Four more brewpubs to belly up to
Piece If it looks like a bar, smells like a bar and sounds like a bar, then…you do the math. But two things keep this place from going the route of sports-bar-beer-bong culture: excellent house brews and expertly executed pizzas. The crispy pies hold a lot of weight, so after you choose your pizza style, start piling on the goat cheese, spinach, meatballs, anchovies and, if you’re really going New Haven–style, clams or mashed potatoes. Wash it down with a pitcher of the crisp Golden Arm, and you’ll never disparagingly say “pizza and beer joint” again. 1927 W North Ave (773-772-4422). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Lunch, dinner. Average pizza: $13.50.
Goose Island Brew Pub Watching beer ferment in tanks is about as exciting as C-SPAN, so we’re pretty sure it’s brewmaster Greg Hall’s concoctions like Matilda and Sofie beers that bring in the crowds. Recently, Goose flipped its reputation from a great bar that serves food to a dining destination with excellent beer, but with a new brewer (Jared Rouben) in the house, it’s a toss-up which part’s more exciting. 1800 N Clybourn Ave (312-915-0071). El: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Armitage; Red to North/Clybourn. Bus: 8, 72, 73. Sun–Thu 11am–midnight; Fri, Sat 11am–2am. Average beer: $5.
Rock Bottom Brewery Just a drunken stumble from the Grand Red Line station, this sporty brewpub offers six house-brewed beers to sip while watching your team on more than a dozen TVs. Perhaps jealous of its new, fancier sibling RB Grille, the Brewery recently underwent renovations, replacing tube TVs and pool tables with flat-screens and a live-music stage. Brewer Pete Crowley will be leaving Rock Bottom May 1 to open Haymarket Pub & Brewery in the West Loop, so get in for a pint or three before he passes the torch. 1 W Grand Ave (312-755-9339). El: Red to Grand. Bus: 22, 29, 36, 65. 11am–2am. Average beer: $5.
Mary’s Rec Room Wall-to-wall male patrons, sports on every TV, nearly a dozen beers on tap…the new pub from the Hamburger Mary’s team looks like any other jocktacular sports bar. But beer geeks will quickly recognize that this is a place that takes its brews seriously. Not only is the beer list extensive, but the bar has made-in-house brews of its own: Four are on tap, and a few more experimental ones are bottle-conditioned. 5402 N Clark St (773-784-6969). El: Red to Berwyn. Bus: 22, 50, 92. Mon, Tue 5pm–midnight; Wed–Fri 5pm–2am; Sat 10:30am–3am; Sun 10:30am–midnight. Average beer: $4.