The 6 Best Craft Beer Havens
Fischman Liquors & Tavern
A primo craft beer menu (all are available for sale at the attached liquor store), live tunes, weekly food truck gatherings: Sprint to this so-unhip-it’s-charming “slashie” (bar/liquor store) before the beer snob invasion.
Find it: 4780 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-545-0123, fischmanliquors.com
Stocking 190 beers (and 420 whiskeys!), the three-year-old woodsy corner bar prides itself on its comprehensive drink menu (incuding gluten-free beer) and hearty nosh. It also boasts the best rooftop garden north of the Gold Coast.
Find it: 1970 W. Montrose Ave., 773-697-8204, fountainheadchicago.com
The perennially packed Belgian beer haven expanded last summer, adding more draft lines for your imbibing pleasure and a kitchen five times the size of its predecessor. That means more skin-on frites and Montreal brisket to accompany your pints.
Find it: 5148 N. Clark St., 773-334-9851, hopleaf.com
This international café brims with maps (no surprise) and rotating beers, including cask-conditioned and gluten-free varieties. With more than 200 brews from 36 countries on hand, you might actually need a GPS.
Find it: 1949 N. Hoyne Ave., 773-252-7636, maproom.com
Some come to this nearly 35-year-old watering hole for the live bands, others for the beer (250-plus ever-changing options), and still others for the kitsch (a photo booth and a collection of obscure books). Whatever their reasons, two-thirds of them arrive wearing plaid.
Find it: 2401 N. Western Ave., 773-276-9730, quenchers.com
With its tree-shaded garden and proximity to Wrigley Field, the Lake View joint could pack ’em in with a couple of flat screens and Coors Light. Instead, the beer nerdiness runs deep: This is often the spot to nab the newest seasonal brew before other bars get their taps on it.
Find it: 3258 N. Sheffield Ave., 773-281-4989, sheffields.com
Photograph: Anna Knott