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Taps: 27 / Bottles: 150
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1970 W Montrose Ave
phone: (773) 697-8204
Monday - Friday: 4:00pm - 2:00am
Saturday: 12:00pm - 3:00am
Sunday Brunch: 10:30am - 2:30pm
Sunday: 2:30pm - 2:00am
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Reviews by cratez:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Stopped by with my girlfriend during a recent trip to Chicago.
VIBE: as soon as we pulled up we were intrigued by the beautiful outdoor facade. Interior resembles a comfortable, rustic, and old-fashioned restaurant with a clean and refined edge. A large display of bourbons, Scottish whiskies, and spirits towers over the bar. Patrons are a chatty and diverse bunch and everybody was enjoying themselves on our visit. A really nice, approachable atmosphere.
SERVICE: our server was incredibly friendly. He helped us along with beer and wine recommendations, talked at length about some of the rarer bottles, and poured me a generous shot of Lagavulin when I ordered a 2008 J.W. Lees Harvest Ale that was aged in barrels of that whisky. Very welcoming and attentive service, which we appreciated.
SELECTION: I had a Half Acre Gossamer and Three Floyds Zombie Dust (!!!) on draught and the aforementioned barley wine out of the bottle. My girl enjoyed her pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc. Also noticed Summit EPA on cask, Southampton Cuvee Des Fleurs and Lost Abbey Inferno in bottles, and Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, La Trappe Witte, Petrus Aged Pale, and Pauwel Kwak on tap. The beer list seems smaller than the menus at Map Room and Jerry's, but it's still exceptionally well-rounded.
OVERALL: we had a memorable experience here and it'll be a priority destination for us when we come back to the city. Fountainhead is a quintessential American beer bar, which makes the meaning behind its name (principal source) all the more appropriate. A must-visit in my books.
08-15-2011 19:24:42 |
More by cratez
More User Reviews:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$$
Having been to this place only on Friday nights, it's usually packed, and in the summer/warmer months, the rooftop is open and the place is always buzzing.
Food is average pub food, so nothing special to write about. Beer, however, is another story. They have specialty beers on tap from time to time and is a great place to try out new flavors that they bring in. I'm not sure how often the rotation is, but my favorite is the Founders Breakfast Stout served in a sniffer glass. Yum-yum!
A good place to start or end the night, depending on which direction you're going in the city.
03-22-2013 03:57:07 |
More by Rick_K
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4 | $$
Visited back in September 2012 on a Monday night. Upon entering at around 8pm, the place was full enough to give it a good vibe...it had a real neighborhood pub feel to it. A place where you could meet friends, have a couple of pints (or a dram of whiskey or three, which I did after one beer. The whiskey selection is way more impressive than the beer selection ever thought of being,) or if you like you could sit there and drown your sorrows all by yourself. I don't think that they had a TV in the place, but if they did, I would like to believe that this would be a place more likely to show English Premier League soccer than anything else. We stayed and had some food, which was perhaps slightly more upscale than your typical pub fare and the service that we received was good. I thought that the prices were reasonable. Like others have stated they have an extensive selection of beers, I had a German marzen that night, followed by some one-off single barrel scotches. The place also has a roof-top bar, which would be great in the summer or even in the early fall in Chicago. Overall, this is a great place and I hope to make it back. If I lived in the neighborhood, this would most defiantly be my local.
01-24-2013 14:22:59 |
More by PhillyStyle
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$
Been here a couple o' times now, and I've enjoyed them both. The vibe is pretty low key, but with a sort of mild arrogance: imagine a nice, neighborhood public house where you can feel free to raise your pinky as high as you damn well please. The servers/'tenders are amiable without going overboard and seem to at least generally know their stuff about the suds they're pouring. The selection tends to be pretty top-notch, though the menus (we're talking both paper and online here) are always behind reality as many things tap rather quickly, apparently. This is not the worst problem in the world, but it does get annoying after a while when you can't order the beers you want. The prices are more than fair, especially considering Chicago is involved. Overall, I really do like this place. If I lived in the area, it would be my neighborhood bar for sure.
07-24-2012 00:38:19 |
More by TMoney2591
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Fountainhead was part of a long bar crawl.
There is a very laid back feel to fountainhead. It may have been influenced by it being mid-day on a sunday, but that's just how it was. There was a modernish feel to it, but it was far from sparse while also having the more comforting feel to it.
The service was pretty good. There was only 1 bartender and all of the bar stools filled, but it wasn't hard to get a beer at all. The bartender was also on point with the food (which was very good. The beignets were great and the grits were very good as well)
The location is very easy to get to and the neighborhood is excellent.
01-09-2012 19:13:28 |
More by KDawg
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $$$
It must be noted that this was my first time visiting Fountainhead. I know nothing of it's history, ownership, sister bars, etc...
I like the location. It's off some of the main roads, which makes it much more of a destination. The place was not busy when I arrived mid-day Saturday, with a few tables of young folk/business professionals sitting around eating and drinking. The noise level at this point of the day was not overwhelming. The back bar is gorgeous, and they have it stocked with some fantastic whisk(e)y. Some really rare bottles like Cask of Yamazaki 1984, Knappague Castle 1951 ($130 a shot), and Glenfarclas 1951.
It was a very solid beer selection. They had a really great selection of Harvest style pale ales on tap, which at this visit, I was not seeking, so a bit of a let down as far as tap selection goes. They had a Cantillon on tap that kicked 2 ounces into my pour, so the bartender served me the two ounces and I reviewed the bottle list...only to be a bit disappointed. They offered some nice sours on there, including some Cantillon, etc...but nothing that really blew me away. At this point they were also featuring some different brews from craft breweries out of Michigan, many of which I was very familiar with seeing how I'm from Michigan. One Oatmeal Stout from Dark Horse, Founders Breakfast Stout, Founders Imperial Stout...some real nice beers. I ended up ordering a Founder's Imperial Stout, which they were out of, so 0 for 2 at this point.
Due to the huge whisk(e)y selection, I ended up choosing the new Ardbeg Alligator to sip on, and be on my way.
The prices seemed to right in line with the rest of the city...tap selection was vast (although a bit one sided with the Harvest ales during my visit), and great bottle selection (although, I have to disagree with the last reviewer, it is no where near the level of The Hop Leaf).
I did not try any of the food, although the menu look very broad and tasty, I just wasn't hungry. Bright place, nice atmosphere. I will return, and I'm sure won't be disappointed.
10-31-2011 18:50:31 |
More by MarcatGSB
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 1 | $$
The atmosphere of the place is overwhelmingly dominated by the loudness of the crowd on the last few times I've visited. Clientele is a mix of beer yuppies and trickle-ups from Addison and Clark. Less than year ago you could come in and have a quiet beer to yourself but The Fountainhead's name is spreading through Chicago.
It's impressive that their business is successful considering the proximity to the Hop Leaf. Though Fountainhead is growing louder, they're still a lot more comfortable than The Hop Leaf. Hopefully the new upstairs outside seating will help them deal with the new crowds and its effect on atmosphere.
It took a few visits before I decided to lay down money on food. Got Oysters (I know, not a wise choice in the mid-west, but it's not impossible to pull of in any case as some other establishments have demonstrated). They tasted like tap water. The sauce that was loudly proclaimed and intricately described in the menu just didn't taste right with oysters. Pretty bad. They've reportedly dumbed down their menu from opening and quality hasn't really changed.
That being said, their tap selection and bottle selection are both phenomenal. In my opinion, the bottle selection is better than the Hop Leaf. Their menu is an elaborate work of art. The descriptions provided for every individual beer available (bottle and draft) are helpful and exceedingly informative. They keep it up to date, too. The tap prices are excessively reasonable while the bottle prices are overwhelmingly unreasonable in many cases. This is true of most bars, especially in Chicago. For better or worse, often after perusing the fancy menu, you won't be able to resist ordering an expensive bottle.
The service on behalf of the bartenders and servers is very good. The reason I've scored so low on the service here is because the manager has been extremely rude on several occasions. I like to think that I've had so many good service experiences from people on the floor because they want to make up for this. I could be wrong. But, it is unfortunate to order a 40 dollar bottle with the expectation that you'll have plenty of time to drink it and then get run out of the bar way before the advertised closing time. This has happened to me on more than one occasion.
A further plus is the vast number of special events they host: tap-takeovers, brew-celeb guests, etc...
pros: amazing selection, less annoying than the Hop Leaf, great service from floor-staff, great tap prices, great events.
cons: poor food, high bottle prices, bad managerial experiences.
10-07-2011 01:18:28 |
More by wernerherzog
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Right now Fountainhead is probably my number one spot for craft beer in Chicago. Admittedly this is partially due to its proximity to my home, but Fountainhead has so much going for it.
Their beer list is creative. In addition to their numerous and interesting tap list, they have a huge bottle list, and they usually have something good on cask. In addition, they have frequent special beer events, bringing out some sort of theme that pairs beer and food together very well. These events are updated on their website, Twitter, and Facebook, and they keep their updated beer list on beermenus as well. There is no worry of showing up to find out that all of the beer I want to try has been gone for days.
The atmosphere here is loud, especially on the weekends, but contained. Provided there are tables available, I am always able to relax and enjoy spending time with my friends over a few beers here, regardless of noise level. The patrons are generally well-informed when it comes to the beer scene. At the Darkness release, I remember every single person finishing their beer at 8:55 and ordering a Darkness when they tapped it at 9. The keg could not have been kicked faster.
The staff is friendly and will help you out with a beer selection if you feel lost. Oh, and the food is pretty top notch too. Great gastropub innovation at reasonable prices. I will be here frequently.
07-06-2011 17:31:36 |
More by KickInTheChalice
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
I live about 1/2 a block from this place. I went to the grand opening before they had food and before I was really into beer...I thought it was alright but I loved the decor. Dark and roomy.
Now that I'm trying new beers this is my go-to place. It has many beers and styles on tap and an extensive bottle list. The menu gives great descriptions of the beers and it's helpful when deciding. The staff are really great and will gladly give advice and draft samplers (I had about 4 samples before I could decide once!).
Now that they have more food other than appetizers I love to go here for a burger (pretzel buns ftw!) and brew. Highly recommended.
Be advised, this place gets super crowded on Friday and Saturdays after 5 or 6 pm...an hour wait at least.
I agree with hawks10 about this place not being douchey or pretentious (try the Oakton across the street if you love the wasted-in-the-middle-of-the-street kind of Friday evening). Just a nice comfortable place to grab a beer.
Also, rooftop section of this place has not opened yet as of May 21, 2011. I think this summer the roof will be open.
05-21-2011 14:16:42 |
More by Northsider
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Fountainhead is like a dark cave, occupied by new yuppies in suits and Stepford wives out for a night on the town. The place may have had food, it may not have. Once I saw Cantillon on-tap, the waitress/waiter/whomever could've been glowing purple with three heads and sixteen eyes, I probably would not have noticed. The Cantillon was ridiculously good. After nursing a couple down, I switched up to Hanssen's Oude Gueuze cask; the server brought me a full pint! I almost fainted from the potency of that particular Oude Gueuze; it is one of the most puckeringly sour things I have ever had. The tap list is amazing, the beer selection is phenomenal. I will definitely be back.
05-12-2011 00:36:38 |
More by ktrillionaire
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Fountainhead in Chicago, IL