This content was originally published by The Hop Review, a digital magazine that joined the Hop Culture family in March 2020.
This piece was written by Tom White.
Trip number seven in our beer-logged tour of Chicago brought us to many a Chicagoan’s favorite, Lincoln Avenue. The road itself pushes 13 miles through the city’s northwest side, so we wisely chose to break the tour into a Part 1 and a Part 2. And since the thoroughfare’s CTA #11 bus no longer exists, we suggest walking or biking this first section of the ave., that fittingly rolls through the Lincoln Park neighborhood into Lakeview. So, head to LP and tackle The Hop Review’s Chicago Craft Crawl v. VII…
As just one of many things in Chicago named after the 16th President, the avenue is one of those namesake entities that leaves a major stamp on the city. Sprawling northwest from Lincoln Park, seemingly out of Wells and Clark Streets, the road spans an impressive 13 miles through the North Side. The avenue–once an Indian trail dubbed Little Fort Road–intersects the L’s Brown Line several times and cuts through roughly seven Chicago neighborhoods before dropping off into the suburbs.
For Part 1 of our Lincoln Ave. tour, we focus on a wealthy stretch of drinking options that lie within Lincoln Park and Lakeview. From our first stops near Old Town and the DePaul communities, to our northwestern jaunt towards the beginning of Lakeview, the avenue offers plenty of options and much in the way of variety from dives to brewpubs to cocktail lounges.
We admit we weren’t expecting much from Hook & Ladder, considering the caliber of bars surrounding it on this college-student-trodden stretch of Lincoln. While we’d recommend skipping anywhere on this block on a weekend night, you just can’t beat $2.50 quality draft beers. The bar itself is big, beautiful & stocked with TVs–and service was on point. If you’re looking for a spot to watch an NFL game on Sunday alongside your go-to craft beer, definitely give this place a shot. You’ll be as surprised as we were.
Our choice for the game: Founder’s Porter
2270 N. Lincoln Ave. – Lincoln Park
2. RED LION PUB
Not be confused with the stalwart Lincoln Square pub of the same name, Lincoln Ave.’s Red Lion Pub is an easy choice for our crawl. Reopening in 2014 after a long hiatus, the Red Lion brings a beautifully sophisticated take on the classic British establishment. Complete with book laden walls and comfy couches, it also makes for the perfect crawl lunch stop. Pair the classic pub fare with any of the 14 British beers on tap.
Our choice in front of the fire: Pub Ale from Boddington’s Brewery
2446 N. Lincoln Ave. – Lincoln Park
Atlas Brewing has been on our radar since their early days but they’ve really stepped up their game of late. Adorned with beer paraphernalia of old and butting up to the awesome Seven Ten Lounge bowling bar, the brewery makes for an easy place to sink some craft crawl time into. Now featuring a solid canned lineup available across the city, the brewpub is the place to sample the distributed goods along with the many other one-off brews on the menu. It’s hard to pick just one so be sure to build your own flight with 5 ounce pours of the dozen or so beers on tap.
Our choice at the brewery: A flight or the Diversey Pale Ale
2747 N. Lincoln Ave., 60614 – Lincoln Park
Delilah’s is dark, dank, and full of whiskey. That definitely shouldn’t dissuade you from stopping in for a beer, however, as the beer lineup is as good as any in the area. At this point in the crawl we might recommend a cheap beer and a shot, though we’ve certainly had many a “I’ve never heard of this before” beers at Delilah’s over the years. You’re sure to have a similar experience when you visit.
Our choice at the bar: Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout from Anderson Valley Brewing Company.
2771 N. Lincoln Ave., 60614 – Lincoln Park
Chicago’s first and only “beer cafe” is a somewhat surprisingly not-mentioned-enough joint. Beermiscuous operates as a tasting room with plenty of cozy cafe seating, as well as a takeaway bottle shop. They offer the city’s widest selection of homegrown breweries, and that alone is reason to drop in. With certified Cicerones manning the bar, they know their stuff.
You’re sampling: Coffee Navette Belgian Ale from Penrose Brewing.
2812 N. Lincoln Ave. – Lakeview
6. J.P. Burke’s
J.P. Burke’s is a spot we sadly overlooked for years, maybe given it’s location on a rather dry stretch of the ave. Not only do they have a great pub menu and a quintessential neighborhood patio, Burke’s also sports one of the best bottle lists in the area. Seriously. You will see stuff on here you didn’t know existed from an eclectic range of breweries from Chicagoland, the Midwest and beyond. This spot is an ideal weeknight hangout or weekend watering hole to catch the game.
Our choice on the patio: The Charlatan from Maplewood.
2913 N Lincoln Ave. – Lakeview
Other stops to consider:
Photography by Jack Muldowney