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5 days in Chicago. Am I missing anything?

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by joeneugs, Sep 2, 2017.

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  1. joeneugs

    joeneugs Initiate (107) Aug 28, 2008 California

    I'll be in Chicago from September 30 through October 5th. I'm traveling by myself for work and will have plenty of free time. If anyone wants to meet up for a beer, let me know....I may even be able to bring some CA Bay Area beers for sharing/trading :slight_smile:

    So here's my list of places I've picked out to try and visit:

    Une Annee
    Beer Temple
    Smoque BBQ
    Pipeworks dojo
    Cruz Blanca
    Girl and the goat
    Half acre
    Bad apple
    Demera Ethiopian restaurant
    Imperial oak
    3 floyds
    18th street
    Map room
    Forbidden root
    Local option
    Pequod Pizza
    Band of Bohemia
    More brewing
    Motor row

    I realize this is like 6 places per day, but some I'm planning on being quick stops to check out the scene and/or grab a flight of beers or just get food. Still, I probably won't make it to all these, so what should I prioritize? Are there any can't miss places that I left out?

    I'm primarily interested in brewery taprooms with good, interesting beers but also would love some insider food rec's and other cool stuff to do in the city. I'm already going to the Cubs season Finale on Oct 1 and the Fleet Foxes concert on the 3rd.

    Thanks in advance and sorry for the long winded post! Cheers.
    eppie82 and GrumpyGas like this.
  2. Quilentro

    Quilentro Aspirant (231) May 12, 2017 Illinois

    Added my editorial below. Add hopleaf to your list. And maybe bangers and lace, and Links? Check recent post in other thread - @prior2two wrote a good sample itinerary:


    wilymobastardo likes this.
  3. KCUnited

    KCUnited Initiate (176) Nov 11, 2014 Illinois

    I would definitely get a map and group those out and then narrow it down. I've lived here 2.5 years and have been to a little over half those places. I had a slow day yesterday and decided to drive from the city to More at noon and got about halfway there before I was like wtf was I thinking. If you do go to More, you may as well hit Noon Whistle. Some people here that have a better knowledge of the city and burbs can possibly help with the logistics.
  4. ChangSing

    ChangSing Initiate (139) May 5, 2013 Illinois

    that's very ambitious. i'd suggest ranking them based on your desire to visit because even to go from some place on one end of the city to the other can be 45 minutes. I personally would not want to burn too much daylight just driving around. I'd start with the distance from where you're staying to each, and as anothe post mentioned, see if you can knock out 2-3 pretty easily within 2 hrs. Everything you listed is great and you can't go wrong..but do you want to just walk in and out of 10 places, or sit and enjoy 4-5 places. That is the question:slight_smile:
  5. darktain

    darktain Initiate (162) Dec 1, 2015 Illinois

    Kuma's(original on Belmont) is a must stop
    Dontcounttoday and croush like this.
  6. GrumpyGas

    GrumpyGas Meyvn (1,386) Apr 7, 2009 Illinois

    Great to see Imperial Oak on your list and their Oak-toberfest is the 30th, but don't go all that way for just one place.
    You could think of adding maybe Blue Nose, BuckleDown, Pollyanna, Miskatonic, and Skeleton Key. You could probably hit and quit all of those in under 6 hours with a flight at each. However, none of them have food, unless a truck hits that day, or like the case of IO they are having a party with food. Or just enjoy the day at IO it will be a great time.
    For pubs with good food and beer options in that general area look at Chuck's or 3 Corners Tap.
    Have a great time whatever you do.
  7. joeneugs

    joeneugs Initiate (107) Aug 28, 2008 California

    Thanks for all the advice so far! Yeah, I'll most likely be narrowing this down over the next few weeks and probably as I go too... That link had some great info about the Wicker Park area. Sounds like exactly the kind of experience I'm looking for.

    I was going to hit Imperial Oak on the way down to Three Floyds. Seems to be somewhat on the way. There's just way too many great places to choose from!
    GrumpyGas likes this.
  8. BJP

    BJP Initiate (78) Apr 26, 2010 Illinois


    And an often overlooked/underrated option...

    Pub Royale
    Amazing Indian food and a well curated tap list with some pretty rare/bizarre beers. All available in small pours.
    Dontcounttoday and FBarber like this.
  9. Quilentro

    Quilentro Aspirant (231) May 12, 2017 Illinois

    And after pub royale, you can put on your dancing shoes and create a sweaty night filled with regret at InnJoy, drinking PBR tall boys and having strangers buy you shots of fireball.
  10. Zoomslowik

    Zoomslowik Aspirant (297) Mar 17, 2016 Illinois

    More and Mikerphone are a solid drive from the rest of the list. Definitely budget a lot of driving time, though they're both worth the trip.

    Half Acre/Dovetail/Begyle is a must that's pretty easy. That's been my Saturday a few times. Bad Apple is right there too. However, I would go to Beer Temple from there and hit Kumas as darktain said.

    There's a ton of food options around Cruz Blanca and Haymarket. I would see which place has the shortest wait between The Publican, Au Cheval and Little Goat (might be tough to get in the main place). My other favorite in that area is Green Street Smoked Meats (awesome BBQ, though pricey). There's probably 9 other places I'm forgetting too.
  11. DarkMagneto

    DarkMagneto Initiate (134) Apr 17, 2007 Illinois

    I have no idea where you are staying, but assume you're here on work so staying downtown. Getting to the burbs from downtown is a major pain. Totally possible, but will test your patience for sure. Would help us out if you posted where you are staying. Just FYI.....I work downtown, but live in suburbs. I take the train every day of my life. No way in hell I would ever drive it.
  12. joeneugs

    joeneugs Initiate (107) Aug 28, 2008 California

    I'm staying at the Warwick Allerton Hotel on N. Michigan Ave. and E. Huron... so yeah downtown. Looks like taking the train out to Villa Park for More would take forever, but probably not much longer than driving in traffic. Would that be worth the 1.5 hour trip?
  13. beerbelly_mike

    beerbelly_mike Initiate (103) May 19, 2016 Illinois

    No disrespect to any of these places, but given the amount you want to try and the time limit you have, I would cross out Begyle, Motor Row, Kinslagher, and Haymarket. Drinks at Map Room, Forbidden Root, and food/beer at Piece. I think all three open very early. So do that as early as possible and then make your way up to Half Acre, Dovetail, and Bad Apple for the night time. There is your six in one day. Plus I would add links taproom to that itinerary.
    eppCOS, DLDlulz and BuffaloBill12 like this.
  14. 98green

    98green Savant (947) Jun 13, 2014 Michigan

    Your list is solid. I've been to maybe 2/3rds of those places in my trips to Chicago.

    I will echo the love for the Begyle/Dovetail/Half Acre grouping. I find myself doing that stretch on a lot of my trips. I also spend a lot of time at Piece and Links for what its worth.

    Someone mentioned passing on Motor Row, and I might agree. I've been there, but the room is small, not really close to anything else yet (tho the area is getting better), and nothing super unique about their offerings.

    Easily overlooked is the tasting room at the North/Clybourn Binny's. The room is amazing and they usually have some good stuff on tap, plus you can roam the rest of the store drinking a beer if you'd like.

    One brewery taproom that didn't make your list is Hopewell. It is in Logan Square, a bit further out on Milwaukee than Rev. Their offerings aren't worth a special trip, but the room and vibe are cool, and I don't think they do any retail yet.
    DLDlulz likes this.
  15. Socalfan21

    Socalfan21 Initiate (188) Aug 1, 2013 Illinois

    I would argue that nothing is worth it in the burbs if you are downtown but that is just me. We have everything right here. Its the greatest city for a reason so take advantage of it!
  16. YoungLad

    YoungLad Initiate (135) Apr 27, 2009 Indiana

    I'm assuming you're going to visit 18th on the same day you're hitting up 3 Floyds? Since you're already going to be in NW Indiana, I would include New Oberpfalz in Griffith on that swing - go to Floyds, stop in at NO (just about 15 minutes from Floyds), and then go to 18th in Hammond, and then back to downtown. And I would recommend going to Floyds on Monday - Thursday (and Tuesday afternoon is my preferred day). Also, NO is closed on Monday. (yeah - and check your itinerary, because a lot of places are closed here on Monday)

    And if you're staying downtown, hitting up Imperial Oak on that same trip to NW Indiana doesn't add up for me. I would recommend that if you are indeed going to hit up More and Noon Whistle, and get your NE IPA face on, then you could swing by Imperial Oak on the circle back towards downtown.

    And I didn't see Revolution on your list? Serious omission, imo, but if you are hitting up the Beer Temple, then you should stop in there, too.

    Your initial list was way too ambitious, but I appreciate your desire!
    GrumpyGas and GuyFawkes like this.
  17. prior2two

    prior2two Disciple (379) Oct 18, 2013 Illinois

    If you're driving, you could get to villa park in 25 min if you leave between 11 and 1.

    However, right now, More is having some production issues. Last week, they only had 3 beers on tap. At this point, it's an easy pass in my eyes.

    Honestly, the only "suburban" place worth a special trip in my mind Floyds. It's awesome, and always worth it. More/Mikerphone/Noonwhistle, etc are all perfectly nice places, but you can have much more fun doing other things in the city, beer related or not.

    Also, I'm in the Wicker Park area, so if you wanna do that route, I'll gladly meet you for a beer somewhere along it.
  18. GrumpyGas

    GrumpyGas Meyvn (1,386) Apr 7, 2009 Illinois

    Check out Lagunitas just south of Ogden at Washtenaw. It's magical.
    Good food.
    And if you do hit Motor Row, Baderbrau is right around the corner and will be a fun place around that time. Food and beer is already German influenced.
  19. WolverineShorts

    WolverineShorts Initiate (18) Aug 17, 2017 Illinois

    Aggressive list I like it. knowing me id end up finding the first place I enjoy and stay the rest of my trip. lol.

    my two cents would be to avoid wasting your time driving to the burbs. and i know, blasphemy but that includes 3Floyds. There are so many great spots in town that you can check out and I personally would rather be walking or cabbing around rather than on the expressway in traffic after a small amount of beer to be under legal BAC.

    I would certainly hit up the Corridor/dovetail/begyle/half acre. all pretty close (short cabs/uber) Long room, bad apple, heck even Kumas are not all that far away as far as bars go too. Do not miss Bitter Pops if you decide to do this mini crawl, best newish package shop in the neighborhood. Piece and Links is aso hard to beat 1-2 punch if you ask me.

    have fun, be safe and let us know how the trip goes.
  20. joeneugs

    joeneugs Initiate (107) Aug 28, 2008 California

    Thanks again for all the info everyone... @prior2two I'll probably be hitting the Wicker Park area either Monday or Wednesday night Oct 2 or 4. I'll message you around that time to see if you can meet up.

    I'm flying into O'Hare on Saturday so I may try to hit at least Mikerphone and Une Anne then. Maybe More and Noon Whistle if I don't drink too much and then head into the City and use transit for the other stuff the rest of the way. I'll probably head out to Three Floyds and hit Imperial Oak along the way during the week. I'm sure lots of stuff on my list will be missed, but I'm sure I'll have a great time! I'll give my full report afterwards.

    Very excited about this trip! I've never been to Chicago and had no idea the beer scene was so diverse.
    eppCOS likes this.
  21. prior2two

    prior2two Disciple (379) Oct 18, 2013 Illinois

    Also, it's only open thurs-Sunday, but the Goose Islamd taproom is great too. No food, but one offs from goose are great, and they throw on BCS and variants semi-regularly.
  22. KidGalaga

    KidGalaga Initiate (56) Apr 21, 2014 Illinois

    OP, that is an insane list and getting through half that list would be ambitious.

    for the beer bars, I'd recommend looking up their draft lists ahead of time and only going if there are 3 or more beers which are must try's in your opinion.

    of the breweries on your list, i've been to or tried enough of their beers to say that the only must visits are corridor, forbidden root, and half acre (new balmoral taproom list is much better)

    going to 18th st / FFF will kill a half day at least and will most likely put you in a sour mood due to the traffic unless you time it perfectly, wait, that's impossible.
  23. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (886) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    No Clark Street, Bangers & Lace, or Longman & Eagle?

  24. NNN

    NNN Initiate (101) Feb 9, 2017 Illinois

    Spend a day doing More, Mikerphone and Noon Whistle. Don't get pulled over.

    Spend another doing Half Acre, Forbidden Root, Corridor, Begyle, and whatever else local.
    beerbelly_mike likes this.
  25. RexKramer

    RexKramer Initiate (154) Jan 19, 2011 Illinois

    I hope if you're planning on doing any sort of More/Mikerphone/Noon Whistle/Imperial Oak that you just put some cash aside and make it an uber day. Even if you drop $100 in cabs, it's far cheaper and far safer than getting a DUI, and you'll probably have much more fun.

    And for a point of reference, depending on time of day, you'd be looking at about 45 minutes from downtown to Mikerphone and then you're probably looking at 20-30 minutes between Mikerphone -> More. Probably 10 between More -> Noon Whistle. And then 20-30 between NW and IO. And then 30 back into the city if all goes well. In other words, you'll be covering some ground and I'd say a couple of those times are kind of optimistic.
  26. lloydboss

    lloydboss Aspirant (279) May 9, 2014 Illinois

    I know YoungLad hinted at this but I feel the need to say since you're coming in from out of town: Imperial Oak is NOT on the way to Three Floyds if you on Michigan Ave. In fact, it's pretty much the opposite direction you want to travel if your goal is to get to FFF.

    I know it may not look that ambitious on google maps, but it is.
    YoungLad likes this.
  27. prior2two

    prior2two Disciple (379) Oct 18, 2013 Illinois

    Yeah. You're going at least 45 min out of your way, and that's if there's zero traffic. It's more like 2+ hours on a normal day.

    I'd still recommend hitting up 3 Floyds. It's fantastic, and one of the real beer ticker destinations in the country, and 18th street is close enough at that point, that you'd be stupid to not go.

    Imperial Oak checks neither of those boxes.
    FFFjunkie likes this.
  28. Jaycase

    Jaycase Meyvn (1,260) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois

    OP, as someone who lives in the hinterlands I'd recommend staying in the city proper. Driving out to the burbs and back is a colossal waste of time. Save that for your next trip. There is plenty to see in Chicago to fill up your week & with spots left over even.
    eppCOS, ChangSing and thewimperoo like this.

    THANAT0PSIS Crusader (775) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin

    Prioritize Forbidden Root, Corridor, and Dovetail as far as breweries go. Please don't miss Dovetail; they don't get nearly enough play because they're "only lagers." These three are among the best breweries in the city, and you won't find their stuff around very many other places. This is not true of Rev and Half Acre, whose beer is everywhere. Most of the other breweries (Haymarket, Begyle, Cruz Blanca, Motor Row, Band of Bohemia, etc.) are either not good enough to be worth your time or are easy enough to find in package or on tap somewhere. Half Acre's new taproom may be worth it, but I haven't been and so can't speak to it.

    Bottleshop musts are Beer Temple, Binny's on Marcey, and Bottles and Cans.

    Food musts are Au Cheval, Big Jones (amazing cajun food), Kuma's Corner (Belmont), Owen and Engine (casks, usually a great taplist, and some of the best food in the city), and Laschet's (great German food and a generally amazing German taplist).

    Bar musts are Delilah's, Beer Temple, Fountainhead, Hopleaf, Local Option, Bad Apple, Bangers and Lace, Clark Street Ale House, Maria's, and the highly underrated, undermentioned The Barrel, which is a real divey dive bar way off in the middle of nowhere but has nothing but local Chicago beer on tap ever and is run by the nicest guys.

    If you don't have a reservation already for Girl and the Goat, it's probably not happening.

    Lastly, seriously, you're dramatically underestimating how long it can take to get places in Chicago, and with FFF and 18th Street on the list (not to mention all the suburb stops), you're looking at an itinerary that would be tough to get through in two weeks if you want to do everything.
    #29 THANAT0PSIS, Sep 9, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
    eppCOS likes this.
  30. Jaycase

    Jaycase Meyvn (1,260) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois

    Perhaps, but I would point OP to the new HA Balmoral location. There might possibly be draft beers which will not be available 'everywhere'. Hell, even Rev might have something nice on draft too. Don't count your draft beers before they are tapped, OP.
    eppCOS likes this.

    THANAT0PSIS Crusader (775) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin

    Sure, they have some one-offs, no doubt, but most aren't that different/impressive to go to if he's trying to focus it down to a reasonable amount of visits; if he sticks to the plan and hits the insane amount of stops, sure they're obviously worth going to. I'm notoriously unimpressed by most Rev/HA stuff, though, so I admit that bias (it's all solid stuff, but to me it feels like the current beer scene has passed them by a little).

    I forgot about the new Half Acre taproom, which I haven't been to but plan to check out myself, so I'd add that to the list, and the taplist looks pretty good.
    #31 THANAT0PSIS, Sep 9, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
  32. YoungLad

    YoungLad Initiate (135) Apr 27, 2009 Indiana

    I guess my take is that if someone is coming in town, and has never been to HA on Lincoln, or Revolution, I would still recommend that they go. As a local, we can get somewhat numb to how damn good they are.

    And, every time I stop in at HA, they have something on tap that either a) I've not had before, or b) is so damn fresh that it kills that same beer if you find it on tap or in can somewhere around town. Plus, and my last $0.02 on HA - I think their people are the coolest nicest folks, and it's always a good time there.

    Sorry, I do have one question for you, though - in what way has the local scene passed them by?
    eppCOS, croush and Jaycase like this.
  33. KidGalaga

    KidGalaga Initiate (56) Apr 21, 2014 Illinois

    is this post from 2013? regardless, anyone who recommends dovetail over half acre has a clear agenda in mind.
    prior2two likes this.

    THANAT0PSIS Crusader (775) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin

    I agree that perhaps if you've never been, then they're basically a touchstone that you must go to. As far as the "passed by" comment, this is more for Rev and not HA, but their lineups are a bit stale to me, and it seems that they don't really want to branch out too my stylistically, or when they do, it's not great (Rev Pils is pretty terrible as a pilsner for instance).

    Counter to my indifference to Rev and HA, though, I must say I really enjoy Vallejo, GoneAway, and Navaja, and Straight Jacket is still one of the best BA barleywines around.

    No agenda, I have literally no affiliation with them. I just think they're fantastic and woefully unsung.

    There are a lot of breweries that do IPAs and sweet stouts well (I can think of at least five in the city alone, including HA), not to mention all those that excel throughout the country. There are still very few that do lagers well nationwide. Dovetail is special and unique in that regard.

    Also, I said many times that this is my opinion, which honestly should go without saying. I don't need an agenda to have a different opinion than you, even if it's a radical, against the grain one like "HA and Rev aren't that special."

    Also, a 2013 post would probably have been praising Pipeworks, Half Acre, and Rev as essential breweries to get beer from. Dovetail, Forbidden Root, and Corridor weren't around then.
    #34 THANAT0PSIS, Sep 9, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
  35. ChangSing

    ChangSing Initiate (139) May 5, 2013 Illinois

    Definintely pick one place in teh suburbs to go to-Three Floyds, Mikerphone etc- and that's it. You can cruise around on the CTA or uber downtown and hit up a ton of great places to more than fill your 5 days here. I live in the western suburbs, and believe me, at the wrong time of day, it can take 45 minutes to go from one end of Naperville to the other. You'll waste a ton of time driving..but more importantly, even if you have one beer at 4 different suburban breweries you're just asking for a DUI. I'd suggest just tour the city, maybe check out a Cubs game(hopefully there will be some playoff baseball then).
  36. YoungLad

    YoungLad Initiate (135) Apr 27, 2009 Indiana

    I think we're on the same page. I'm also a fan of a lagers, and woefully haven't been able to get up into the city to check out Dovetail yet. All of my beer-migos have been raving on it.
  37. prior2two

    prior2two Disciple (379) Oct 18, 2013 Illinois

    Girl and the Goat is very doable if you get there around open. You might be able to get a table, but you'll definitely be able to get a seat at the bar.

    If you show up any later though, forget it.

    As a big fan of Dovetail, I think you'd be nuts to skip Half Acre or Revolution and go to Dovetail. They're good, but the other 2 destinations.

    Rev has the best barrel program in the city outside of Goose, almost always have something BA on draft at the pub or taproom.
  38. Verbl

    Verbl Initiate (102) Feb 7, 2009 Minnesota

    Are there any places near Logan square, or off the blue line that have NFL Sunday ticket, and a decent beer selection? I did not mean to steer this another direction, but did not feel this warranted a seperate thread.
  39. prior2two

    prior2two Disciple (379) Oct 18, 2013 Illinois

    Links Taproom is off the Damien Blue line in Wicker park and has a great beer menu and a lot of TVs. Not sure about Sunday ticket, but I'd be surprised if they didn't.

    Here's the current beer menu. www.linkstaproom.com/beer-menu/

    Logan Bar and Grill might have it, and they're beer selection is pretty decent. Nothing spectacular though.

    I'd be shocked if Innjoy Logan Square didn't have it. They're a sports bar mostly. Again, solid list, but nothing crazy. Probably a few IPAs and local beers.
    Verbl likes this.
  40. KCUnited

    KCUnited Initiate (176) Nov 11, 2014 Illinois

    I'm not sure about Sunday, but I know Links typically shuts it's TVs down after a certain hour or will put on some live music (typically Phish) videos to shed the sports bar image. I have seen local sports on during the afternoons though, just can't remember what was on in there on Sunday's, but would be surprised if they had Sunday ticket and took game requests. But I could be off on that.

    Fat Pour off the Division blue line most definitely has Sunday Ticket and a decent beer list.
    Verbl likes this.
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