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Windy City Smokeout

Chicago neighborhood

Beer and Barbecue Crawl


Inspired by Windy City Smokeout

It’s hard to think of two things that go together better than beer and barbecue. That’s why we love Windy City Smokeout, the annual music festival that brings some of the country’s best brewers and pitmasters to Chicago — not to mention an incredible lineup of country music artists. 

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 ultimate guide to the Chicago neighborhoods where you can find some of the city’s best beer, barbecue, and country music.

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Chicago neighborhoods for barbecue and beer

<h3 class="section-title">Edgewater & Andersonville</h3>

Edgewater & Andersonville

Pearl’s Southern Comfort

Get a taste of New Orleans in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. Pearl’s Southern Comfort brings bayou flavors with craft beer and cocktails 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 dose of Southern-style hospitality. 

Spiteful Brewing

Started by two friends in their home kitchen, Spiteful Brewing is now a laid back, industrial taproom near the Andersonville neighborhood. Their beers, sold exclusively in Illinois, run the gamut from hefeweizens to IPAs to fruit ales. Get a flight to maximize your choices.

Carol’s Pub

Carol’s Pub is one of Chicago’s most legendary country institutions. Situated between the Ravenswood and Uptown neighborhoods, this beloved honky tonk first opened its doors in 1972. You’ll find something on the calendar almost every night of the week, with a heavy emphasis on country-western music and line dancing.

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

<h3 class="section-title">Irving Park & Avondale</h3>

Irving Park & Avondale

Smoque BBQ

Low and slow is the name of the game at Smoque BBQ in Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood. A Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient, Smoque has been a local staple for the past 17 years. Their food is all about the details, like their house-made sauces and rubs. Choose from classic options or creative specials like barbecue gumbo or brisket tacos.

Soul & Smoke

Located in the Rockwell on the River complex, award-winning Soul & Smoke brings a meticulous approach to barbecue that pays off big when it comes to flavor. Run by a classically trained chef, the spot has become a local favorite for its outstanding food and community-minded ethos.  

Metropolitan Brewing

Also in the same waterfront building as Soul & Smoke, Metropolitan Brewery is a craft microbrewery that specializes in German-style lagers, with a laser focus on drinkability. Their space features floor-to-ceiling windows and a spacious riverfront patio that’s open in the summer.

After, head next door to Judson & Moore, a family-run distillery where you’ll find whisky made with local ingredients and plenty of live music acts, including country, roots, Americana, and more.

<h3 class="section-title">Pilsen & South Loop</h3>

Pilsen & South Loop

Moody Tongue

You can’t do a craft beer tour of Chicago without including the world’s first two Michelin star brewery. The Dining Room at Moody Tongue is where you’ll find the award-winning tasting menu, but you can also hang out at The Bar. This more casual space serves incredible food, plus Moody Tongue’s one-of-a-kind culinary brews like the Shaved Black Truffle Pilsner and Chocolate Churro Porter.

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

Honky Tonk BBQ

Known for real-wood roasted barbecue, Honky Tonk BBQ is a local favorite in the Pilsen neighborhood. This family-run operation focuses on traditional Memphis style, with a salty-sweet dry rub and house-made sauce on the side. Meats are roasted for more than 14 hours over a wood-burning fire pit for ultra-smoky perfection. You’ll also find a full live music calendar, with a new act almost every night of the week.

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

<h3 class="section-title">West Town & West Loop</h3>

West Town & West Loop

Green Street Smoked Meats

Green Street Smoked Meats is 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.

Haymarket Brewing

This long-time brewpub in the West Loop is known for its wide-ranging selection of house brews, with an emphasis on classic Belgian and contemporary American beer styles. Haymarket Brewing has been a staple on Restaurant Row since 2010, crafting 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.

District Brew Yards & Lillie’s Q

In West Town, beer lovers can’t miss District Brew Yards, a pour-your-own beer hall with 40 taps that feature a rotating array of local brewers. One regular staple is Burnt City Brewing, known for experimenting with new ingredients and brewing techniques. When you get hungry, head to the Lillie’s Q counter for crowd-pleasing menu of smoked meats, fried chicken, and classic sides.

Goose Island

While Goose Island has become a national name, it all started with their original craft brewery in Chicago. Their production facility on Fulton Street is home to a popular tasting room with 16 tap lines that showcase Goose Island favorites and seasonal options. 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.

<h3 class="section-title">River North</h3>

River North

Bub City

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 country music, live band karaoke or the Sunday DJ brunch.

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

Crushed by Giants

This independent brewery in River North is the only place you can sample Crushed by Giants beer — and it’s well worth a stop. Helmed by veterans of Chicago’s craft brew scene, this taproom and restaurant features an industrial vibe, floor to ceiling windows, and downtown views.

The Northman Beer and Cider Garden

Finish the day with locally made hard cider on the waterfront. This alfresco patio on the Chicago Riverwalk has a drink menu filled with local beers, along with The Northman’s housemade ciders. Try traditional, rose, and hopped variations while watching the boats drift by on the river.

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