1. Hopleaf Bar (Andersonville)
So. Many. Taps. It’s like you’ve died and gone to beer heaven as soon as you sit down at the bar. The row of taps literally seems to roll on forever, and, yeah, you’re definitely going to struggle to pick only one. Well, you’re not going to be able to stick with just one, and you’ll probably have to keep coming back to feel satiated.
Here’s the thing, though: the taps are always rotating out, and new beers are always being made. Yeah, if you love craft beers, you’re also going to love the bartenders. They’re pretty much the Einsteins of beer knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask them about their favorites, and just keep the flights flowing.
2. The Map Room (Bucktown)
It’s not always about what’s on tap, though. Sometimes you just have to get exotic, and you won’t find many bars in the city, let alone the rest of the country, that will rival the overall selection and variety of The Map Room. That probably has something to do with the reasoning behind why Esquire just named this bar as one of the top Beer Bars in the entire country. Featuring over 200 unique brands and 36 different brewing styles from all around the world, any beer-fanatic is going to feel right at home. We would recommend a beer to try, but they’re always changing. Just don’t try to order a Bud Light…
3. Headquarters Beercade (Lakeview)
Okay, okay. So maybe you won’t find an over-the-top selection of beers here, but there’s something amazing about this bar that makes it even better. There are over 60 classic arcade games and pinball machines just waiting to accompany your drunken shenanigans.
Not only that, but they have a constant rotation of 16 different craft beers on tap. So, you can enjoy excellently crafted beers while you get pissed off at the fact that you still can’t make it past the first level of TRON. Who can, though?
4. Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap – (North Side)
Like a little bit of surprise in your life? Well, every Tuesday Jake Melnick’s does a $4 Mystery Bottle Special where you’re left at the mercy of the bartender to choose a new craft beer for you to try. Sure, you may not like a beer you get every now and then, but you’ll definitely have to appreciate the overall effect of each beer. Not only that, but they pretty much have the best damn wings in Chicago, and that’s saying something.
5. Bar On Buena (Uptown)
Ever just walk into a place and know that they’re all about showing someone a good time? Well, of course every bar should be about that, but certain bars do it better than others. No, we’re not talking about a bar that serves no other purpose than to get you wasted.
Bar On Buena is one of those bars that’s all about the art of alcohol, and nothing proves that more than their amazing craft selection and beautiful decor. Not only that, but they put as much effort into their food as they do their alcohol. Yeah, this place is legit.
6. Quenchers Saloon (Logan Square)
Word on the street is that you can find over 400 unique craft beers in this spot any given year, and, after many nights of drunken debauchery, we can confirm that this is a fact. Lambics, Pilsners, Asian Beers… they have it all at Quenchers, and it’s a beautiful sight to take in. We’re not saying that they have the most ridiculous selection in Chicago, but it has to be pretty damn close.
7. The Norse Bar (Edgewater)
Want to drink like a viking? Well you can. Just take away the mead and veal and replace it with craft beer and Tuesday Trivia Nights instead. With over 50 crafts in constant rotation, this place is definitely stocked up.
Not only that, but some of the beers they have are also pretty rare, and you’d have a hard time finding them anywhere else. We recommend giving Spiteful Brewing’s “I Hate My Boss Stout” a try. It’s rich, full-bodied tones are perfect for a chilly autumn day.
8. Local Option (Lincoln Park)
Tired of stuck-up, yuppy bars? Yeah, we were too. The good news is that there’s an unpretentious bar where everyone can enjoy unique crafts! Sure, you may find a hipster or two while you’re there, but what can you do? Hell, if you’re a hipster, this may be the place for you!
With over 28 crafts on tap and 98 bottles in stock, this will be the perfect bar to discuss the newest band or video game while you knock back a few rare beers. Your preference in beers is up to you, but you’re going to feel comfortable in a place like this.
9. Howells & Hood (North Side)
Sometimes the overall effect of a bar is enough to blow you away, and this is one of those cases. To start with, they have 360 taps across 3 full bars in this bad boy. That’s more taps than you’ll see in about 30 average bars. Not only that, but they stay true to local brewing. Instead of just throwing one or two local drafts into the mix, they’ve taken the time to dedicate 20% of their taps to as many local breweries as possible. You have to appreciate a bar that takes the time to amass this crazy amount of beer. Oh, and the burgers are gorgeous.
10. Three Aces (University Village)
High-quality food meets high-quality crafts in this establishment, and the results are incredible. Not only will you find a plethora of bombers for your consumption, but you’ll also find everything from a top-notch Ribeye Steak to mouth-watering seafood that will blow you away.
With right around 60 unique beers, Three Aces just might become your ace in the hole when it comes to finding a new favorite craft beer.
11. Fountainhead (Ravenswood)
Gotta love rooftop drinking in Chicago, and Fountainhead goes above and beyond in taking your craft-drinking experience to a whole new level. You can chillax on the roof with a new craft beer during a nice night or just hang out inside and grab a high-quality meal. Their chef is very creative, and you’re sure to find a craft to match your meal among the 160+ options you have to choose from. If you can’t find a match here, you’ll have a hard time finding it anywhere.
12. The Bad Apple (North Center)
The name may be The Bad Apple, but this place is easily one of the best damn bars in Chicago when it comes to providing an interesting atmosphere and a ridiculous amount of craft beers. With right around 200 beers and an affordable selection of sandwiches and burgers, it’s no wonder why The Bad Apple has quickly become a local favorite.
Even if beers aren’t your thing, they have a plenty of unique ciders to try, too. One that recently caught our attention was a Pineapple Cider. Yes, it was as good as it sounds.
13. Fatpour Tap Works (Ukrainian Village)
Like sports? Like craft beer? Well, you’ve found your place. With the Sunday Ticket on lock and the NFL season upon us, this place is going to be packed with fans supporting all different teams; ready to cheer them to victory. Don’t worry, though. You won’t have to worry about there only being shitty domestics in this spot. You’ll find right around 150 unique beers to accompany your game. Even if your team loses, you’ll be able to drown your sorrows in something a little better than Miller Light.
Did we miss your favorite craft beer watering hole? Let us know in the comments below! We always love more beer!