Traveling to Chicago and in the mood for a drink? Stop by any of these breweries, restaurants or bars for the best places to sit down, relax and have a drink in the city.
Once a novelty, local beer is now considered a drinker’s right. And we say, go to the source—because you can. Half Acre Beer Company (4257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773.248.4038) in Lincoln Square gets packed for tours (Sa, 11 am), so drop by the Tap Room to sample the popular Daisy Cutter Pale Ale. Tours run daily in Lawndale at Lagunitas (1843 S. Washtenaw Ave., Chicago, 773.522.2097). Production here is large-scale for year-round bottles like the Hop Stoopid, but the attitude is home-grown cheeky—just read the labels and you’ll see. An image of a raised fist marks the entrance to Logan Square’s Revolution Brewing (2323 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, 773.227.2739) where salvaged-wood benches are perfect for hanging with an Anti-Hero IPA; pair it with duck grilled cheese or a tofu burger. In Pilsen, Moody Tongue (2136 S Peoria St., Chicago, 312.600.5111) runs on the creative thinking of brewmaster Jared Rouben who calls his beer “liquid dishes.” It’s served at restaurants around town like TWO (1132 W. Grand Ave.)
In Chicago, we’re thankful for super-fill down coats and the neighbors who are willing to shovel our sidewalks in exchange for a case of beer. Oh, and this: our BYOB restaurants with no corkage fee. It’s a luxury (and fairly commonplace practice) in neighborhoods outside downtown, so when quick-serve Da Lobsta (12 E. Cedar St., Chicago, 312.929.2423) opened last year, Gold Coasters had something to cheers to. Tasked with picking up the wine? We say make an afternoon of it at Eataly, not exactly close, yet worth the trip for its 1,000-plus wines sorted by region. Grab a bottle of Spumanti to enhance Da Lobsta’s New England signatures Lobster Mac ‘N Cheese and rolls in three stripes: lobster, blue crab and shrimp. Think beer tastes better with Old Bay seasoning? Cab it to The House of Glunz (1206 N. Wells St., Chicago, 312.642.3000), one of the oldest wine and spirits shops in town, for its barrel-aged brews.
The Corner Bar
GQ named Chicago as the best drinking city in America. To that, we say, "Why thank you, and who’s ready for a shot?” From the neighborhood tap to the fancy hotel lounge, the hospitality runs as deep as the pizza. Consider this: On Southport Avenue, a pristine lane strolled by mamas and Gen Y-ers that’s technically part of Wrigleyville yet feels out of the fray, you’ll stumble upon no fewer than seven watering holes in eight city blocks. Ready for a mini pub crawl? Bucktown’s Courtland Street is nice and compact with Courtland's Garage, Jane’s and Bucktown Pub, only a short walk from the bar replicated for NBC’s “Chicago Fire” (Lottie’s). Go west to Humboldt Park’s California Clipper for cheap whiskey shots and scenesters peeking at a leading restauranteur’s handiwork. Prefer a downtown, but neighborhood-y vibe? Clark Street Ale House and Old Town Ale House sport drink menus of beer-snob caliber, with Bell’s Oberon and Lagunitas IPA making the rounds.