Chicago and its suburbs have no shortage of exceptional breweries. And as one of only three cities in the country to be rated by the Michelin Guide, the food here is pretty good, too. But there are a few area establishments that have managed to pair barley and bites in the best way possible. Here are some of our favorite one-stop-shops for beer and grub in Chicago.
Cleetus Friedman closed City Provisions, his locally focused delicatessen and shop, earlier this year, but he wasn't absent from the food scene for long. He wound up at another Ravenswood favorite - The Fountainhead. Now executive chef of the beer-focused restaurant, Friedman has spruced up the brunch menu with dishes such as homemade bagels and chilaquiles. Pair his food with local beers from Naperville's Solemn Oath or Chicago's Begyle Brewing, and stay tuned for beers that Friedman has made with local breweries.
This Andersonville gem expanded last summer, significantly reducing the wait for a table or bar seat. Take advantage of renovation and dig into a pot of mussels steamed in beer, the sausage plate, or the cult-favorite CB&J sandwich, made with cashew butter, fig jam, and raclette cheese. Hopleaf's beer list includes extensive draft offerings and more than 250 bottled beers. Look for brews from Dark Horse in Michigan and Chicago's Five Rabbit.
Pleasant House Bakery and Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar (964 W 31st St. & 960 W 31st St.)
Pleasant House Bakery is a tiny British-inspired spot in Bridgeport that serves royal pies, which are flaky, buttery pies filled with savory ingredients like mushroom and kale or steak and ale. Grab one, plus an order of the deluxe gravy chips (fried spuds topped with shreds of skirt steak, cheddar cheese, and gravy), and head right next door to Maria's. Maria's has 18 tap handles that dispense beers from Indiana's Three Floyds, Chicago's Half Acre, and others.
My favorite time to go to the Publican is for a very late lunch, when the bar opens at 3:30 p.m. Grab a spot at the bar and dig into spicy pork rinds, egg-topped frites, and a mix of East and West coast oysters. The beer list has a strong selection of Belgians as well as Two Brothers, Founders, and other Midwest beers.
The Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village bar is home to my favorite snack in Chicago-smoked farmers cheese and tomato jam slathered on grilled bread. It's an ideal size for one person when you need something to soak up the Ale Syndicate or Metropolitan beers, but if you're with a group, cover the table with plates of chicken liver mousse with red onion marmalade, colossal pork sausage-enveloped Scotch eggs, and beer-fried cheese curds.
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