5148 N Clark St
Chicago, IL

Thank you for reading the most pointless review I have ever written.  Why?  Well Hopleaf probably has as many reviews written about it as every other bar in Chicago combined.  Overall, Hopleaf earns mark, but like any establishment it does have short falls.  I have criticisms of the place, but I want to be clear; this is one of my favorite destinations in Chicago.


The Good:

Hopleaf has a beer list that is pretty unbeaten.  With over 300 beers Hopleaf usually has what you’re looking for.  I often thought that if Hopleaf did hot have a beer then it could not be bought in Chicago.  I have since learned that other bars occasionally get exclusive beers, but rare Belgians and Lambics found a home.  Beer prices are fair, but the tab can quickly add up.  This is expected for beers of the caliber flowing from the taps.  Hopleaf has also been known to squirrel away stockpiles of select beers which allows you to find a beer months or maybe years after it has disappeared off the market.  The menu almost always has descriptions of the beer along with brewery, ABV and sometimes IBUs.

Hopleaf’s food is well done.  The mussels and frites are must tries.  I cannot tell you the number of people who get hooked on mussels once they try Hopleaf’s.  Word to the wise-if you are a picky eater check the menu online ahead of time, as their menu is a bit adventurous.

The Downside:

Hopleaf’s many awards and publicity created an often crowded bar and restaurant.  The crowds and apparently low tipping customers have jaded the staff.  I once ordered a Geuze and was told I was not allowed the beer.  Apparently the bartender had so many people complain about the sourness of the beer her default was to refuse service.  After I assured her I knew what I was getting myself into I enjoyed the delicious brew.  However, that experience from three years ago sticks with me.  My mother taught me to always reply to a “How do you do” with a “how do you do” of your own.  This often catches the staff off guard when someone asks.  Hopleaf keeps touting a planned expansion to roughly double in size that may help alleviate the crowding, but I have yet to see any progress.

A Tossup:

Although Hopleaf has a full restaurant it has a zero tolerance policy for anyone under 21 years old.  That means do not bring your kids, your babies or your cousin who is in love with Belgian food.  I consider this is a tossup because if you have kids you need a sitter, and some of us would rather not hear kids while eating.  This is Hopleaf’s policy and their prerogative.



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  1. MASGLBC says:

    Only place I have ever seen a kwak glass. I do not live in Chicago but from the two visits there I think they have a great beer selection.

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