Located at the back of a massive building that's under construction (and mostly empty) in an industrial stretch of Avondale, this taproom is truly a hidden gem. You'll have to make your way through some unfinished hallways to reach Metropolitan Brewing (3057 N. Rockwell St.), but the semi-creepy journey is worth it. At the end is a bright, airy room with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer unspoiled views of the tree-trimmed river. Score one of the picnic-style tables indoors, or enjoy a breeze on the neat patio along the water's edge — the perfect spot to take in nature with a beer in hand.
Unlike many other riverside watering holes in Chicago, the area around this one is serene and rife with wildlife, so much so that people have stopped by to bird watch. (You can also bring your own animal: The bar is dog-friendly.) But of course, the main activity here is drinking. Visible from the beautiful taproom is the brew facility, where shiny tanks are filled with German-style lagers.
The one downside of Metropolitan Brewing is that it doesn't serve food — but owners Doug and Tracy Hurst invite you to bring your own, or order in. Chances are, you'll crave a bite at some point, as this is a space you'll want to linger at for hours.