Log in or Sign up
Taps: 5 / Bottles: 30
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
2900 W Belmont Ave
phone: (773) 604-8769
(Place added by: gwtucker on 12-18-2005)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 42 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
As soon as I stepped foot into Kuma's, I felt like I had found my Mecca. After hearing numerous things about them through various friends, both beer bretheren and metalheads alike, I decided that this would be the number one place I NEEDED to visit during my brief stay in Chicago. I arrived a little after 12:30, and was met with the aroma of beef being grilled and the sounds of The Four Horsemen from Metallica. The wait was 45 minutes, but the Gumballhead on tap made that a lot more easy to deal with.
The service has been derided on here quite a bit, but my experience could not have been any better. Our bartender was prompt and well-informed, and our server could not have been nicer. She was fun and easy going and made me and my friend feel welcome.
The decor was awesome! S&M drawings on one wall, limited edition tee shirts on the other, with lithographs and drawings of bears throughout (KUma is Japanese for bear, evidently). I was excited not only because of the theme, but the aromas and sights of what was coming out of the kitchen, as well.
The menu was great, with the aforementioned metal named burgers being the centerpiece. I was torn between the Pantera, Iron Maiden and Slayer. I chose the Slayer and was informed by my server it was a great choice. Boy was she ever right! It ruled. Making the experience even better, Fucking Hostile by Pantera came on literally as my food was placed on my table. If ever there were a song to motivate you to tackle a five pound plate of meat and anger, that song is it! I only got about 3/4 of the monster on my plate eaten and my server was good naturedly ribbing me for it. It paired wonderfully with the Gumballhead to counteract the heat from the peppers and andoiulle sausage. By far one of my culinary highlights of the past year.
The tap list was limited, but stocked with great selections from Three Floyds, Stone, Dogfish and Victory. They also had a bottle list, but I must admit that I didn't really take too much of a look at it. For how small this place is, they do a great job at the selection of beer. They also have a few whiskeys on tap if that is your thing.
Overall, Kuma's is my new number one in terms of places to grab a burger, listen to some harmonic aggression and soak in some scenery. I wish I lived in Chicago just so I could hang out here more often. Love this place!!!
04-16-2010 19:24:58 |
More by Rockatansky
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Reviewed on 12/28/09, from notes.
Kuma's is a small, dark, always crowded metal/beer/burger bar. You usually get a pretty varied crowd and tonight was no exception. The music (metal) can be a turnoff for some as well as some of the decor (S&M drawings). I came here with my girlfriend, and we met one of her co-workers, and her co-worker's boyfriend for dinner. We had an hour wait before we could get seats at the bar which is SOP.
The beers on tap are usually limited to the more pedestrian local craft offerings. They had Three Floyd's Gumballhead and Alpha King, Allagash White, Surly Bender and one other beer on tap. They have a pretty decently priced bottle selection, although the bombers can be pretty expensive. I had a couple Surly Benders. They also always seem to have a cider option in bottles (that's all my girlfriend drinks).
The service is always pretty good, and the bartenders are usually pretty on top of their game considering the crowd. The food sometimes takes a little while to get out of the kitchen, but again they usually have quite the crowd to accommodate.
The burgers were pretty amazing as always. I've never had the mac and cheese, but I hear it's supposed to be pretty good as well. I got the Judas Priest (Bacon, Bleu Cheese Dressing with Apples, Walnuts, and dried cranberries) and my girlfriend got the Mastodon (BBQ Sauce, Cheddar, Bacon, Frizzled Onions). They were really tasty although I ordered mine medium and got something closer to well done. It was still pretty tasty and it wasn't dry, but definitely overcooked for my taste. This has happened before, and while annoying, I still enjoy the burger.
Kuma's is a great place to hit up a few times a year, but anymore more than that, and I think you'd get burned out from the long wait times.
01-03-2010 07:06:08 |
More by samie85
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
The bar is packed constantly, if you only find a 30 min. wait consider your self lucky. The burgers are phenomenal, I finished a burger and fries for supper one night, and was full till supper the next day. They have a great selection of beer in the bottle, and serve it with a pint glass (unless you get PBR). They only have a few beers on tap, but reserve that for some rarer selections. They have a good price spread focusing around $5-7. The atmosphere is not for everyone but just to let you know the burgers are worth the metal music. I have a tendency to like parts of the culture. Definitely a go to stop in Chicago.
09-18-2009 16:00:18 |
More by Wallstreet
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 5 | $$
i have lived in chicago for six months and finally got a chance to experience kuma's corner. and yes it is an experience.
me and a buddy showed up at 4:30 on a friday evening hoping to beat the crowd. we had about a fifteen minute wait. the place was crowded, but not overly crowded--like hopleaf. the music was loud, but not difficult to have a conversation. the staff was fine. the beer was beer. i don't even remember what i had--i think it was a two bros. imperial stout.
but the most impressive part of the visit was the burger list. i'm the type of guy who likes a good burger with my beer. you're not getting that at hopleaf. but the burger list is what sets this place apart. i didn't even look at the rest of the menu. there are at least half a dozen burgers to have you vacillating.
if you want to pour over a beer list and eat pretentious food, go to hopleaf, if you want to pout over a burger list, and have a GOOD beer go to kuma's.
02-13-2009 05:55:57 |
More by n8marks
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
I've been to Kuma's about a half dozen times over the past 2 years. Itcan be a lot of fun if you're in the mood. It's a metal bar, so be prepared. That said, it's not often you'll hear the Stormtroopers of Death while out in public.
Their burgers are awesome, which should be about 90% of the reason you go. I've yet to have a burger I didn't love and their "make your own" mac-n-cheese is great, too. I always have a difficult time ordering because I can only narrow down my choices, to oh, about 8.
Their beer selection is average. They offer nothing in bottles I can't easily find, though they do offer Surly Coffee Bender (when they have the taps open/working). Expect to hear the words, "We're all out of that" or "The taps aren't working" if you go on even an infrequent basis. Prices are a little on the high side, again only because I spend so much time in beer/wine stores and I know the prices pretty well.
Depending on when you go, especially on the weekends, expect to wait a looong time. Luckily, I'm a teacher and can get there before 4 when plenty of seating is available.
Kuma's is definitely a little different from other establishments and is worth trying at least once. At worst, you can tell all your friends you've been. At best, you've found a place with awesome burgers with which you can enjoy a tasty brew.
01-07-2009 03:08:30 |
More by sacullen
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$$
Kuma's hits just about every mark for me. They serve some of my favorite food ever. I generally like the music. I like the metal folk and a lot of the waitstaff. I talk to the owner and some of the staff at local shows. I go here frequently, so I'll sum up my experiences as a whole rather than just a single visit.
I have to start with the food. This is primarily a burger destination, rather than a beer destination. I've had around half of the burgers, and I've never found any to be less than awesome. All are named after metal bands, and there's a good attempt to theme the burgers accordingly. The Darkthrone and Mayhem are spicier offerings, and the Judas Priest is...effeminate. Pig Destroyer is the BBQ pulled pork, and Hate Beak is the Buffalo chicken sandwich. The food has gained notoriety in local PBS program Check Please, and Playboy magazine. Food starts at $10, but I don't find this to be too high considering how good and filling the meals are.
As a result of such publicity, expect to wait during peak hours. Getting a seat has been easier during the summer months thanks to the outdoor patio. It's not a terribly large place though, and you'll find families and yuppies as well as the heavy metal crowd the place was intended for. If at all possible, head in here no earlier than 8 pm if you want a seat and prompt service. During the later evening it's easier to get seated and served.
The beer list is not massive, but not cluttered with macros and the stable of common Euro imports, either. PBR is the only mass produced beer on the list. Big emphasis on US craft, with a handful of German and Belgian offerings. Seasonal rotation of the main list, with tap offerings changing more frequently. Gets points for having some uncommon offerings like Surly beers and Hop Stoopid. Loses some for a rather low number of taps, and a propensity for them to not work, which happened twice to me in the last two months or so. Prices on beer are high. Aside from PBR at $2.50 (not a steal by any stretch), everything else is $4 and up. There are a few decent offerings at that range, and most of the Great Lakes family at $5, but imports are $6 and up. La Fin Du Monde and Trois Pistoles are pretty good values at that price, but I'd never pay $9 for a 12 oz Tripel Karmeliet or Delirium Tremens. Only a handful of large format beers.
Service is usually very good, but I've seen some flaws. A few of the bartenders are very knowledgeable and willing to talk beer or music with you if things are slow, but others don't always get the glassware right, or don't pour the yeast in from a witbier. Bartenders have offered samples of draft beer many times. During peak hours things are slower and you shouldn't expect anyone to have a word with you beyond what you want to eat or drink.
I dig the atmosphere here more than most beer bars. It's not stuck up or trendy like the Hopleaf, and I even find the Map Room a bit snooty at times. Of course, it helps that Kuma's plays metal music. That's a very broad genre, so they're not always cranking out stuff I like, and it leans heavily towards doom/sludge/stoner stuff. I'd like if they mixed in a bit more thrash and traditional metal, along with a little more of the death and black metal classics. Later at night the music is sometimes way too loud, but it's at a reasonable volume during the day. Expect to see a lot of tattooed metalheads. More of the bearded ones show, rather than long-haired guys. The crowd is pretty male dominated, but there's a pretty decent lesbian turnout as well.
To sum up, this is an outstanding food destination that makes a significant effort to promote craft beer. Beer selection is quite good, and occasionally has something that's hard to get anywhere else. The atmosphere is way outside the norm, and will appeal to some way more than others. Parking is easy, and it's not far from the Blue Line. I don't know of anything else in the neighborhood.
07-28-2008 08:28:04 |
More by ommegoose
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Went here for my son's birthday. Very cool place with heavy metal theme. New Harley parked outside with KUMA license plate. Our waitress said it was the Big Guy's. Had some awesome mussels for appetizer. Excellent beer selection. Only mass beer was PBR. Had copies of Beer Advocate magazine for patrons to take. Massive burger menu. I had the Led Zeppelin which had BBQ pulled pork on it. Very small kitchen where you can watch production. Building is a 100 year old Chicago corner pub probably built by a brewer like Schlitz. I'm definitely going back. Very nice and fun service. I have always wanted to own a place like this. My son's girlfriend went with, who is a vegeterian, and the massive smell of burgers didn't sit too well. Great tatoo display by employees and patrons.
07-13-2008 20:33:51 |
More by mayor55
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$
Stopped in at about midnight on a Saturday night. Most tables were full - we sat at the bar where there were several stools open. Beer approximately six taps - all good quality - at least one cider. The bartender ignored us for several minutes as he conversed with some people next to us. That was a bit odd - he didn't even say he would be right with us. Later, after they left, he ended up conversing with us as he ignired others who had come in. Not the best service.
Very loud heavy metal playing on their system. The decor is interesting - nice fixtures, open kitchen, some prints of women in leather. Mens room was fairly clean for midnight on Saturday!
We ordered a Great Lakes Elliot Ness and a Surley Furious. I was excited to see the Surley on tap - never seen this in Chicago and only have had cans. It showed up and I knew it was Bender (Brown ale) not Furious. While disappointed I couldn't try Furious on tap, the Bender was excellent. The Ness was also of great quality. I late had a Can and Ebel (Two Bros) and it was also good.
The food menu is dominated by a wide array of burgers - listed as best in the city. We split a Kuma burger which had bacon, cheese and an sunny side up egg. Great quality beef - big burger. Fantastic fresh cut fries. All this for $10 - a good quality/price ratio.
Good beers, good food, spotty service. As mentioned - close to the highway.
03-23-2008 16:28:50 |
More by sweethome
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.5 | $$$$
2013: Beer Temple is right down the street now, it would be a shame if you visit Kuma's without a stop there for all your carry-out beer needs. Had the Nails burger for lunch (and dinner) and it was pretty damn tasty (though overpriced at $17 (price unlisted), plus an extra $3 for a salad instead of fries = a $20 burger... seriously?). Arrive early and sit at the bar, shouldn't have any problems. Beer selection has improved from years past, had a Great Lakes Silver & Gold, and a New Belgium Shift lager. Upping scores across the board, as off-peak time experiences have been pretty good recently.
Kuma's deserves it's reputation from both beer geeks and foodies alike. Very creative burgers that aren't your typical pub grub fare at all. There's a burger for every taste, hot & spicy, savory, Greek-style, veggie, you name it. I was impressed with the YOB burger on my most recent visit. A great combination unlike any other i've tried. Roasted red pepper, Smoked Gouda, with smoked garlic mayo...excellent!
But this ain't burgeradvocate.com... :|
Kuma's has six taps, which seem to usually remain the same, with the occasional odd seasonal. I had a Cane & Ebel which went very well with the meal. Five GLBC selections, a couple Ska, three Lagunitas options, and a few random west coast bottles. Saison Dupont (750), Delerium Tremens, Prima Pils, and a Barleywine as well. Relatively small, but well rounded selection. Service was timely and friendly at the bar. Early in the evening it was fairly deserted, but 1/3 full by 6pm. Kuma's menu has been written up alot, so expect to wait awhile during primetime for table service. It's been a restaurant destination for some time now, which is how the media and public perceive it, not exactly a "beer bar" in a true sense. You come here for the burgers, and the beer is a distant second, almost an afterthought.
I'll splurge for a burger here now and then, the menu is slightly pricey. Beers are certainly priced right, it would be hard to stop here for "just a beer" though. Take all the rave reviews with a grain of salt, sure they have great burgers (so does Bad Apple, Owen & Engine, etc.), but ultimately Kuma's beer list is nothing special in the context of Chicago's vibrant beer scene.
10-11-2007 23:55:04 |
More by emerge077
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5 | $$$
I visited Kumas for lunch on my way out of Chicago after a quick business trip, and I was pleasantly surprised. I would describe Kumas as a heavy metal burger bar. All of those words fit in the description: there is definitely a heavy metal theme evident in the décor, music, and staff; they seem to specialize in burgers; and they have a nice beer selection. I had a Ska Brewing True Blonde Ale and a Julius Echter Hefe (expertly poured into an appropriate glass by the bartender). They also had Racer 5 on tap and Schneider Weisse and Great Lakes products in bottles. All taps were craft beers and all bottles were crafts/imports (they may have had Pabst). I had the Kuma burger (any entrée with the establishments name on it is what I order), which was a giant bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg on it. It was decent, but the pretzel roll it was on smelled of maple syrup which turned me off (I had a touch of the flu, which may have played into this). Also, my fries were good, but a bit cold. I asked for some mayo for my burger and fries, to find out they had 4-5 varieties of mayonnaise (chipotle, horseradish, etc), which is a turn-on for me. The neighborhood is not a trendy one, but wasnt scary either. The place is literally 2 minutes from I94, so was very much on my way home. My experience with the food wasnt great, yet Id still recommend the place.
09-19-2007 19:58:06 |
More by BeerBelcher
Kuma's Corner in Chicago, IL
Your name or email address:
Do you already have an account?
No, create an account now.
Yes, my password is:
Forgot your password?
Stay logged in
Top 250 Beers
Change of Address