Log in or Sign up
Taps: 27 / Bottles: 150
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1970 W Montrose Ave
phone: (773) 697-8204
Monday - Friday: 4:00pm - 2:00am
Saturday: 12:00pm - 3:00am
Sunday Brunch: 10:30am - 2:30pm
Sunday: 2:30pm - 2:00am
(Place added by: emerge077 on 04-29-2010)
Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev
| Reviews: 22 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 1 | $$
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 | 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: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
Went to Fountainhead about a month ago on a double date with the girlfriend and some co-workers and we plan to return.
The food was excellent, not the best in the City, but very solid and reasonably priced considering the portion size. My bowl of mac-and-cheese could have fed some small families for a week.
As for the beer, the selection was wide and very eclectic and it provided me my first ever experience with Russian River. RR does not distribute in Chicago, but Avery does and Fountainhead had a RR/Avery collaboration beer on tap the night we were there. I wish I would have had the chance to review it, but it makes me even more excited about eventually trying Pliny the Elder and Younger.
The thing I found most interesting about the beer menu was the number of wild/sour ales they had. About half the beers we tried at the table that night were sour.
Anyhow, the food is a great value, the beer is a tad on the high end as far as price goes, but you are paying for the unique selection the seem to have. Service was OK, nothing to complain about, but nothing to rave about either.
Food, beer and the lively and open atmosphere combine to make Fountainhead a good place to be.
02-05-2011 20:04:31 |
More by StoneTSR
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: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Relatively new place in my neighborhood. I've been three times and have not been disappointed. Excellent beer selection with many tap beers unavailable anywhere else I know of in Chicago: an oyster stout, and quite a few specialty beers from England. A big but not huge selection of bottles, too, and all top notch stuff. The atmosphere is a little generic. I can name four or five places nearby that are barely distinguishable from this place: dark wood paneling, a bit of an upscale/gentrified feel without any distinct or creative personality. But, pleasant enough and nothing wrong with it. In the late afternoon/evening the sun comes in from the west on Damen which is really nice until everyone eating in the booths pulls down the opaque shades and it's dark as a dungeon. Best feature: in the toilet stall (shitter) there is an extra sink IN THE STALL. Pure genius. If you have to drop a savage deuce, you can get all refreshed in complete privacy. While there, I did not experience a call of nature in category two, but I almost wish I had. Also, they should ban children, as Hopleaf does. It is a bar with very adult food (gastropub style). Keep the kids out. The parents are a-holes and let them run around the bar (because in their eyes they are so cute and precious) but I almost booted one in the kneecap on my way to the john, which would not have been my fault the way I see it. I need to try the food. Looks and smells excellent, though. I'll go back. A rooftop deck is slated for next summer which should be great, but the neighbors will hate it, mark my words.
10-17-2010 15:29:53 |
More by MNJR
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3 | $$
A really cool place that is finding its way. The beer list and events are INSANE. The patio upstairs is one of the most beautiful spaces I have ever seen. It is an instant establishment. However, sometimes it feels like the place is trying too hard. Don’t get me wrong, if you are visiting Chicago you absolutely need to visit this neighborhood and stop here, Half Acre Taproom, and Bad Apple.
I’ve had some really odd experiences here. I can’t remember ever liking my food (on 15+ times ordering food here). The chefs have changed a few times, and most recently I was very excited about the new chef who used to own a deli I frequented, but a burger I ordered recently was a fail. Another odd experience here was when a friend of mine asked for "another beer that is similar to the one I am drinking, but not the same beer" because he wanted to explore their expansive beer list. He was drinking a $7 draft, and the server showed up with an open $30 750mL bottle as the "similar" beer. The beer was good and the style was spot on. That wasn’t the problem. The problem is how much of an awkward situation the server put us in. It’s simply unacceptable. I hope those anecdotes don’t deter you from at least trying Fountainhead, but I also hope you are able to get past how weird this place can be so you can enjoy the very impressive beer list, whiskey list, and decor. P.S. If you like this place, check out it’s "older brother" bar, "the Bar on Buena". All the good, but much smaller and neighborhoody.
08-05-2013 03:16:56 |
More by Fluffheady
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Fountainhead is like a dark cave, occupied by new yuppies in suits and Stepford wives out for a night on the town. The place may have had food, it may not have. Once I saw Cantillon on-tap, the waitress/waiter/whomever could've been glowing purple with three heads and sixteen eyes, I probably would not have noticed. The Cantillon was ridiculously good. After nursing a couple down, I switched up to Hanssen's Oude Gueuze cask; the server brought me a full pint! I almost fainted from the potency of that particular Oude Gueuze; it is one of the most puckeringly sour things I have ever had. The tap list is amazing, the beer selection is phenomenal. I will definitely be back.
05-12-2011 00:36:38 |
More by ktrillionaire
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$$
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 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Pretty top notch gastropub near Lincoln Square.
The dark wood and lights have the inside looking slightly like an updated monastery.
The staff is nice, bartenders are happy to offer a taste or make recommendations. These guys have a great selection with decent bottles. I thought they really shined on the taps, offering Saison Du Buff, a number of 3 Floyd's (Apocalypse Cow, Dreadnaught, Moloko on beer engine!), some Victory brews I haven't seen before (Scarlet Moon, Scarlet Fire) and a number of other random taps in cluding Avery's Karma and Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Wild.
Additionally the food is pretty good and reasonably priced. At first glance one might expect the food to be about $3-4 more expensive but $19 for some heft pulled pork slides and a couple of beers is not bad at all.
Keeping in mind it seems to be as much restaurant as bar could make for some aggravating weekends.
09-22-2010 19:42:52 |
More by TheStove
« first ‹ prev
Fountainhead 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