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Windy City Smokeout

Three Days in Chicago

Beer and Barbecue Crawl

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Inspired by Windy City Smokeout

It’s hard to think of two things that go together better than beer and barbecue. That’s why Windy City Smokeout — the country music festival that features some of the country’s best brewers and pitmasters — is a perfect way to celebrate summer in Chicago.

This itinerary is inspired by the amazing Chicago neighborhood spots you’ll find at this year’s Windy City Smokeout, plus a few extra surprises along the way. We hope you’re hungry, because this is your guide to the ultimate 72-hour barbecue and beer weekend in Chicago.

The ultimate Chicago barbecue and beer itinerary

Day 1: West Loop & River North

Day 1: West Loop & River North

Stop 1: Green Street Smoked Meats in West Loop

This not-so-hidden gem may be located down an alleyway, but the line of hungry customers will make it hard to miss. Once inside, you’ll find a warehouse-style space serving up house-smoked, Texas-inspired barbecue. Order at the counter, grab a beer from the bathtub (really), find a picnic table, and chow down. The sliced brisket is a popular choice, and don’t forget to load up on sides, like the elote-style corn.

Stop 2: Haymarket Brewing in West Loop

This long-time brewpub in the West Loop is known for their wide-ranging selection of house brews, with an emphasis on classic Belgian and contemporary American beer styles. The laidback space, a staple on Restaurant Row since 2010, serves everything from blood orange blondes and barrel-aged stouts to their own hard seltzers.

Keep exploring: Eat your way through the buzzing West Loop neighborhood.

Stop 3: Bub City in River North

Bub City is known for its country-Western theme, extensive barbecue menu, and being an all-around good time. The menu is barbecue-meets-comfort-food, so it’s impossible to go wrong. And make sure to check the events calendar for cool happenings like live band karaoke or the Sunday DJ brunch.

Keep exploring: Find nightlife, live jazz, dancing, and more in River North.

Try all these spots and more at Windy City Smokeout this year.

“My favorite thing about Chicago is the food. Such amazing restaurants, I’m excited to go back and eat my way through the city.”

Mackenzie Porter, Windy City Smokeout Saturday musician

Day 2: West Town, Edgewater, & Andersonville

Day 2: West Town, Edgewater, & Andersonville

Stop 1: Burnt City Brewing and Lillie’s Q in West Town

Start your day at District Brew Yards, a pour-your-own beer hall that features a rotating array of local brewers. One staple is Burnt City Brewing, known for experimenting with new ingredients and techniques. When you get hungry, head to the Lillie’s Q counter for a crowd-pleasing menu of smoked meats, fried chicken, and classic sides.

Stop 2: Goose Island in West Town

While Goose Island has become a major national brand, it all started with a craft brewery in Chicago. Their West Town facility is home to a popular tasting room that showcases Goose Island favorites. Take a brewery tour, then grab a spot at the bar to taste the beers for yourself. 

Keep exploring: Dive into the eclectic shops and restaurants in hip West Town.

Stop 3: Pearl’s Southern Comfort in Edgewater

Get a taste of New Orleans in Chicago’s lakefront Edgewater neighborhood. Pearl’s brings big bayou flavor in a funky, 100-year-old space. The barbecue is smoked low and slow for dishes like pulled pork on brioche and ribs with house-made sauce — all served with a big dose of Southern-style hospitality. 

Keep exploring: Shop for antiques, see a show, and walk the lakefront in Edgewater.

Stop 4: Spiteful Brewing in Andersonville

Started by two friends in their home kitchen, Spiteful Brewing now has a laid-back tap room near Andersonville. Their beers, sold exclusively in Illinois, run the gamut from hefeweizens to IPAs to fruit ales. We recommend getting a flight to maximize your choices.

Keep exploring: Find a hint of Swedish heritage and loads of charm in Andersonville.

“I love a good pulled pork sandwich. And you gotta pack the barbecue sauce on, that’s the only way to do it.”

Tiera Kennedy, Windy City Smokeout Friday musician 

Day 3: Pilsen, South Shore & Bronzeville

Day 3: Pilsen, South Shore & Bronzeville

Stop 1: Moody Tongue in South Loop

 The Dining Room at Moody Tongue, the world’s first two Michelin star brewery, is where you’ll find the award-winning tasting menu. But you can also hang out at The Bar, a casual space that serves Moody Tongue’s one-of-a-kind culinary brews like the Shaved Black Truffle Pilsner, Toasted Rice Lager, and Chocolate Churro Porter.

Keep exploring: Jazz clubs, street art, museums, and more fill the bustling South Loop.

Stop 2: Honky Tonk BBQ in Pilsen

Known for their real-wood roasted barbecue, Honky Tonk is a local favorite. This family-run operation serves their meats in the traditional Memphis style, with a salty sweet dry rub and house-made sauce on the side. Dishes, like the prime brisket and pork, are roasted for more than 14 hours for ultra-smoky perfection.

Keep exploring: Discover vibrant murals, family-owned taquerias, and more in Pilsen.

Stop 3: Honey 1 BBQ in Bronzeville

Staying true to the ways of Chicago-style barbecue, Honey 1 BBQ smokes their meats low and slow so they fall right off the bone. Follow the locals’ lead and order a pile of juicy rib tips slathered in their signature “tangy and sassy” sauce. Other favorite items include the meltingly tender pulled pork and juicy hot links.

Keep exploring: Spend the afternoon immersed in culture and history in Bronzeville.

 

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