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River North Gets the Casual Beer Bar It Needs at Centennial

For people who want to grab a beer in River North, sans the typical River North bar scene.

Photo: Peter Ranvestel

Centennial Crafted Beer (733 N. LaSalle Dr.) is a true beer bar—not just a spot with a huge beer selection, but the kind of place you go when your friends say, “let’s go grab a beer.”

That’s what party-bar-central River North needs, says owner Jeff Stevenson, adding emphatically: "There’s no DJ booth. There’s never going to be a DJ booth.” Stevenson, who owns the building and has his main company on the upper floors, saw tons of new apartment buildings going up nearby and decided it was time for the area to have a neighborhood bar. It’s working—Centennial’s got regulars after less than two weeks in business.

And since the neighborhood is upscale, it makes sense that the bar is fancier than your average dive. The food is crafted to match the beer selection, and they’re serious about beer pairing and education. Still, it’s a comfortable place: music is at a tolerable volume, the lighting is reasonable, and there’s a very casual clientele. The guy at the bar I talked to called it “not a pretty people bar.” If you’re open to seeing that as a compliment, then this is likely the place for you.

Here’s what we saw when we stopped in.

Photo gallery

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