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Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Active Beers: 379
Beer Ratings: 1,912
Beer Avg: 3.77
Taps: 12 / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
1 W Grand Ave
phone: (312) 755-9339
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Atmosphere - We stopped in for a bite to eat and to grab a couple drinks after the long drive up to Chicago from Baton Rouge, somewhere around 9pm on a Wednesday night. We sat in the bar area, and there were Cubs and White Sox games on the televisions along the wall. The bar area has a bricks, wood, tables, and booths look and feel to it. The crowd was younger and trendier than I remembered from the last time I had come here, but that wasn't a bad thing. The place was full without being packed, and different groups of people were coming in and out the entire time we were there.
Quality - We each had two beers, and they were all pretty good and served in appropriate glassware. Two of our beers, the Eric the Red and the Dublin Irish Stout, seemed to have slightly less carbonation than I would have expected, but the flavor wasn't off so it could have just been the after effects of driving for 15 hours.
Service - The place was busy, but our server was a little slow refilling drinks and taking new drink orders. He also failed to explain that the beer menu on the table is not what is available at all times, since Rock Bottom rotates certain beers among certain styles during the year but the menu does not change to reflect this. This wasn't too much of a problem to figure out, but I'd rather hear it from the server than be left to figure it out on my own after a beer that is different from what I ordered is brought to the table.
Selection - There are six basic choices on tap to choose from, with one or two extra offerings on top of that depending on the time of year. Some of the styles rotate seasonally, so you'll see the same style on the menu but it might be a different beer that you're ordering.
Food - The food was okay, better than the average bar room food but pretty average compared to a decent restaurant. We had the hickory burger which was severely lacking in barbeque sauce and the bourbonzola burger which was pretty good, and a couple appetizers to go along with it. We stayed away from the pizza, at the suggestion of the server.
Value - It was slightly more expensive than similar dining experiences in the area, but it was still affordable and worth the prices. The beer was cheaper than the food. I'd probably pick something else if I had the option, but it's definitely not a painful experience to eat or drink here.
09-18-2008 18:13:24 |
More by kensuthe
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
Ahhh...home of the $6 pint, but I am going to assume that's normal for Chi-town.
Under construction all around this place and even the facade of the building was getting a serious upgrade. A less determined visitor may have passed up this place after seeing the intersection of Grand Ave. and State St., but after going to my colleagues' choice for dinner the night before on a recent business trip, there was no way I was going to skip this place, only a few blocks from the Embassy Suites Lakefront.
Got all the regulars and seasonals in a sampler, for 6 or 7 bucks. Nine of them total. Not bad I thought, to go along with dinner. Dinner fare was acceptable and all in our party were happy with our meals. Server was not too beer savvy but didn't mind sharing what she did know. "Construction Ale" which IIRC was just the Blonde renamed for the current events, was on special for $3 a pint. After my sampler I got a pint of the Erik the Red, which I thought was a fine Irish Red Ale, and then another pint of the Stout over at the bar. That too was pretty good.
Bar area had loud music and some pretty drunk morons for a random Tuesday night. Let's put our ties on our head like Rambo and dance to some fucked up top-40 bullshit song. Oh yeah...and these are two guys who I think were actually trying to impress girls...
Anyway...I guess I am too old to understand that kind of behavior. I would not head to this bar for a relaxing pint with my buds and to chat up the bartender, but it's nice to drink a good beer or two.
I'd go back for dinner, since the bar and dining room are totally separate. Having to go upstairs and through a maze to use the pisser is a bit of a drag.
08-14-2008 00:15:48 |
More by ZimZamZoom
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
I've been to a couple Rock Bottom Brewpubs. I am never thrilled to go to one but I always like my visit. As this Rock Bottom was literally two blocks from our hotel we stopped here for dinner.
At 8pm on a Saturday night it was loud and busy. We found a seat near the bar in moments and had great service throughout even though it was busy.
The first thing that jumped off the food menu was the large pretzels for an appetizer and beef tips for dinner. I don't even recall what else was on the menu. I was hungry and those sounded good. My better half got steak and she liked it. The food was very good. As expected.
For beer, we tried the seasonal IPA (tasty... hoppy, not too bitter), Stout (robust roasted flavors), Unfiltered Pale Ale (decent) and a Barleywine which I really liked. If wasn't so tired (I had drove straight from Omaha) I would have had a couple of these.
I didn't really checkout the building; the dinner area seemed to be separate from the bar. The bar area was dark, lots of wood and their beer signs. Lots of tables and booths, plenty of seating... it looked like a fairly big place. There was even seating upstairs (but that was closed on our visit). The bathrooms were upstairs as well. The TVs had a Cubs rerun on plus some random-ass "X Games" type thing. That was really my only complaint, put on some live sports!!
Our waitress, Jen, was awesome... attentive and knowledgeable about their beer.
Rock Bottom, during our visit, was the right place at the right time. Good food and good beer... yes, it was loud and busy but it was downtown Chicago on a Saturday. What else should I have expected?
Worth a visit.
08-07-2008 16:36:14 |
More by bditty187
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Okay, yes, it's a chain. And the menu might be similar to what's elsewhere. But this is as good as it gets, and it is certainly the best restaurant/brewpub in downtown Chicago. There's a decent selection of food, although a lunch menu would be a nice addition, for all tastes. I enjoy the fish (salmon) and chips, as well as the meatloaf. And the desserts are even better. As for beer, there always seem to be several varieties besides the six standbyes. The Brown Bear brown is always reliable, always wonderful. Last week was the Fire Engine Red, which is rich and tasty. The Belgian was absolutely out of this world; any extra ABV was not overpowering at all. Only two piddling complaints: the bourbon barrel porter had run out hours before I arrived, and it's always a highlight of my visits to Chicago in the spring. And the musak tends to be loud, but the waiter graciously turned it down a bit with no quibble. I've always found the service to be reliable, generous with the samplers, knowledgeable, and more friendly than an Iowa yokel has a right to expect. Which is why this is my main eatery during business trips. It's great.
04-25-2008 18:46:01 |
More by DreamFielder
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Been coming here about once a month for the past two years. Think of it as a Chillis with excellent beer. The menu is normal restaurant chain food and nothing special and the quality has dropped slightly over the last two years. What is special is the beer. They have the normal Rock Bottom Brewery beers but it's their specials that keep me coming back. I had a Kolsch which was good. I then had an IPA which I didn't like so much but that may be me. I finished with the barrel aged raspberry stout which was superb. Finally service was top notch as always.
04-14-2008 01:25:47 |
More by AllSeeingPie
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Big place. The bar area is large with many tables and bar seating. Around the bar is a large area with pool tables and more seating. A waitress came to us after about 5-10 minutes (it was busy) and took our order. The beer came quickly and I pair 5.50 for a goblet of Rye.P.A that was quite good. The food menu was not very vegetarian friendly so I passed on eating. The bar got a little loud and was packed with the chicago yuppie scene, so I had a repeat on the beer and hit the road. Very nice place, staff was friendly, not really the crowd I like but that doesn,t mean anything, no-one was rude or offensive. I'd go back if I was in the area but I would rather hit piece or G.I
03-28-2008 17:43:42 |
More by jf60657
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Nice and open brewpub typical of the style for this chain, plenty of seating and TVs abound. The overall atmosphere and quality were acceptable but lacing in uniqueness.
Service was very good, our waiter was very attentive and expedient with drink and food orders. Bonus points for running after us in the street to get me my left-behind beer journal!
Impressive selection of beers. In addition to a standard RB lineup, this location had ~7 specialty beers including a belgian wit, barleywine, smoked porter, and dry-hopped oatmeal stout. There is something here for any beer geek, this Chicago location had the best specialty beers of any RB location I have frequented
Food also was good and indicative of the chain. We split a series of appetizers for dinner (chicken nachos, spinach dip, pepperoni pizza) all which satisfied our tastebuds and hunger.
Even if you've been to a RB before, I would recommend a trip to the Chicago location to try their unique specialty beers
03-09-2008 21:26:22 |
More by Stoneman78
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Definitely a fun place to go...conversationally challenged. Always crowded, but a good crowd. Pool hall/bar area an upscale version of the cookie cutter brewpubs.
This place is BIG! Polite service suffers slightly due to elbow-to-elbow crowds stretching the staff. Adjacent restaurant serves good food and a wide selection.
I've been here several times, but the memory that really lingers is an AMAZING seasonal "Belgian Dark" that I had. I wish I could remember more details, other than this thing was double-digit ABV which essentially erased many of my memories from that night. It sure was easy-drinking and sessionable that evening!
Overall a fun meeting place.
02-09-2008 03:18:30 |
More by larsee01
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I was in chicago on business ran in to grap a pint and glass for the collection.
This link in the chain occupies a downtown spot, about 5,000 restaurants within 20 feet, very busy area, the good thing is with so many spots this is not too crowded.
They had good beers on tap, like most rock bottoms the standard 5 or 6 plus some brewer specials.
I enjoyed the beer I ordered.
Good service. the people were very friendly mostly only ran in to grab a pint of beer and a collector glass.
I did not sample the food. Well worth a stop!
01-01-2008 23:46:57 |
More by Hollenbeck2
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Stopped here tonight for the purpose of trying some barrel-aged offerings, which there will be a series of 8 released starting Nov. 2007. A dry-hopped stout, winter warmer, and oatmeal stout were all pouring. These aren't available in growlers, so we decided to stop in for a beer. Had a new barrel-aged oatmeal stout ($6), and took home a growler of the 12th anniversary IPA ($8.75).
Service and atmosphere are much better at the bar than in the restaurant. If you're visiting from out of town and write the place off after one visit, you're missing out. The seasonals and one-offs are impressive and consistently good.
The atmosphere is better than a TGI Friday's but not by much. Lots of staff dashing about, herding busloads of tourists and after-work groups. Daytime is a better atmosphere, more relaxed anyway. During the summer months, the rooftop garden is a nice option with a limited menu. The brew kettles are prominent right up front, on the left when you walk in. Bar is generally louder and slightly smoky, again daytime is not so bad.
The beers i've tried on various visits have all been fresh and of high-quality. Erik the Red, BA Coffee Porter last year, Saison, Hefe...all good. Usually a great seasonal offering.
Food is alright, not my favorite. Some tex-mex, bbq, southern salads, pizza, all things to all (American) people. Quality wise it's passable. Check it out if you're staying downtown, the beer is way above average for this chain.
11-07-2007 03:29:08 |
More by emerge077
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in Chicago, IL