Poor Phil's Bar & Grill

Poor Phil's Bar & GrillPoor Phil's Bar & Grill
Poor Phil's Bar & GrillPoor Phil's Bar & Grill
Bar, Eatery

139 S Marion St
Oak Park, Illinois, 60302-2893
United States

(708) 848-0871 | map

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Ratings by chillin:
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Rated by chillin from Indiana

3.96/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

May 20, 2015
More User Ratings:
Rated: 4.04 by aussiebeer from Illinois

Mar 31, 2015
Rated: 3.9 by hoosier222002 from Illinois

Mar 25, 2015
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Rated by Imacopyouidiot from Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
Scored a King Henry here during lobsterfest, pretty nice.
Feb 19, 2015
Rated: 4.25 by Campbvin

Jul 02, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by andycraig123 from Indiana

Jun 13, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by Knoxrb12 from Illinois

Jun 09, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by charlesjwinkler from Illinois

Apr 14, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by carrson from Oklahoma

Nov 27, 2013
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Reviewed by pourchoices from Illinois

4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5
Great rotating tap of seasonal craft beers. The bar tenders are generally very knowledgeable about the beers. Great selection of bottles as well.

Yes they still carry garbage such as miller and bud light, but their ever changing beer menu keeps you coming back time and time again. Enjoying a Founders Double Trouble IPA as I write this sitting at the bar.

Oct 04, 2013
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Reviewed by electrojosh from Illinois

4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3
Poor Phil's is the cheaper of the two restaurant/bars in the Carlton Hotel in Oak Park. Until a few years ago, Oak Park was a largely dry town, and the few bars in the area were nothing special. In the last couple of years the craft beer scene around Oak Park, Forest Park, and Berwyn, IL has exploded, and there are lots of great offerings nearby.

In terms of beer selection, Poor Phil's is definitely the best bar in the area. Two dozen taps plus a HUGE bottle list, including occasional rarities one would normally not find lying around. The bar staff, while not beer someliers by any means, know a good deal about what they have on tap. Service can be a tad slow when they are crowded (happens more often these days) but never all that bad.

The amazing beer selection is reason enough to come here. Sadly, the food is usually nothing special. The hamburger is kinda decent enough, but most everything else is meh. Do come for the annual $9.99 lobster dinner if you find out about it ahead of time. Oh, and the oysters aint bad.

Honestly, it's the awesome beer that makes this place. Always at least a dozen great beers on tap or in bottles -- many of which you wont see elsewhere.
May 24, 2013
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Reviewed by Buttermilk from Illinois

3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
Happened to stop in here a day after a Bell's takeover and they had Hopslam on tap. Score! The tap list is impressive and always changing (or so it seemed). The prices were not bad at all for drinks and beer. The food was tasty - Friday nights is $1 oysters and shrimps, which were both delicious. the buffalo chicken po'boy was fantastic but my wife's fish and chips were not as good however. The batter was soggy and not crispy at all; luckily the fish inside the batter was pretty good. Anyways, GREAT beer spot in Oak Park - definately go here to drink some brews.
Mar 04, 2013
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Reviewed by Bung from Michigan

3.86/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4
Stayed at the Carleton so we could be at a location easy to get to the Brookfield zoo and the L. This place is attached, which was convenient.
Tons of brew and Chicago paraphanalia on the walls. Somewhere between a beer bar and Red Lobster. Staff was descent, though for the crowds vs staff ratio I would have expected better. Good mix of local, regional, national and imports on draft and bottle. Plenty of variety of styles. There wasn't anything that was like wow I can't believe they have this, but a lot of quality stuff. The Evil Twin Biscotti Break was pretty new and they let me know about it as soon as I walked in the 2nd night.

Thought it was a bit pricey, but attached to a hotel and in Oak Park probably explain that. The wine and cheese place is the only other thing in the immediate vacinity, so I'd probably be here alot if I lived in the area.
I wouldn't stay out in Oak Park again unless I had to, but would definetely stay by this again if I did.
Aug 29, 2011
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Reviewed by TMoney2591 from Illinois

3.66/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4
Stopped in here on the way home (sorta) from Maywood. The street was under construction, but that just allowed for a quiet walk from downtown. The place is a strange combination of lobster shack and Irish pub, with all sorts o' random shit on the walls. Not very many people in this day, making for a generally quiet air. I went straight for the bar. About ten minutes later, no exaggeration, I finally saw the bartender for the first time, and he approached me a couple minutes later. I have no idea where he was, as he certainly wasn't looking after the other patrons. He did seem pretty knowledgeable, though, as evinced by his descriptions of the beers to other patrons. The selection presented to me was pretty damn nice, especially for the immediate area, and everything was served in the appropriate glassware. I made sure to finish my first beer quickly, while the bartender was still in sight. My gambit worked, as he relatively quickly got me my second. Unfortunately he vanished again after that. I wasn't in the mood for food, so all I wanted to do was pay and leave, but couldn't do that for almost ten more minutes, when the 'tender materialized from the ether again. The prices were a bit on the higher side, but I half expected that, given the nature of downtown oak Park. Overall, this place is a sort of Jekyll and Hyde establishment: On the one hand, it's got a very solid list of great beers; on the other, the prices are kinda steep and the service leaves much to be desired. If I find myself in Oak Park again, I'd probably stop in to see what they've got, but I wouldn't try too hard to make it back again.
Aug 02, 2011
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Reviewed by spointon from Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
I visited Poor Phil's today, partially to eat and have some beers and partially to escape the 95 degree sunshine. This was my second visit to this place.

The interior is sort of a kitschy combination of Florida oyster bar, sports bar, English pub, and Bennigans. Neverthe less it is oddly inviting both day and night - During the day there is lots of light streaming in the windows and lots of window seats so you can watch the world go passing by. At night the place has a warm pub feel.

The beer selection was pretty solid today. The taps were plentiful (over a dozen good craft taps) and there was 2-3 things on there to suit anybody. My wife had the FFF Gorch Fock (x2) and I had Ommegang Zuur followed by Arcadia Hop Mouth on cask. All four beers were served in appropriate glassware and at appropriate temperatures. The bottle list was quite extensive and covered all of the right bases.

Service was hit and miss. Initially the waitress was all over us, asking every 5 minutes if we were doing OK (that was when we didn't need anything). Once our beers ran dry she of course went MIA for a while...

The food was delicious. We had a shrimp ceviche that was great and a fresh seafood plate containing crab legs, crab claws, raw oysters, and shell-on shrimp. Everything was excellent.

Bottom line, this is the best craft beer spot in Oak Park...and fortunately its a pretty damned good place.
Jul 18, 2010
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Reviewed by samie85 from Illinois

4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5
This was first time visiting Poor Phil's and I wasn't disappointed. I arrived to find a dark bar setting inside with an array of about 8-10 tables outside. I opted for indoors as I had no intention of sampling the food. They had some classic breweriana on the walls with a classy, rich interior decorating.

The service at first was a little slow. It wasn't that busy, but I wasn't noticed at the bar for at least ten minutes. After that initial wait, my beers were poured immediately and an empty glass was noted by the bartender. I was never offered a bottle list or food menu.

The taplist was pretty nice even for Chicago folk who are used to great beerlists. They had Ommegang Zuur, Three Floyd's Pride and Joy on cask and Alpha King, Port Hot Rocks, Surly Abrasive, Tyranena Scurvy, Bear Rep. Hop Rod Rye, Two Bros. Hop Juice, Stone IRS 2008, Atomium Premier Grand Cru, with three offerings from Goose Island on tap.

The prices were pretty reasonable. I had the Abrasive, Zuur, and Hot Rocks, and they were priced $6.5/a pint for each one. I thought it was good pricing for rarer, special beers.

Ultimately, I was very impressed with Poor Phil's, I just wish I lived closer to it. I wouldn't mind trying their food either, which looked pretty tasty.
Jul 11, 2010
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Reviewed by emerge077 from Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
Stopped in at Poor Phil's today for a quick beer and appetizer. It was fairly crowded in the smallish bar, but it was chilly enough out that everyone was seated inside. U-shaped bar, several tv's, one a "Cubs tv" the other a "Sox tv" to placate both factions.

The seasonal draft selection was pretty good, including about 8 hoppy beers: Gumballhead, 2 Hearted, Unearthy, Racer 5, Hop 15, and several others. Cane & Ebel was on cask, which I wasn't expecting from other reviews. There were maybe 15 or so seasonal drafts that were all quality. The regular list was ok, but nothing too exciting for BAs. Most quality selections were US crafts with a handful of token Belgians (Chimay, Delirium, Leffe, Atomium) and Germans (Hacker Pschorr). Great Lakes, FFF, Bells, Rogue, Flying Dog, Left Hand.

Service was friendly and timely. There was a board with current drafts and beer/food pairings from the staff. We just had the mozzarella marinara appetizer which was ok. Didn't try any seafood. Overall it felt like more of a locals place than a destination, but there was a good seasonal beer selection that would keep me coming back when I was in the area.
Aug 31, 2009
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Reviewed by hawks10 from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
Went there on a Tuesday night, quite a few people there actually. Started with a bottle of New Holland Poet, ordered blackened cajun catfish and finished with a Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout from the tap. Had a nice tap selection, 2 Three Floyds, Bells Winter, Surly, Two Brothers and a bunch more I can't recall. Decent bottle selection. My catfish was good, but really pricey for a small portion. Girlfriend had a burger, it was decent and normal priced. Waitstaff was very friendly. Would go there again but probably wouldn't eat, too pricey.

Oh yea, the cask selection was empty, not even sure what it was...
Jan 15, 2009
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Reviewed by AylwinForbes from Illinois

2.83/5  rDev -29.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5
The location is quite nice, very close to some of the Frank Lloyd Wright homes that make Oak Park a destination for out-of-towners. On a nice day there are sidewalk tables with sun or shade on quiet streets. It all seems quite civilized. Having found it via BA and done a bit of research on their website, we approached with some anticipation. Unfortunately, we left a bit disappointed, though not out of pocket. It seems to be one of those places that offers much more than it delivers: there is cask beer of the day - though when you ask you find that they are out right now. The beer menu offers a good selection of American brewers but it can be very frustrating because the list doesn't necessarily jive with what they do have at the time. Eventually we went to the bar rather than go back and forth with the waitress in a futile go-round. FFF Dreadnaught!! was on the board; but when it came it clearly wasn't; so another discussion ensued. After all the fuss we were not charged for beer. Food was only adequate; but we didn't experiment with any of the seafood stuff - I would be skeptical.

Okay, I've been a bit negative, but for sure the beer selection beats a lot of places, so we would return if in the area.
Jun 01, 2008
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Reviewed by rhoadsrage from Illinois

3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5
I stopped in for lunch and they had lots of nice seating outside with a bar taking up the bulk of the space inside. I sat at a table with a window and I could still see all the action at the bar. At first I thought they had a lot of Miller Lite distributors in the bar but that was the wait staff that had white button-up shirts with blue pin strips and a big Miller Lite patch sown on the back.

The beer list looked pretty impressive with 35 taps, 1 cask, 43 bottles and 12 mixed beer cocktails. However many of the beers were run not that exciting. They had a good dozen that I was happy to see. I decided to try the Bell's Two-Hearted on cask and that was one of the reasons I stopped in. I watched the bartender pour it so I know it was fresh but when I had my first sip it was the temperature of bathwater. My waiter was very busy other wise I would have sent it back but after a bit I just drank it in hopes that the bottom of the beer would taste better. All I could taste was big oranges and some fusel alcohol. That cask beer was a 5.75 for an American pint so I wonÂ’t make that mistake again.

I ordered a beer of the tap lines and it was fine, and the taps and bottles are more reasonably priced. They have lots of Irish kitsch on the walls but they are a seafood/oyster place. I had the catfish po'boy and it was lots of lettuce with a tiny little bit of blackened catfish. I head to eat through half the lettuce to get to any meat. I looked around and the majority of people had burgers and they looked pretty good.

If I had friends in the area that wanted to go out I might try this place again but I just wasn't that impressed. I like to try the house oyster shooters to judge the raw seafood but I just didn't have the confidence in this place. They do have to Apple computers on the bar so if you want to write beer reviews or post on BA you could do it while you drink.
Jun 19, 2006
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Reviewed by RedBaron from Illinois

4/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
Poor Phil's, a nice respite from the intensity of the Lake Street shopping district in Oak Park, IL., is a great little corner pub to hang out, drink real ale (and other assorted domestic and imported goodies), and nosh on above-average pub grub.

This place is festooned with brewerania, particularly Guinness signs, and also pays homage to the town's two biggest former residents-Frank Lloyd Wright, and Ernest Hemingway. For anyone interested in hanging out in such wonderfully decorated pub, with a lively crowd and friendly bar staff, and if you're a lover of good beer, this is just the place for you.

Although my drink choice was limited to one pint on my first trip here, I made it count: a cask-conditioned pint of Three Floyd's Alpha King. This highly-hopped, citrusy pale ale, was properly served by the folks who maintain the cask lines (hey, Brewin' Beagle: nice job!), and this quaffable brew sated my thirst and worked up my hunger sufficiently to enjoy an appetizer of chipotle cheese poppers, and a shrimp 'Po boy. The other cask-conditioned ale they had on draught was Two Brothers' Bitter End (I've had this on standard draught before, found it to be very good, and I can imagine that the crew at Poor Phil's pour a mean version of this, as well). Poor Phil's also carries a nice selection of bottle imports (a few Belgians peppered in for good measure), and a nice selection of micros, too (Sierra Nevada, Bell's, etc.).

The other thing the pub is noted for is seafood in general, and oysters in particular. Although I didn't try the oysters when I visited, they really pitch the lovely and historic marriage of oysters and stout here. I can't wait to get back there and fall in love again!
Dec 29, 2003
Poor Phil's Bar & Grill in Oak Park, IL
Place rating: 4 out of 5 with 21 ratings