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Taps: 12 / Bottles: 46
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
837 W Fulton Market
phone: (312) 733-9555
(Place added by: rhoadsrage on 11-26-2008)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 34 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$
The Publican seems to be housed in a warehouse district near downtown Chicago, but for all the authentically rustic character of the neighborhood, the place is a polished gem. The decor is expansive and distinct; a group seating arrangement of long banquet tables is given a modicum of indivual privacy by virtue of the very high backs on the chairs; this particular design element is stunning. Cocktail tables are placed in the center of the space and serve as the bar. Individual tables are cozily arranged in a novel box-seating array. Even the bathrooms are gorgeous. Aside from the design and decor, the beer list is phenomenal, if pricy. The house-made Lambic, "Lambic Doux," is ridiculously delicious; as was the bottle of 100% BA Coton me and Alex drank. The servers are quite knowledgeable. And the oysters were among the best I have ever had. I ate nearly two dozen, a la carte. I will daydream about the Publican until I can return.
05-12-2011 00:17:53 |
More by ktrillionaire
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$$
I finally made it out to Publican, a Friday night for drinks and snacks. A typical West Loop joint, meaning modern looking, new and clean, wide open space with adjoined tables. Cool place for having dinner probably not exactly what I want out of a place for drinks. The booths are awesome though as they basically look you in with wooden doors like your in a horse stall...The beer list is organized pretty good, draught then countries and styles. About 10 draft and probably 50 or so bottles. The selection is pretty decent, a lot of base staples, some stuff I've not seen before. Fluxus on tap is nice. The service was decent, talked to 2 people new basic beer stuff and things about the beers available, suggestions were not spot on...The snacks we had were good, nothing special though. The fries were very disappointing, guess I was expecting something Belgianesque. It was not crowded at all for Friday, making me wonder why its impossible to get reservations. Way too expensive for the beer and good.
A cool place to go, would go here for dinner for a special occasion because they have decent beer but I wouldn't come back to just drink. Paramount room is close enough, if downtown head there for cheaper beer with similar quality.
10-09-2010 17:54:09 |
More by jrallen34
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$
If I lived in Chicago I would be a regular. Everything was a bit pricey, but...really well done! Interesting wine/beer list, fantastic menu, with food that didn't disapoint. Our server knew the menu and beers, and was friendly.
I think a couple of visits would help to know the menu, leading to economical choices. What I mean is, some dishes, while delicious, were tiny, while others were generous. I would reccomend avoiding dishes with expensive ingredients, and trying the more humble offerings. Incredible flavor was coaxed from pork country ribs, and chicken, for instance, and the fries that were served under the chicken were the best I have ever, ever, had...fried in lard.
06-03-2010 17:49:36 |
More by Sanford
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
I was visiting Chicago and I figured I had to try this place after looking at the menu and the beer list. If you are into interesting foods, you have to give this a try. All food is shared among the tables. My table had things such as sweet breads and lamb brains. There are things that are closer to "normal" too on their menu, but other than the spicy greens, I didn't try any of it.
The beer list was also great. They had a good selection of beer from the mid-west as well as plenty from around the US and international.
I would recommend making reservations well in advance. I called on Friday as soon as it opened for reservations for that night and they were booked solid. They said they were booked solid on Saturday too. I was told that since my group was only 3 people, we could probably get fit in somewhere if we were willing to hang out at the bar first. With the beer list there, that wasn't an issue, though we did get our table before we finished our first round.
05-28-2010 13:52:22 |
More by kwjd
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$$
First off, the quality of the food is very high. The focus is pork, oysters, and beer. The first two categories are well-represented. The food is designed to be shared at the table; no traditional entrees. The food, generally, is considerably more upscale traditional pub fare.
The beer list is okay. Without a doubt it contains some very great beers. Nonetheless, The Publican has made a point of advertising how much time they spend on integrating the food and beer menus, but, based on this, the beer menus definitely lacks any cohesiveness. Some of the rare beers that made an appearance on the list seemed to be there to be there and not for the purpose of complementing the food.
Still, if you are looking to spend a nice night out with friends and drop some money, you could do much worse than The Publican.
03-02-2010 00:09:06 |
More by WOTO97
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
This place focuses on beer, oysters, and pork. I've been there twice now. Everything I've had to eat and drink has been great. One time my waiter was blatantly drunk. The service might be excessively casual while trying to be hip, but the servers have been knowledgeable and attentive. The beer selection, wine list, and menu are all fantastic. This is my favorite new place in Chicago. It isn't cheap, but I've gone expecting to spend a lot, had as much as I want to eat and drink, and had the check end up being less than I expected.
02-08-2010 01:06:16 |
More by Sallerj
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$$
Been there a couple of times now, it does rival Hopleaf as a beer and food place to go.
It is a big open location, described nicely by others below, I just want add that there is a bar where you can eat and drink, also standing tables, then long Europe type tables, think of Octoberfest in Germany, then there are finally closed door tables where you can have a bit of privacy. It is not so loud so you can have decent conversation, I don't even remember music playing which is fine. Overall a rowdy and fun place to eat and drink, and people watch.
Upscale food, including fish (excellent oysters), meats, interesting vegetable choices. Everything was top quality, including the beer. My mate had a Hanssens strawberry from 2001? 3 different servers came over to comment on how great this beer was, and all food and drink was greatly enjoyed.
Sevice is attentive, a bit sloppy at times but they really focus alot of people on your needs. The best one there is Michael, the beer sommelier, who has deep knowledge of the beer list, and I believe put it together. He also orders the drafts. Unfortunately he is only one man, and the waiters try to know the list as well but sometimes come up short. Do ask for Michael if you go, or ask something very esoteric (what kind of hops are in this IPA, I really like Challenger?) and they will call him over.
Selection of food is great, of beer very good, many unusualities from the 80+ bottles. They now have 12 taps plus one cask of great selections as well. Assume 1/2 craft, 1/2 Belgian, with a few Germans, British, with a Jolly Pumpkin, full slate of The Bruery, and Matilda to boot. I put Hopleaf's 30+ taps plus 100 plus bottles above this but no other restaurants (certainly many bars, e.g. Maproom, Local Option).
Dishes come in variable sizes, many to share. The value is decent given the quality, but expect food to run $40 - $50 per head plus beer here which is rather pricey. For true Chicago gastropubs you must consider this and Hopleaf a tie at the top.
01-10-2010 18:29:18 |
More by robbyc1
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$$
The Publican is a solid restaraunt that happens to have a decent selection of beer. the place looks like an old Norse dining hall that was transplanted to the West Loop, with new finishes and updated glassware and utensils. that being said, the food is exceptional and the beers are very inteligently chosen.
atmosphere is upscale restaraunt meets the aformentioned old Norse hall. bold and strong wooden furniture throughout, all medium toned with just-as-bold heavy wooden tap handles at the bar. booths along the far wall close off into their own spaces, which gives a cozy and private dining experience while still being a part of the overall space.
service and quality are near-perfect. artisan dining with great beers. focus of the menu is on pork and other meat dishes, with a good beer list of around ten taps and around 75 or so bottles. everything is a bit pricey, but the quality makes up for the price difference.
food is quite good. pork is definitely the focus, but all the food seen and tried was great.
overall, the Publican is an excellent restaraunt in the West Loop; the only complaint is the location, without too much around except for the street markets that close their doors mid-afternoon. that being said, once inside the patrons are transported to old Scandinavia. an excellent stop for those in the downtown area of Chicago. cheers!
10-08-2009 17:51:09 |
More by botham
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
The Publican reminds me of a modernist's interpretation of the great hall in Beowulf. The mood is lively and festive, with a good mix of foodies, beer lovers, and the trendy. The space itself is nothing more than a rectangle of a room, with large communal tables in the middle, boxed-in booths to the side and a gathering on two-tops near the front. Tall, stoic, boxy timber chairs sit with their wooden table counterparts. Earthen tones and wood dominate the structure, while globe lights hang from the ceiling in compact, orderly rows.
More impressive than the room itself is the beer list. There are 8 or so taps, about 10 times as bottles, and a cask ale, all representing a fine mix of the local (2Brothers, FFF, Surly) and the not so local (Germans, Belgians, French farmhouse). These are all quality beers and while there may be some offerings which are little more commercial than others, I spotted some true rarities and the menu even listed a bottle of New Glarus. For the most part prices are reasonable (between $5-$7 for a draft), but some of the prices were exorbitant (JP Bam for $23, and FFF Behemoth for $36!).
The food is retrospective, with a focus on old-school charcuterie, shellfish, and pickles. Simply put, the food is excellent, though I did at times feel it was somewhat redundant and lacking in creativity. For example, we ordered both the charcuterie plate and the potee, which turned out to be very similar dishes, even down to the addition of gherkins in both. However, since the food itself was so damn good, its hard to complain when you're getting more of a goof thing.
My only qualm with Publican would be the service, and even that was very good. However, my issue stemmed from my server being spread among too many tables, resulting in me having to continually ask for items, most notably beer, which I had to request on three separate occasions during my meal. Maybe if the restaurant itself added another server or two during busy nights, they could head off this inconvenience. Otherwise I will say my server exhibited quite the beer knowledge, was overtly friendly, and, when he was available to do so, attended to our needs without complaint.
Prices are not cheap, but in consideration for the quality of both the beer and food, I still felt they were very reasonable.
10-06-2009 02:40:12 |
More by Florida9
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$$
To say I had been anxiously awaiting my Friday night reservations (booked 4 weeks in advance) would be one of the understatements of the year - i could barely contain my intrigue.
when they say it's located in the meatpacking district, thats not just some cute city rhetoric about an old reformed district. its literally in a meatpacking district. we walked from the loop, past the chocolate factory, under the interstate and through some crummy streets. Cabs were waiting when we left fortunately.
we rolled in at around 7:30 and left no earlier than 11. This place was absolutely buzzing - no wonder this was the new restaurant of the year in Chicago and is generating tons of national attention.
the interior is warehouse-style with thoughtful lighting, family style tables, boxcar style tables, and lots of bar space that is rotated as possible.
the beer list is one long page with about 8 taps and a bunch of bottles. there is nothing even close to pedestrian on this list - bottles of cantillon, obscure french and belgians, old rasputin xxi, plenty of lambics/geuze. Markups seemed reasonable given the quality and attention given to beer. impossible to not drink well here. it should be noted that this is not a bar. dont plan on coming here on a busy night and not eating - you wont even get in the door.
all that said, this place is about the FOOD...one of the most incredible restaurants i have ever eaten at - i didnt want to leave. This place pays homage to the pig like no other - oh and shellfish too. Started with chef's samplers of oysters and aged hams, moved into some pork skins, some mussels, and 2 FANTASTIC entrees (pork shoulder with clams and chorizo, sweetbreads with a lobster cream sauce).
service was slow but people here are forced to know their menu. our $150 2-person bill was reduced to approximately $100 after receiving some of the mentioned items for free. i couldnt have cared less - i wanted a 3 hour dinner and thats what i got.
08-31-2009 01:58:11 |
More by dirtylou
The Publican in Chicago, IL
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