David's Top Picks

My 'Top picks' are the outstanding beer places in Chicago at any given moment. Here you will normally find something exceptional or out of the ordinary - so a larger than average beer range; top quality service and a good ambience and/or surroundings. In short, these pubs will all be offering the best that can be found in the Chicago beer scene at the moment.

David lives in Chicago..

Note that we regularly update what constitutes a top pick so places can be relegated from the list if their beer range dips or there are other significant changes.


Bitter Pops A David top pick  WiFi available Children friendly Open 11am or earlier Dog friendly Has an unusual or regional beer on tap. Bring your own food Bottle shop Growler fills available

Bottle shop with a small pub built in. Very good selection. Dog and child friendly


Eclectic burritos with some of the best beer in Chicago. Super friendly staff who will guide you to the right beer. Bottle shop next door. Always worth the journey.


Marz Community Brewing A David top pick  David Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available Closed Monday Brewpub. Bottle shop Growler fills available

Brewpub with creative brews and a great space well worth the extra effort to visit. Lots and lots of creative beers with an emphasis on combining interesting ingredients. In the vicinity of White Sox Park in the Bridgeport neighborhood. Good light menu as well. In the process of opening a Bucktown location.


Honorable Mention

This are pubs that you should make an effort to visit if you have the time.

18th Street Brewery  David Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available Children friendly Brewpub. New entry in the Guide in 2020 Dog friendly Bottle shop

Just a short ride outside of Chicago in NW Indiana is 18th Street Brewery. Super talented brewers with a kitchen to match. Close to 50 breweries in Chicago proper but if you choose just outside the number almost triples. Next door is their distillery. I believe Sour Note Brewing, also in Hammond Indiana is related to 18 St. Make the trip, you'll not be disappointed. Can also combine with a stop at Three Floyds in Munster, Indiana. Fairly close by.


The Bad Apple  David Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available Children friendly Has an unusual or regional beer on tap.

Excellent sandwiches, burgers, salads with tasty vegan and veggie options. 25 taps which change with good consistency.


Brewpub from celebrity chef (Rick Bayless). great beer, great food


Half Acre Beer Co - Balmoral  David Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available Children friendly Closed Monday Brewpub. Dog friendly Bottle shop Growler fills available On the To Do List

Larger facility than Lincoln Avenue with extensive menu and great beer. Address is for the front of the building but entrance is around the back. Big outdoor garden for the summer months (dog friendly)and comfy child friendly inside for all year round(not dog friendly). Right around the corner from Spiteful. A favorite brewery of mine.


Hopleaf Bar  David Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available Has an unusual or regional beer on tap. Specializes in Belgian Beers Specializes in Czech/Slovak Beers Specializes in German Beer Specializes in Italian Beers

Before you could get a selection at most places Hopleaf was the place to go. Started off as one the best beer centric bars in Chicago way before the craft beer thing. Specializing in Belgian beer they then opened a Belgian restaurant which ultimately expanded to another open storefront. Good food, great beers. Belgian beers rule here. Do not bring the kids because they do not not allow them at anytime. Still as good as ever,,,,


Lo Rez Brewing  David Honorable Mention WiFi available Closed Monday Brewery tasting room, may have limited hours. Dog friendly Bring your own food Growler fills available

Taproom/Gallery/Event Space. Great beer no IPA's


Marz Community Brewing A David top pick  David Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available Closed Monday Brewpub. Bottle shop Growler fills available

Brewpub with creative brews and a great space well worth the extra effort to visit. Lots and lots of creative beers with an emphasis on combining interesting ingredients. In the vicinity of White Sox Park in the Bridgeport neighborhood. Good light menu as well. In the process of opening a Bucktown location.


Metropolitan Brewing  David Honorable Mention WiFi available Children friendly Dog friendly Bring your own food Specializes in German Beer Bottle shop Growler fills available

Taproom with really nice space, specializing in German style beers.


Pilot Project Brewing  David Honorable Mention WiFi available Children friendly Open 11am or earlier New entry in the Guide in 2019 Brewpub. Dog friendly Has an unusual or regional beer on tap. Bottle shop Growler fills available

Since Pilot Project has opened they have upped their game considerably. Great and unique brews, successfully have dealt with the pandemic so far, and retained a great staff. Support local beers and make sure Pilot Project is on your list. Can't make it? Find their brands in stores. Pilot Project, Brewer's Kitchen, Dutchbag Brew Co., Lunas Bay, plus collabs and more. From Pilot Project Brewing "Pilot Project Brewing is a brewery incubator and tasting room based in Logan Square, Chicago. With a bright, west coast, french industrial inspired tasting room to compliment a meticulously designed brewing space, our brewery fosters experimental, small-batch brews and acts as a collaborative brewing incubator to the beer industry. Stop by any day of the week for a brew, locally roasted coffee, and small bites."


Spiteful Brewing  David Honorable Mention WiFi available Children friendly Brewery tasting room, may have limited hours. Dog friendly Bring your own food Bottle shop Growler fills available

Taproom with great beers and around the corner from Half Acre. Always worth the trip. Not so sure how to find their tap list but I will.


Une Année / Hubbards Cave  David Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available Children friendly Closed Tuesday Brewpub. New entry in the Guide in 2020 Has an unusual or regional beer on tap. Specializes in Belgian Beers Bottle shop On the To Do List

Great Brewery, actually two in one. Une Année captures the essence of what Belgium beer is as good or better than anywhere I have been. Hubbard's Cave includes IPA's and Stouts to name but a couple. Always worth the journey and the journey from Chicago is about to get a bit shorter as the move to a new facility is imminent. This is the first brewery/taptroom included in this Chicago guide because it is worth the effort. In addition to the taproom there will now be barbecue centric food. Huge list of beers to go. Make the effort. You will be glad you did.