LINCOLN PARK — There's only one spot if you're trying to bowl a few lanes while knocking back a Chicago-brewed beer.
That's Burnt City Brewing, 2747 N. Lincoln Ave., which boasts eight lanes for customers alongside craft brews and a full menu. The lanes are at their most popular when the weather gets warmer in the spring and summer — and they're a hit among other brewers, who compete in a Chicago brewers league.
The alley has proven to be a "very neat little niche" for Burnt City, brewery co-founder Steve Soble said.
"You can either bowl or go into the pub and have one of our freshly made beers," Soble said.
The bowling alley was next to the brewpub when it opened up under the name Atlas Brewing, but the brewery changed its name to Burnt City in 2016 and connected the pub and the alleys.
And, yes, you can eat and drink while bowling.
Burnt City has a lineup of brews and a menu complete with tater tot nachos (dubbed "totchos"), in-house smoked meats, pizza and a chicken schnitzel and brie sandwich.
The brewery's beer lineup features the Face Melter, Dick the Butcher, the Radler, Freight Handler and the Balloon Boy. The beers aren't just drinks, though — they're characters who are part of the story of Burnt City.
The Face Melter, Radler and the others live in Burnt City, a "post-apocalyptic, Chicago wasteland," said head brewer John Saller. The brewery's stories also feature historical figures like Daniel Burnham and Cyrus McCormick.
But in Burnt City, Burnham isn't just the architect who helped shape Chicago — he's a "mysterious, grave-robbing young man," Saller said. And McCormick, father of the city's famous McCormick family, hires the gas-mask-wearing, flamethrower-toting Face Melter as an investigator.
"We have sort of this pseudo-historical re-imagining of post-fire Chicago, and the various beers that we have are characters that live in it," Saller said.
Burnt City scrapped a planned graphic novel that would feature the characters, but Saller said a story could still make an appearance in the future.