1 Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery


One of the most accessible suburban breweries for city folk — just hop on the Metra Electric District line at Millennium Station, and a 45-minute ride later, you’re literally at this brewery’s front door. They’ve been making beers, mostly light-bodied and food-friendly ales, in this onetime train station since 1996. We dare you to name another brewery with a caboose on the patio that serves as an ice cream stand.

2 Hardware Gastropub

North Aurora

No other beer maker looks quite like BBGB Brewery’s post-apocalyptic reclaimed-steel-and-greenery mash-up, home to a living plant wall, garden, micro-orchard, and greenhouse, plus a small hop farm. And if you’re (gasp!) not feeling like beer, peruse the 470-bottle whiskey list.

Illustration by Jens Magnusson
Illustration: Jens Magnusson

3 Kinslahger Brewing Company

Oak Park

Maybe it’s the dark tin ceiling, the concise menu of easy-drinking lagers, the artfully lit art deco back bar, or the low-slung line of subtle blue tap handles — but this taproom feels surprisingly sophisticated. (The lack of TVs helps, too.)

4 Pollyanna Brewing Company


Brews with a view! Not only can you gaze down upon the I&M Canal from the patio deck with a full-bodied bock in hand, but the bar’s mezzanine perch offers a vista of the stainless steel brewing equipment below.

5 Two Brothers Roundhouse


The limestone and iron building dates to 1856. It once housed railroad cars, won a mechanical engineering award for its innovative design, and was briefly owned by Walter Payton. These days, Two Brothers Brewing Company’s drinking spot is for more than just serving hop-forward ales — the microbrewer also distills spirits.