside from various samplings I was able to have throughout the evening, I enjoyed pints of the following with my filet mignon:

Three Floyds Gumballhead (loved it! - wonderful beer)
Smuttynose Finest Kind IPA (very good New England IPA)

To finish the evening out, I was able to enjoy Avery's Mephistopheles in a snifter with a kid's menu scoop of vanilla ice cream. Good God, that is a diabolical, soul-crushing beer. And I mean that as a complement.

Their online menu looks fairly up-to-date. Service behind the bar was great and talked beer with the bartenders.

A young lady tending bar named Bridgett showed herself to be quite the beer lover. I had just finished my Gumballhead (that someone else poured) and asked for a pour of the Smuttynose IPA. She remarked that it was her second favorite beer. I asked what her first was, to which she replied "Gumballhead" unaware that I had just finished one.

Whether I was supposed to or not, I also walked out of there with a couple bottles of KBS for my fridge back in California. They were cellared well at good aging temperature. They did set me back $12 each, but I can't get my hands on this normally.

I will definitely come back next time I'm in town. It may not be the best offering if you're a local (though a solid one), but if you're from out of town and want to try some great brews that you don't happen to be in a distribution area for, this is a great spot.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.44/5  rDev -12%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

huge place, most of the times i've been here they've had bands playing in a cavernous area on saturday nights and usually jampacked. nothing special about the decor. this place caters to all kinds, mostly i think to youngish people looking for a night out and random entertainment. i was shocked, therefore, to see that they had a decent tap selection, mostly american crafts and some usual bmc suspects. gumballhead has usually been on when i've been here, which is a big plus for me. nice bottle selection. glassware was nothing special, just your standard shaker pints, although they do have some other glassware for belgians, etc. i haven't eaten here but it looks like your standard bar food. if you are coming here for the beer i suggest not going on a saturday night. hard to judge service since the times i've been here it was crazy busy.

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Photo of TallPaul07
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I went to Durty Nellie's specifically because the had Hopslam on tap and I was in town for business and wanted some good beer. I figured that typically a place that has Hopslam on tap would typically have other good beer.

This place blew me away! At this particulalr time it was great for hopheads who love IPA's and DIPA's. They had: Hopslam (draught), Dreadnaught (Draught), Arctic Panzer Wolf (Draught), Great Lakes Blackout Stout (Draught), Green Flash IPA (Draught), and Double Trouble (Bottle), Founders Nemesis (Draught), etc.

In order to soak up I ordered a pulled pork sandwich and fries which were awesome too. Was expecting the generic pulled pork scooped from a container and slapped on to a bun. Instead, I got was seemed to be a slow roasted, hand shredded, sandwich on a premium bun, topped with some BBQ and onion straws, and some really good fries.

Will definitely make it a point to go back to this place! Loved it.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Finally made it out here this afternoon with my boi VDubb86 after hearing many a good thing (and upon learning that FBS and Older Viz were on-tap simultaneously). It's a fairly quiet place, though, admittedly, we visited around 2:30pm on a day when no live music was scheduled anyway, so take that however you will. The taps were pretty nice, as was the bottle selection. I've seen better on both counts in the area, but this selection is rather sweet regardless. Everything was served, generally-speaking, in its proper glass. My only knock was against the bartender: She was kinda absent-minded when it came to keeping our glasses filled, but she made up for it with a pleasant demeanor and an interest in our note-taking. Overall, this place seems like a good backup destination for the days that The Firkin is either not an option or we feel like a change of scenery. (I'll add that the food sounds pretty tasty, but I've yet to have any. One day...)

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Photo of Vdubb86
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Durty Nellies is really 2 places in one. On the one side is where they have all of their live music. And as far as the northern suburbs are concerned it's one of the best places you can go for that. However, going on that side for a beer will disappoint you with the lack of beer selection. But if you go into the actual bar area there is a different tune to be heard and that is the second best on-tap selection in the northern suburbs (The Firkin, Libertyville is #1). The atmosphere of this side is quite different, being a stones through away from the Palatine Metra Station, it's got quite a nice feel to it. The quality of the place averages out depending on what you're looking for and for some it might be the perfect location. The beer selection has plenty of craft and microbrews. As far as I know it is one of the few places to get Flossmoor Station and Half Acre beer as well as some limited taps from Goose Island. The food depends on what you get I'd stay away from the fish fry, the others range from decent to good. It's a fairly small food menu so there's not too much in the way of range, but enough choices that you won't leave hungry. My recommendation is to go there at night for a great pint of beer and some damn good live music.

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Photo of bradleyp
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I used to frequent Nellies for a long time. I even lived walking distance from there for awhile. I would always bump into people I went to Highschool with, and that was a reason not to go there. However, there is always good beer on tap, and on occasion, there would be a good band playing. This bar is known for having one of the biggest St. Patrick's Day parties in the suburbs. I would suggest going to this bar if you want to get drunk and possibly laid. There's usually quite a few nice looking ladies in the bar.

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Photo of claytri
3.44/5  rDev -12%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

A pretty basic commercial bar, with decent decor and selection. Nothing outstanding here, plenty of table seating, but a small bar, and I had to sit behind the taps leaving no room for food, so I didn't get any. The beers on hand were good quality. Nothing outstanding or obviously poor about the service. Basically they asked what I wanted, and served it, no attempt to make me feel welcome or unwanted. A good selection of beers. $6.00 pints which is a bit on the high side for me. Per the menu the prices were about normal, but the beer was overpriced. Overall the selection is worth the visit, but the overall character isn't compelling.

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Photo of Bellabananas
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I first went to Durty Nellies before I was of drinking age. As a non-drinker, the place was so-so. The wait staff is pretty crappy overall. Every time I have sat down to eat and/or drink the service has been mediocre or terrible. The servers come by to take your order, bring you food, and then the check. They rarely know anything about the beer selection and spend a great deal of their time talking with the rest of the servers.

That being said, some of the bartenders are just great. Dan has always taken the time to greet us, and is probably the first person to notice that we were regulars. Some of the female bartenders will remember what your favorite beer style is and can actually offer recommendations. They recently changed their menu and the change is for the better. Their burgers are pretty good, and their mac-n-cheese is my favorite. If I didn't go here for their beer selection I doubt I would ever go. Best advice is to not go when you would expect "party" people to be out. They mob the place and are rude and obnoxious. We go during the late afternoon/early evening during the week and generally have a good time! Always our go to beer place because of its nearness.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I've been going to Durty Nellies at least once a week for the last two years... don't know why I haven't taken the moment to review it... so here it goes.

A: This is the one thing that annoys me about Nellies at times. It caters to multiple different crowds, and sometimes that means a lot of obnoxious and wasted patrons. If you pick the right time to go (late afternoon/early evening) the atmosphere is great. But if you choose to go on a weekend night, or just late at night in general, the atmosphere isn't as good. The beer selection makes up for what the atmosphere is missing.

Q: Durty Nellies excels with quality. Although they always have 4 or 5 drafts reserved for BL, Budwesier, Guinness, Blue Moon, and Stella, the remaining 20 are always quality. They almost always have at least one Surly on, and had Darkness for over 2 weeks. They do themes with the beer by season which is fun. In October they had "scary beers" (aka stong seasonal ales), in December they had the 12 beers of xmas which is always a stellar line up. In Feburary, they focus on stouts which mean 5-7 stouts on draft. In the summer months, they offer a wide variety of IPAs and IIPAs. Their food isn't bad either. They recently retooled their menu and added an intriguing and well thought out burger menu (ala Kuma's or Bad Apple). The cooks don't always churn out a consistent product (doneness is off at times and sometimes they miss key ingredients) which can be frustrating, but more times than not, the bartender will make up for it. The food is just a bonus on top of the great beer menu. I almost forgot to mention that in addition to the 20+ taps, they have an extensive and good bottle selection.

S: service can be spotty. I have learned to not be seated for table service as the servers aren't as knowledgeable about beer and at times are neglectful of their tables. The bartenders on the other hand are for the most part excellent. I have a few favorites there that make every visit pleasant.

Selection: beer selection is stellar and the best that the NW burbs has to offer (that I have found at least). the food menu constantly changes, and the last change has provided a nice selection.

F: as mentioned under the quality category, the food is good. The new burgers are great, the build your own mac n cheese is good, the pot pie is delicious. Some items are flops though (like the chicken tacos) and the food is inconsistent. The guacomole and salsa can range from delicious to unpalatable due to heavy use of fresh jalapenos. For the most part, the food is an enjoyable counterpart to the beer.

V: two years ago, Durty Nellies had the best prices for craft beer on draft in the area... period. Most imperials and interesting beers were $6 and under. The prices have steadily climbed though to where they are now on par with what you get in the city. There are now lots of drafts that are $7 for a pour. Either way, it changes with the times and is still a pretty good value.

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Photo of Florida9
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5

To clarify, there are two sides to Durty Nellie's. One is the bar/restaurant; the other is a music venue. While it's the same place, the two are separate. The bar calls itself an Irish pub, but there really isn't anything Irish about the place.

The beer selection here is quite respectable with many quality choices both on tap and in bottle. To boot, there is a decent selection of seasonal beers which means there are new beers being tapped on a fairly regular basis. Recent selections included Racer 5, Furious, Bitter Woman and a couple GI's (including Nightstalker).

Service here tends to be quite lackluster. The wait staff appears to be local college kids who are more interested in being local college kids than wait staff. Their beer knowledge consists of little more than knowing that Durty Nellie's does, in fact, sell beer, which should you have any questions about are helpfully listed on the back of your menu. Bartenders have a little more knowledge, but I stress "little."

Food is your standard American restaurant food. It is heavy on burgers and sandwiches, but does have some other offerings. However, the food is average at best, and, from my perspective, is only worth eating after you've downed a couple of their finer beers.

Prices for both food and beer are fair.

In short, go for the beer, eat if you have to, and don't expect much from your server.

- - -
Update: 3/21/10

Durty Nellies is my go to beer destination. I'm here at least once every week and I figured it was time for an update to my original review.
First of all, the menu has been revamped. Not a serious overhaul, but its been streamlined and what they're able to better execute the dishes they have. Still bar food, but its better bar food. I actually come to prefer the food here to more expensive brewpub Emmett's across the street.
The beer seems to have gotten better as well. The owner allows Hayden to order some quality rarities to add to the fine regular line up and it is greatly appreciated. I've even noticed them getting in a vintage beer every now or then, as well. Sure there are some Bud products always on tap, but if that is what they need to do to support the craft beer, then I fully understand.
Service has also improved, but its still lacking. Beer knowledge is misinformed, but the service itself is somewhat better, though inconsistent.

- - -
Update: 11/28/10

Menu has changed and the food sucks again. Luckily, their beer is still quality.

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Photo of jkopeny
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I will say up front that I am a regular at this establishment but also that I do avoid it at certain times.

Food is good, portions are generous and pricing is pretty standard ($8-$9 for most sandwiches with fries). But while I do eat there from time to time I really go there for the beer.

There are 15-20 taps going at any one time, and while some can be discounted (ubiquitous mass marketed lagers) there is always something good. 2-3 are always Great Lakes, three are always Goose Island, Delerium Tremens is on tap year round except for Christmas time when it is Delerium Noel, and then a lot of rotating taps. Maudite from Unibroue, Nosferatu from GLBC around Halloween, Anchor and Bells Christmas, etc. It is a place you can go to once or twice a month and have a completely different beer selection.

Since there is so much rotation of beers, none really ever gets a chance to go stale. Bartenders are helpful though sometimes it is understaffed and you have to wait longer than you might like to get your drink.

Overall, a place I highly recommend if you find yourself in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. Variety is the spice of life they say.

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Photo of diabecktic
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I've been here once or twice with some friends, as it's not too far from my hometown. Having once played in a local band, I come here to check some others from time to time. The design of the place is pretty clever and very spacious even when crowded. The stage view is pretty good - it's hard to get a bad view no matter where you are. I've yet to try some of their food, but they usually have some pretty good deals on their beer and liquor(s). The selection isn't too bad, but it's not as big as some other places that I've been. The staff seem to be pretty friendly for the most part, however, it's hard to converse with them when the band(s) are playing. Overall, it's a great place to go with some friends if you're trying to kill some time. Sometimes there's a cover charge and sometimes there isn't, but it's usually pretty reasonable, sound quality and the bands that play there.

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Photo of mnstorm99
3.15/5  rDev -19.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Disclaimer: I have only been here once and will go back next time I stay in Schaumberg.

We showed up and waited 15-20 minutes for a table (no problem it was Friday night). When we were seated the server came over and asked if we wanted something to drink, I loved the selection and wasn't ready to order yet. We saw her again 15 minutes later, at that time we ordered our beer and food. That was the last time we saw her until the bill arrived. Except she was having a really good time in the corner, talking with the other waitstaff, who didn't seem to be doing their jobs either.

Great beer selection, although I only was able to have one (since we didn't receive any service). The food was good standard bar fare, but worth the price you pay. The atmosphere was a loud sports bar feel, but that was ok.

We are in Schaumberg a couple of times a year for trade shows, so I will be back and will be happy to update this if we get better service next time.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.59/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4

Went here last night and had a great time, quite a lot on tap for a suburban bar, lots of huge Great Lakes posters on the wall instead of the traditinal BMC hangings. Quite a few people were drinking the Great Lakes selection while I stuck to a Summit winter pitcher which was pretty nice. The service was a bit slow but only because that place was packed, a nice plus that it is open until like 4am on the weekends, that better than in the city! All around a pretty nice place if a bit expensisve, a jem in the suburbs and a weird mix of a place too.

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Durty Nellie's in Palatine, IL
3.91 out of 5 based on 40 ratings.
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