CHICAGO — Raise your glasses, Chicago.
Five local pubs were included in Draft magazine's list of the country's best beer bars.
"Having well-cared for, thoughtfully selected beer with an eye toward variety, trends and tradition, in the kind of place you’d want to stay awhile, delivered by someone who knows their stuff," said the magazine, which has made a best beer bars list for the last six years. "We don’t want to send you to a place where the server doesn’t look up from her texting when you ask questions, or where you’ll be told a saison 'is basically a lager.'"
Hopleaf, located on the border of Uptown and Andersonville and celebrating 21 years in 2014, has long been one of local beer aficionados' go-to joints for its long list of brews, cozy atmosphere and creative menu.
Local Option — "a beardy bar in a non-beardy neighborhood" serves up a Creole-inspired menu alongside its 30 draft beers and more than 100 bottled beers.
A beer Mecca since 1992, The Map Room, 1949 N. Hoyne St., takes its brew seriously, offering more than 200 beers - as well as a regular beer school for drinkers who want to know a bit more about the pint in their hand.
Located just west of Ashland Avenue on Division Street, Bangers & Lace has more than 30 beers on tap, and its stylish tin ceilings and exposed brick are as swanky as its foie gras corn dog.
Fountainhead gets points for atmosphere — dark wood and a cozy fireplace, rooftop garden in the summer — but its the extensive beer menu that really sets the place apart. As thick as a magazine, the listings are full of exotic brews sure to pique the interest of even the most jaded aficionado. Chef Cleetus Friedman frequently taps his own brews and Fountainhead has become a hub for special events like 2013's Sumerian beer dinner.
Contributing: Alisa Hauser and Patty Wetli