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Taps: 24 / Bottles: 150
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
4300 N Lincoln Ave
phone: (773) 360-8406
Monday - Wednesday :: 4:30pm - 2am
Thursday - Friday :: 11:30am - 2am
Saturday :: 11:30am - 3am
Sunday :: 11:30am - 2am
Sunday - Thursday @ 11pm
Friday & Saturday @ 1am
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Reviews by OutsidersAlmanac:
vibe: 1 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
I've been to Bad Apple twice now. The first was, speaking frankly, a pretty disappointing experience.
Bad Apple is clearly not a bar. It has a bar, but it is definitely a restaurant with a bar in it. When you walk in the front door the first thing you see is a bar - low hanging red globed lights, an exposed brick wall and several flatscreen tvs - opposite the bar is about a half-dozen high-sitting tables with stools. They've worked the hardest on this first of three rooms. It's clean, modern, and trying a bit too hard. The room seems to be designed to reflect well off shiny shirts and waxed chests. Not my cup of macho, but it is forgivable.
Unfortunately, the other rooms - the back room and a side game room - have been given much less consideration. Strange layout and cheap furniture force you to take a second look at the front room undoing the rather thin veneer of pretense and paint that may have first fooled you. Bad Apple is just not a warm place, it looks like it might have been decorated by a forty-something day trader redecorating his "man cave" after a divorce. No personality, but a tangible, uncomfortable ache to be liked. But by who?
Our interaction with the staff on our first visit was pretty negative, too. Two of the three people we interacted with were rude even as we went out of our way to be friendly. Fortunately, last night, on my second visit, our waiter was much different. Friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable he helped make me want to repeat our experience.
The music has been pretty terrible both times I've been in there. After enjoying our beers for about 20 minutes last night all the sudden the pretty crummy sound system in the game room started blatting out the Austin Powers theme song - no shit. The rest of the night was a mix of 80's and dub. With the vibe they seem to be going for they should consider hiring a DJ to spin some tasteful, down-tempo beats and help them out with their paper-thin monitors.
The upswing of Bad Apple? Two things. They've got a great beer selection. Last night they had Left Hand Milk-Stout, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, Two Brother's Heavy Handed, Founder's exceptional IPA, Goose Island's Matilda, Half Acre's Daisy Cutter, Karmaleit Triple, New Holland's Really Delicious and Surprising Charkoota Ale, One of New Belgium's Lips of Faith series, and several others I can't recall. They had Surly Cynic the first visit there, but, even without Cynic last night, they had their bases well covered. Bad Apple offers a beer menu with all of their beers well described with region, tastes, and ABV listed.
The other upswing? The food we had was amazing. We started with their Montreal Poutine. As far as I know there is only one other establishment in Chicago where you can get Poutine, Small Bar. Small Bar serves their Poutine with sausage gravy. It's an amazing twist on the classic dish, I was curious to see if Bad Apple would follow that lead or go the traditional brown gravy path. I was happy to discover Bad Apple went with the brown gravy, and it was an amazing brown gravy. Seriously, it was so good my we sat there rubbing our fingers through the remaining gravy doing brown gravy nummies until the waiter came and took the smudged plate away. It goes exceptionally well with the Charkoota Rye.
We also took the strong recommendation from our waiter and had the Slow Burn burger. Chili peppers and garlic sauteed throughout the day on top a bacon and white chedder hand packed patty and cooked to order. The bun and burger literally melted in my mouth and, coupled with the delicious pepper saute, covered my mouth in a subtle, but thorough coat of easy warmth that hung around several minutes after each delicious bite. Masterfully made to have heat, but deliver it gently over time and with surprising sustain, dip this wonderful little beast in a just a dab of the table mustard and sit back and let your taste buds coo. Kudo's to our server for recognizing the brilliance of this burger and being able to read his guest's well enough to recommend it.
We also got our hand cut fries covered in truffle oil. It's like an extra $.75 or something menial, but the deep flavor of the truffle just pops on the crispy fries and is an ideal compliment to the burger.
Chicago's Bad Apple, is not without it's flaws, but it's upswing makes passable the bummer atmosphere. If they could get their aesthetic a bit warmer, find comfort in a personality, and lose that offensively dumb apple with the mohawk they could have a really fantastic place. Until then, I will be visiting again to try the goat cheese fondue and their Ebel Weiss ham and swiss, but if they could get their comfort level up they might not ever be able to get me to leave.
Oh, hey, guys, get a freaking website too, eh?
10-14-2009 16:32:43 |
More by OutsidersAlmanac
More User Reviews:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
I live very close so I stop by this place frequently and there is always a new beer on tap to be tried. Many specialty beers will come through that will be tapped on a Thursday night and be done by Friday; so if you're looking for that one rare beer it may be already gone if you're not quick enough. The people behind the bar are extremely friendly and have a high beer IQ. It will get quite crowded however on the weekends and most weekday nights so plan accordingly. Thursday and Fridays before 6 are my favorite times to stop by. Not crowded yet so you can get to taste a lot of the different beers and talk to the bartenders about the brews. Oh yeah and their burgers and sandwiches are amazing. Often made with a sauce,relish of a beer on tap.
07-06-2012 22:18:22 |
More by BrianV
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
I stumbled upon this place entirely by accident. I would suggest visiting this bar either before or after hitting Half Acre which is basically right across the street. note: I DID not eat here but the food looked good so I'll give a "4" based on my overall impression and the fact that the burgers looked very tasty. There were families and kids present in the dining area. The bar area is separate from the dining area.
atmosphere: very cool artwork. clean. dimly lit. good music. skulls and MOST IMPORTANTLY shuffleboard (not the outside kind with sticks). My kind of place to have a beer. close to perfect.
quality: no complaints. everything was cold and served in proper glassware.
selection: very good to excellent. a few harder to find local beers were on tap.
service: again, no complaints. fast, friendly and accurate. Beer was cold.
I was impressed overall with my first visit to Bad Apple. In my opinion this is a very underrated establishment on the Chicago beer scene. Let's keep it our little secret.
07-06-2012 15:39:28 |
More by shadytony
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Set on a corner a little outside of downtown Chicago, it's pretty quiet and best of all, parking isn't bad at all. Inside is clean and open with great bar seating as well as tables in the back. Artwork installations hang around the bar and give it a nice piece of flair.
The burgers are fantastic and their other menus items are pretty topnotch as well, from what I've seen.
The beer menu is extensive and they have some more rare selections and stuff you don't see in too many places. The type of place that there's only 2 kegs in the city and this place has one of them.
The prices are very reasonable, especially being in Chicago. Their pricing is more on par with places out in the suburbs. Not too bad at all, really.
The bar is fairly small in comparison to the big bars in Chicago, but there are usually always two people behind the bar so you are never waiting on a drink or service.
I've been there a few times and it's definitely one of my go-to places when I'm in the city.
02-16-2012 12:19:52 |
More by cjacobsen
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Have been here multiple times and it has been very good each and every time. The beer list is really nice. It has a lot of different beers and a good selection of beer styles. They are usually able to talk with you about different beer and make recommendations from time to time. Price is pretty reasonable as well.
Food is very good as well. Burgers are excellent and they have an array of them to choose from as well. Burgers and beer are the best reasons to come. Not just the selection of both is excellent, but the quality is good as well.
01-06-2012 00:43:23 |
More by dexterk1
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
went there after going to Half Acre brewing which they recommended, very cool place, good food my daughter and I tried cheese curds for the first time, great beer selection (Founders on tap).
staff is friendly and even helped us out with directions and bus schedule to local breweries (piece brewery and Revolution brewing) even the owner got involved on what bus to take.
was there with my family 1st time, came back while in town with work with coworkers, the owner came over and remembered me from 6 months earlier! go there as much as i can when visiting one of the coolest city's around.
11-30-2011 02:16:46 |
More by scamplin1966
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $
The final beer bar that my girl and I visited on a recent trip to Chicago. We popped over after grabbing brews at Half Acre and were not disappointed.
VIBE: nice low-key atmosphere in the daytime, a large bar greets you at the door with cozy tables and booths off to the side and another room in the back. Lots of light coming in through the windows, patrons mind their own business. Awesome neighbourhood joint.
SERVICE: our waitress was cool as hell. I explained that I wanted to try some beers but I was driving back to Canada and didn’t want to get blasted. She gave me four 2-ounce draught samples free of charge. Food came to the table quickly and the server left us alone while we ate. High marks here.
SELECTION: I had a Lagunitas Lucky 13, Mikkeller Single Hop Warrior IPA, Left Hand Good Juju Ginger, and Mikkeller Single Hop Simcoe IPA on tap. Other draughts were Lindemans Pêche, Goose Island Sofie, and Founders Centennial IPA. My girlfriend enjoyed her glass of wine. Similar to Local Option, I didn’t bother looking at the bottle list since the taps were so impressive. Also, several pints were $4.00 or less.
FOOD: both of us went for the Turkey Jack sandwich on whole wheat bread with a side of french fries. It was flavourful and reasonably priced and the huge portion filled us up for the long trek back home. We were very satisfied with the drinks and fare.
OVERALL: Bad Apple is an outstanding gastropub that we would return to time and again if we lived in the area. This overlooked gem was the unexpected sleeper hit of our Chicago beer bar tour. A solid spot all around.
09-12-2011 06:01:44 |
More by cratez
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
A-Always a good amount of people but not too much. Enough to set an intimate atmosphere
Q-High quality everything. from food to drafts
S-Never really had too good of service, never really had too bad of service. To make up for the 4.25 on selection
S-Good selection of draft and bottle beer. Samples available of both. get very good kegs of beer every once in a while that you cannot get anywhere else. Would put this at a 4.25. Why is there no 4.25!
F-very good burgers. they are very imaginative with these and you can get just about any kind of burger you can imagine.
V-I would expect to pay more in Chicago, so was very happy with this.
08-23-2011 04:01:32 |
More by brew3crew
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I've been here a few times since Feed the Beast Went under and Bad Apple stepped into the spot.
They've done away with some of the more garish aspects of the former tenant and made it a modern yet homey room. The much less-hectic backroom is a nice option for groups hoping to meet without having to shout at one another.
I've had at least 6 beers here on different occasions and have never had a problem with dirty lines or a bad draw. The selection, while not world-beating, should have something for nearly every taste. It's a strong balance between local and American favorites with a healthy dose of Belgian stuff thrown in for good measure.
Still have not had the food but the service at the bar, save on my very first trip opening week (which I'll give them a pass on) has never been less than pleasant and attentive.
Great option in a somewhat generic stretch of Lincoln Ave.
08-20-2011 18:50:38 |
More by malcontent
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
I live so close to this place and I keep hearing people raving about it. Well, I finally made it there today for dinner. It's not a bad place, but not anything to rave about in my opinion.
The crowd was young, but not rambunctious, which was a relief. Nothing worse than a bunch of drunk college-age kids being annoying.
Anyways...food was decent. Mainly a burger joint, but you can get sandwiches. Burgers were nothing special. No substitutions or alterations of the menu items apparently. If you're allergic to something, order something else because apparently "no exceptions". Yikes, ok...
Beer list was decent. I had the Hades Ale and North Coast Pranqster. Not a bad selection.
Service was fine. I sat outside and was checked on regularly. My waitress suggested the Hades and I'm glad I listened and went with it. It was a decent brew.
Would I go again? Maybe... But with Fountainhead pretty much outside my building there's really no reason to go Bad Apple. Check it out if you are in the area...but I think there are better beer joints in the area like Fountainhead or Fork.
07-17-2011 01:04:36 |
More by Northsider
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Bad Apple in Chicago, IL