Feature

11 Hottest New Beer Bars in Chicago

By Sarah Freeman  |  March 9, 2015

Goose Island is putting the finishing touches on their taproom at Fulton Market, but that doesn't mean you have to wait to get your craft-beer fix. Here are 11 new additions to the hopshead scene around town where you can get great brews in addition to delicious food.

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  • Bangers & Lace

    Why it’s Hot: With the recent christening of a second location in Evanston, done up in a mix of leather, lace and taxidermy-chic, the Footman Hospitality team is on its way to Chicago beer domination, offering a perfectly paired menu of locally focused craft beer and housemade encased meats.

    Number of beers on tap: 32

    What to drink: Penrose Spectral

    What to eat: Brioche corn dog

    Evanston: 810 Grove St.; 847-905-0854
    Wicker Park: 1670 W. Division St.; 773-252-6499

  • Dusek’s

    Why it’s hot: After some major renovation, historic Thalia Hall makes a comeback with this event space, basement punch lounge and beer-driven restaurant. The team behind Longman & Eagle executes gourmet reinterpretations of classic bar fare, such as wood-roasted stuffed pretzel with beer mustard, beef-fat frites and an infamous Juicy Lucy burger.

    Number of beers on tap: 24

    What to drink: Moody Tongue Thalia Hall Pilsner

    What to eat: General Tso's sweetbreads

    1227 W. 18th St.; 312-526-3851

  • Kaiser Tiger

    Why it’s hot: This West Loop follow-up to cult classic Local Option is a two-story beer, bacon and sausage emporium. Its massive outdoor patio morphed into a curling court for the winter, but will be back this summer to serve alfresco brews. It's also home to the legendary five-lb. bacon bomb, also offered in a more manageable sandwich form.

    Number of beers on tap: 24

    What to drink: Urban Chestnut Zwickel

    What to eat: Bacon board

    1415 W. Randolph St.; 312-243-3100

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    Links Taproom

    Why it’s hot: This tech-heavy bar boasts a tap system that tracks and displays how much beer is remaining in each keg, along with information about style, color and ABV. Pair the new-school brews with old-school sausages, such as sweet Italian or smoked Polish, as well as loaded fries.

    Number of beers on tap: 36

    What to drink: Off Color Bare Bear

    What to eat: Steak and ale sausage

    1559 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-360-7692

  • Headquarters Beercade

    Why it’s hot: The new River North location of the popular arcade bar pays at much attention to its beer selection as it does to its assortment of retro video games. You can even play bartender with a round of Tapper.  The menu features takes on '80s and '90s favorites, such as spins on deviled eggs, mozzarella sticks and “TV dinners.”

    Number of beers on tap: 28

    What to drink: Local Option Morning Wood

    What to eat: Pixelated chicken and waffles

    River North: 213 W. Institute Pl.; 312-291-8735
    Lakeview: 2833 N. Sheffield Ave.; 773-665-5660

  • Credit: Michael Kiser, Good Beer Hunting

    DryHop Brewers

    Why it’s hot: The team behind this gastro-brewery set its sights on Southport for a follow-up restaurant and brewery called Corridor Brewery & Provisions. Until it opens this summer, there's an impressive selection of brews at the original, plus brunch, lunch, dinner and late-night bites.

    Number of beers on tap: Seven

    What to drink: DryHop Splendor in the Dark

    What to eat: Green curry mussels

    3155 N. Broadway St.; 773-857-3155
     

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    Lagunitas

    Why it’s hot: The California beer king made a bold move when it set up a massive 600,000-barrel-capacity brewery, complete with a 4,000-sq.-ft. taproom, in the heart of Chicago beer country. In addition to brews, there's a food menu with the likes of beer mussels, soft pretzels with IPA beer cheese and pork brats slow-cooked in beer. The taproom acts a starting point for the brewery's free tours or just a place to grab a cold IPA.

    Number of beers on tap: 32

    What to drink: Lagunitas A Little Sumpin' Extra!

    What to eat: Wurst o' the Day

    1843 S. Washtenaw Ave.; 773-522-1308

  • Smylie Brothers Brewing Company

    Why it’s hot: Evanston’s beer scene began booming in the past year with, count 'em, three breweries opening their doors in the once-dry town. This one specializes on globally inspired brews and all-American BBQ. The stunning wood-covered taproom has ample seating at the bar and adjacent to the open kitchen.

    Number of beers on tap: 16

    What to drink: Smylie Bros. Cali Common

    What to eat: BBQ flight

    1615 Oak Ave., Evanston; 224-999-7320

  • Peckish Pig

    Why it’s hot: Start a meal at this restaurant and microbrewery with spent-grain bread made by Hewn Bakery with the grain left over from the brewing process. Continue with the likes of slow-roasted pork belly with mashed potatoes and beer mussels with housemade bacon. And, of course, work your way through the ever-changing selection of brewed-in-house tap beers.

    Number of beers on tap: 12

    What to drink: Peckish Pig India’s Panic Attack!

    What to eat: Spent-grain bread with Kerrygold butter

    623 Howard St., Evanston; 847-491-6778

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    Birreria

    Why it’s hot: Three brewers have come together for Eataly's in-house brewpub. Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head, Teo Musso of Birra Baladin and Leonardo di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo combined their international beer expertise to create four rotating ales. The brewpub has a dozen beers on tap and at least one cask special as well as a rotating selection of house brews made in an adjacent, glass-encased brewery.

    Number of beers on tap: 12

    What to drink: Birreria Panna Cotta

    What to eat: Prime-rib panino

    43 E. Ohio St.; 312-521-8700

  • Moxee

    Why it’s hot: This restaurant and microbrewery specializes in American BBQ and Southern classics, as well as experimental brews made in 3.5-barrel batches. It's a playground of food and drink complete with darts and shuffleboard table. In addition to the food and beer, the bar, dubbed Mad Mouse, also offers craft cocktails and select wines.

    Number of beers on tap: 24

    What to drink: Mad Mouse Schnickelfritz

    What to eat: Chicken and andouille gumbo

    724 W. Maxwell St.; 312-243-3660