As Thanksgiving is fast approaching, I thought it wise to pay tribute to our German and Belgian pilgrim ancestors by doing a weekend tribute to beer and the watering holes that host only the best. While German/Belgian pilgrims is probably not historically accurate, I am going to forge ahead as our pilgrim ancestors did, and pretend that no one will call “bullsh*t” on me, like the Indians did when the Pilgrims started slowly building houses on their land. “What? Oh you mean this is YOUR land!? Well, you won’t mind if I build my 12 acre farm on it, will you friend?”
This is actually a topic near and dear to my heart, as I once worked at an establishment that boasted 130 beers on tap. I can not only tell you the difference between a Pilsner, an IPA and a Stout, but I know how beer is made as I have brewed my own beer in the past with my dear former roommates Duane and Brandon. (And yes, that does make me the perfect wife.)
Finally, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Time Out Chicago for featuring the “50 Great Bars You’ve Never Been To” article in the November 4 – 10 issue and giving me this bright idea, as well as providing a great list of bars to chose from. Check out their entire bar list here.
According to Time Out Chicago, this bar embodies the era of Bonnie and Clyde, which is perfect if you’re in the mood for looting and dressing fancy while running from the law. You won’t find your staple American beers like Miller and Bud, but instead a micro-brew list of 100+ beers. I have found micro-brews to be some of the best beers around because brew masters, not corporations, make these beers so there is still time, care and consideration put into each batch. Get $1 off all micro-brews on Fridays and $2 off all Belgian beers on Saturdays. And BONUS! They serve delicious meat in the form of burgers.
649 S. Clark Street
This bar is located right near Saint Xavier University and was actually donated to the school in 2005. I think the name is a dead give-away that Irish pilgrims started this bar (again, perhaps not historically accurate…) but the website does have a cute story about the Gilhooley family. Additionally many of their beers are imported, so if you can’t have a micro-brew, drink a beer from another country – you won’t be disappointed.
3901 W. 103rd Street
(3) Alive One
Now this is one of my picks. This bar is my friend Neil’s favorite bar and I am so glad he introduced me to it. Not only do they only play live music (hence the name) but they also feature awesome micro-brews on tap, such as Three Floyd’s, one of my favs. Try their Three Floyd’s Gumball Head for $3 on Thursdays, or $3 Goose Island beers on Sundays. If you JUST so happen to go on a Wednesday, steer clear of the Pabst Blue Ribbon special (you’re better than that!) and drink a $3 Magic Hat #9 instead! Did I mention they play amazing live music?? Just ask my friend Neil….
2683 N. Halsted
Jak sie masz! Meaning “How are you?” in Polish. Didn’t you know the city is 7% Polish pilgrim? I mean, immigrant….or of Polish ancestry….never mind, Thanksgiving has got me all confused.
Anyway, Helen and Stan’s is a cozy joint that was established by Polish immigrants. Not only can you find delicious Polish food, but you can also find delicious Polish beer, such as Okocim and Zywiec. Don’t underestimate Eastern European beer – they are some of the best out there and extremely smooth.
5960 S. Archer Ave.
I’ve also got some suggestions for the mommy’s. Just because you had kids doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself a good brew!
Started on the West Coast, Yardhouse is a restaurant chain that is slowly making it’s way east. The Glenview location has 130 different beers on tap, and this does include seasonal beers. You can find your standards like Miller and Bud, but also a variety of micro-brews. Added bonus is the extensive menu, and the guarantee that there will be at least one beer on the list you have never heard of.
The Yardhouse is located in the Glen, so should you bring the family, there is lots for the kiddies to do.
1880 Tower Drive, Glenview
(6) Cubby Bear North
Cubby Bear North is located in Lincolnshire. You can find indoor mini golf and bowling right across the street, so grab a meal and delicious beer (they have Delirium Tremens, a Belgian strong ale on tap, yum!) and then head over and try and get a hole in one.
21661 N. Milwaukee, Lincolnshire
(7) America’s Historic Roadhouse
Like homemade beer? Live far from Chicago? Hit up America’s Historic Roadhouse for fine dining and homemade beer. Try the Walter Peyton Pilsner with your chicken and feel just like Sweetness himself. There is even a light version, if you’re not feeling quite as sweet. Get it?
205 North Broadway, Aurora
Be hip(po)! Have fun! Celebrate the glorious gift of beer and the variety to choose from! And especially, have a safe weekend!
Listen to Ashley Lobo on Chicago radio,
WBIG AM 1280, Thursday mornings between 9-10,
with JoAnn & Ryan!