Watch CBS News

Best Bars For Craft Beer Aficionados In Chicago

Wine and cheese flights? Puh-lease. Craft beer, be it in flight or floating in a frosty glass, is the way to lift off in this town. In addition to our own impressive Midwestern brews (i.e. Three Floyds' Zombie Dust and Dreadnaught, Slalom King right out of the new Crystal Lake (IL) Brewing and Milwaukee Brewing Company's weird-sounding but wonderful tea-infused Hop Freak and Ogii), you can sample brews from around the nation in these spots with killer craft beer lists.
(Photo Credit: Fischman Liquors & Tavern's Facebook)

Fischman Liquors and Tavern
4780 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60630
(773) 545-0123

Don't you just hate places that try so hard to "look" like old-school, working class Chicago, yet they're owned by suited marketeers? Of course you do, that's why you'll feel a certain kinship with the real thing - Fischman Liquors and Tavern - in the very authentic Jefferson Park neighborhood that has been pulling the handle on great craft beer long before it was trendy. Beer aficionados, food trucks and bands all gravitate to the place called "Chicago's Craft Beer Emporium." An added bonus is that all craft beers are available to purchase at the attached liquor store.

Fountainhead Chicago
1970 W. Montrose Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 697-8204

Fountainhead may be as comfortable as your favorite slippers and when you begin to peruse the north side bar and eatery's comprehensive roster of craft beers, you'll want to hunker down here. With a focus on local and regional craft breweries (and distilleries), Fountainhead also rocks a fantastic food menu created by Chef Cleetus Friedman. Options are designed to complement the stellar craft beer selection as well as wine, whiskey and spirits. How do you choose among nearly 200 beers (and hundreds of whiskeys)? The knowing staff will put you on the right crafty path.

Beer House
322 Yorktown Center
Lombard, IL 60148
(630 268-1111

The name is to the point and the suds list includes over 60 on tap and hundreds in bottles. The venue spotlights a different brewery every month with its various brews at $5 a pint. There are a bevy of television screens if sports are your thing, a beer garden, live music, free WiFi and, if you must, wine on tap too. When you zero in on some craft beers you especially like, know that Beer House offers mix-and-match six-packs to go.

Related: Best BYOB Restaurants In The Chicago Area

Franklin Tap
325 South Franklin
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 212-3262

With Franklin Tap's 80 choices of constantly rotating drafts and a long list of bottles and cans, its roster has to be updated fairly often. It surely owns the title of the best craft beer tavern in the Loop. The welcoming taproom hosts a calendar of beer-centric events on an ongoing basis. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, take $2 off craft brews on draft. On Wednesdays, try a craft can for just $4. Why not sample "Pale Frank," a custom brew made for Franklin Tap by Two Brothers Brewing?

Timothy O'Toole's Pub
622 N. Fairbanks Court
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 642-0700

O'Toole's now has 48 brews on tap - see the draft brew list right here as well as bottled beers and the specialty Guinness Black list. The friendly spot, tucked away on Fairbanks Court in Streeterville, plays host to a variety of craft beer events throughout the year from exclusive tappings and tastings to brewer meet-and-greets and beer "101" classes for those who are hoppily inclined. There are two suburban outposts in Gurnee and Libertyville, too.

Related: Best Craft Beer Bars In Chicago

Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.