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Apr 10, 2013 09:00 AM

Neighborhood for Beer Crawl?

For an upcoming trip to Chicago, I could use advice on a neighborhood for a beer crawl. In prior visits to Chicago, I've been to many great beer destinations, like The Map Room, Publican, Hopleaf, etc. But, those are not nearby one another. For this trip, I was hoping to find somewhere with lots of great beer bars within walking distance from one another. Suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. If you haven't already done so, you might check out this discussion, which has a lot of information about beer pubs:

    10th Anniversary Trip, Need Suggestions -

    Hopefully others may have good ideas. In particular, let's hope danimalarkey chimes in, as he's the resident expert on the subject!

    1. Andersonville might not be a bad choice. In addition to Hopleaf, Acre, Jerry's and Edgewater Lounge all have great beer lists. And, Simon's is a great choice for atmosphere.

      1. Lincoln Square has Grafton, Fork, Brauhaus, and also Bad Dog and 42N.

        1. The Bucktown/Wicker Park area is probably a good place to start (with a foray into Logan Square, too). Just spitballing here but this could be one route:
          Revolution Brewpub (great food, too)
          Map Room (no food, though you can bring it in; cash only)
          Piece (food menu largely limited to pizza)
          SmallBar (Division Street) (food is over-priced)
          Jerry's (Wicker Park) (food is okay, at best)
          Bangers & Lace (food is good but limited to sausages in various forms)

          Revolution to Map Room may be a longer walk than what many consider "walking distance" but Revolution is, I think, about the most consistent brewery in the city right now and shouldn't be missed.

          Or there's the Roscoe Village/North Center areas:
          Northdown (solid bar food, nothing crazy or terribly innovative)
          The Green Lady (no food, though you can bring it in)
          Half Acre Tap Room (no food, though you can bring it in)
          Bad Apple (great burgers, especially if you like them over-loaded with assorted toppings)
          Fountainhead (they just brought in a new chef so I can't speak to what the food will be like; they have a killer rooftop deck)

          With this list, Green Lady to Half Acre is probably more than walking distance. The Brown line (Paulina to Irving Park) wouldn't take long or it would be a cheap cab ride. Half Acre's Tap Room is a fun place and they offer all beers in a variety of sizes, making it easy to sample a variety of what's on tap (most of which will not be found anywhere else in the city)

          Lincoln Park could work well, too:
          Whole Foods (Kingbury St. location) (yes, it's a Whole Foods, but they have a craft beer bar in-store and it's often as good, if not better, as any other bar in the city)
          Goose Island (Clybourn brewpub) (skip the food; the beer can be hit or miss, so stick to a flight or two and appreciate what they're aiming for even if they don't stick the landing, so to speak)
          Local Option (food is okay; beer list is great; don't expect good service)
          Beer Bistro North (formerly part of the SmallBar family, the beer list is still very respectable but the food won't blow you away)

          As with all of the options above, just be sure to check hours first -- some don't open until the late afternoon, others are closed on certain days, etc.

          2 Replies
          1. re: danimalarkey

            This is extremely helpful. I'm leaning towards the Roscoe Village/North center crawl you identified -- but would also consider a crawl that involves Hopleaf if there is any way to work that in. Again, this is great. Thanks!

            1. re: John Galt

              Merkay, above, gave some good choices for Andersonville -- I would continue North along Clark Street all the way to Norse Bar, though.

              Hamburger Mary's makes its own beer but I've never been impressed.