St. Patrick's Day in Chicago

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by NABS, Jan 30, 2018.

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  1. NABS

    NABS Initiate (0) May 11, 2011 Ohio

    Some friends and I discussed the possibility of heading in to town on a bus that would drop us off for 10+ hours on March 17 and then spending the day craft beering.

    My question to the venerable Chicagoans here is "What is a conceivable idea of breweries to hit in that amount of time on a March 17 in the city?" I've spent a good 1.5-2 weeks going through BeerMenus and the Chicago places on this site, trying to highlight the most important places to hit/see what's a good "travel" plan. But, info from someone more expert than Google Map (and me) is definitely what I seek.

    I know there are plenty of variables like "How long are you going to stay in one place?" and "How far apart are the places you'd like to go?", weather, and many others. Basically, my big wants are Goose Island (is any one the particular best instead of racing to all spots in search of Prop?), Half Acre, and Binny's (from what I gather, Binny's LP would be the best choice, but please let me know if I'm mistaken). My other friends will probably have some ideas of their own, but hopefully we are similar enough that it's not a stretch to add in their things and have a reasonable shot.

    I guess I'm asking how jam-packed the city is on a typical St. Patrick's Day, how feasible travel is (recommendations? Uber? L? Taxi?) through the mess, and if it's going to be a bear traveling, where the biggest cluster of quality breweries/beer stops, that are within walking distance, is located.

    Or would it be better to save the money on the bus ticket there and save up for a full-on vacation with a stay in Chicago? (And while that may be possible for me, not sure it is for everyone that had planned to go along.)

    Any questions/clarification, ask away. I'll try to be back nightly to check in, if not the occasional non-weekend day. Thanks in advance for anyone that is able to give me more ammunition with which to make a more well-informed decision.
  2. croush

    croush Initiate (0) Mar 20, 2015 Illinois

    I would highly recommend spending more time. That sounds too rushed for my liking, but that may just be me.

    As far as some of your other questions...don't chase for Prop, as you probably won't get it. At this point, GI Fulton is better than GI Clybourn (which is hard for me to believe I'm actually saying). Clybourn is supposed to be having their own beers on tap at some point, as opposed to just standard offerings, but who knows when that will actually happen.

    The best way to get around will most likely be Uber/Lyft. That's how I do it for the most part. I would probably only recommend 3 places in that short amount of time, so you can actually relax and enjoy them. My short list would be Half Acre, Revolution, Corridor and GI Fulton (I know that's 4, and I only said 3...but oh well). For bottle shops, I would recommend Binny's Lincoln Park if you want the widest selection, but it's also the most popular beer/wine stop in town, so it can get busy and stuff disappears. Other shops that I like would be Beer Temple, Bottles & Cans and Bitter Pops.

    I'm sure I've forgotten a brewery or shop that someone else will mention as well, and obviously others will have opinions of different places to go.
    NABS and GuyFawkes like this.
  3. ravens_wood

    ravens_wood Initiate (0) Dec 21, 2017 Illinois


    If you're set on coming March 17th you should be OK from a craft beer standpoint. The places likely will be busier than a normal Saturday but they won't be a zoo like the bro bars in Wrigley, LP, Old Town and RN. On the northside of Chicago there is a good cluster of taprooms and breweries you can "crawl"

    Also are you near the Cleveland area? I've taken Amtrak from Chicago to Cleveland and found it to be a much more pleasurable than the bus (Megabus, I assume?).
    NABS likes this.
  4. Nbrock24

    Nbrock24 Pooh-Bah (1,674) Mar 11, 2016 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Yeah maybe Goose Fulton with On Tour for one period of time. Then head to Half Acre Balmoral/Spiteful/Doevtail/Begyle for another. That's if looking for volume plays
    ebunk and NABS like this.
  5. MikeJet32

    MikeJet32 Aspirant (215) Apr 14, 2017 Illinois

    I would vote either...

    1) GI Fulton/On Tour/Great Central/Forbidden Root (all of these are walking distance from one another)

    2) Corridor... then up to Dovetail/Begyle/Half Acre Balmoral/Spiteful
  6. NABS

    NABS Initiate (0) May 11, 2011 Ohio

    Thank you to all of you that have replied so far!

    In addition to the big 3 that I listed, I did have that stretch with Begyle and Spiteful (near HA Balmoral) on the list, but if anything needed to be cut to make sure I got the big 3, I'd probably not hit everything I had listed in that stretch. (I know I could spend "insert any length of time here" in the city and not get to everything, but I was looking to get to as many places as possible, without being ridiculous/not being able to enjoy the places I did get to.)

    And, while I'd LOVE to spend more than 11 hours up there, I think the allure was the bus ticket price and that some of the friends going up were treating it as a last minute getaway before getting swallowed up by other plans/financial burdens. (Though, I never thought of the train. Maybe waiting for a more stable time of the year, at least for less inclement weather, is a possibility. I'll investigate this further! Thanks for the suggestion ravens_wood!)

    If this venture proves fruitful, though, I think I may have a few other friends that would like to head out for a multi-day sojourn to Chicago, maybe even this late spring/summer.
  7. ChangSing

    ChangSing Initiate (0) May 5, 2013 Illinois

    You'll have more than enough beer selections through these posts, so I don't really need to add more. BUT, I do want to point out that the St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown Chicago is on March 17th, this year. So, a good portion of the Loop/Downtown will be closed to traffic and will be packed with people.

    Most of your craft beer spots will be busier than normal, but not a total cluster fuck like River North/Wrigleyville/Lincoln Park etc. I just wanted to point out the parade issue. Depending on weather, there could be 500,000+ more people running around Chicago that day.
    SeanBond and NABS like this.
  8. NABS

    NABS Initiate (0) May 11, 2011 Ohio

    ^ That was one of my main concerns. I'm going to go look up Amtrak tickets now and see what that looks like compared to the bus ticket. Then the only issue is will we be able to stay as long (because with this first group, not sure overnight is possible) as on the bus trip or will it be shortened even further.

    Thanks for the heads up. I knew the population in the city that day would be larger, but half a mil is enough to make rethinking a schedule change palatable.
  9. JohnnyChicago

    JohnnyChicago Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2010 Illinois

    Just a heads up on uber/Lyft. Expect higher than normal fares. It might make sense for you to solely utilize the el. Pick a string of breweries along a line and hit those. Avoid downtown at all costs.
    If you want to enjoy the holiday, hit chief o’neill’s for tunes and Christina’s place for a $3 Guinness and free full breakfast.
    Also recommend IAHC for the craic.
    NABS and FBarber like this.
  10. NABS

    NABS Initiate (0) May 11, 2011 Ohio

    ^ Funny you should say that. I just texted my friend about the trip and mentioned the other concerns (extra people and closed roads) and also mentioned in addition to more competition for the rides, the prices could be higher. Thanks for the confirmation!

    Also, I checked Amtrak prices. If this group isn't able to stay overnight, we can still get about 11 hours in the city, though maybe only 10 hours for open beer places, for a few bucks cheaper than the bus ticket was. Could make it during (hopefully) warmer weather and less crowded conditions. So, we will see what the other folks have in mind/constraints on travel dates, but this may end up being a moot thread, at least in terms of actually traveling on St. Patrick's Day.

    Thank you all for your suggestions! (If you've got any other suggestions different from others already here, keep 'em coming, because even if I don't get there March 17, it still may only be an 11 hour trip.) This community ALWAYS comes through in a pinch; it's why I'll never leave!
    Elldawg13 likes this.
  11. CityFarmer

    CityFarmer Zealot (661) Mar 19, 2015 Illinois

    If you want the full Chicago st pattys experience, go to timmy o’tooles on Ontario. Always a good taplist AND you’ll have the belligerent party crowd. Win win!!
    NABS and Redrover like this.
  12. taalhiker

    taalhiker Devotee (353) Aug 26, 2008 Ohio

    Not sure how much of an issue it will be, but keep in mind it is the first weekend for the NCAA basketball tournament. Some spots around town might be busy if they have TV's tuned to March Madness.
    NABS likes this.
  13. ChangSing

    ChangSing Initiate (0) May 5, 2013 Illinois

    I certainly don't want to necessarily discourage the trip, but I think it would be much better if you could at least stay overnight. Between the holiday, the parade, march madness there is a ton going on that weekend for just 10-12 hours. I'd hate for the 10 hour window get knocked down closer to just 7 hours because of the increased traffic and crowds. I'm an analyst for a living so I always look at things through a cost/benefit lens:slight_smile:

    and this map looks pretty current least for the city proper:
    NABS likes this.
  14. NABS

    NABS Initiate (0) May 11, 2011 Ohio

    ^I would(will!) gladly stay overnight at some point, but this first trip (group of friends) are absolutely unable to do that, so whether the weekend of March 17 or, more likely, a few weeks later because of future financial commitments.

    But, I think I have a few more friends that it won't be difficult to convince for a 2 or 3 day stay in the city. It would just be coordinating schedules to get that to work, but sometime this summer would be fantastic!

    Thanks for that map, also! (I think I had been using/had that map at one point, but it might have only been the first day I started researching.) And I like the viewpoint. While I don't examine EVERYTHING through that lens, I often look at things somewhat similarly.
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