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Clark Street Ale House
Taps: 25 / Bottles: 50
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar ]
742 N Clark St
phone: (312) 642-9253
Monday - Thursday: 4pm - 4am
Friday - Saturday: 4pm - 5am
Sunday: 5pm - 4am
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 88
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Yeah, I know they were closed the day before when I came here, but I'm going to give them a chance to redeem themselves, 'cause I'm good like that. After dinner, I led a group of 8 to Clark Street for another go around. I mapped it out. It's exactly 6 blocks this way and then 6 blocks up. They're shortish blocks, it's no big deal, it's completely walkable. We'd get (like) 2 blocks this way and a block up and Scotty B would be all bitching, "Where is this place already?" "Um, okay, 4 blocks this way and 5 up". Another block this way and 2 blocks up, "Where is this place already?!?!?" Um, okay, 3 blocks this way and 3 up". Another 2 blocks this way and a block up, "Where is this place already?" "Jesus Christ!!! It's a block this way and 2 blocks up!!!!" Another block this way and 2 blocks up and we were nearly there, he started yapping again, I could see the place, I just stopped answering him...
25 taps and a cask (Bells Two Hearted). It took me about, oh I don't know, like .000010200320 seconds to decide that I'd have the cask, please. Like the Hopleaf, they have a good collection of micros regional (a pair each of Bells, 3 Floyds & Summit, 5 beers from 2 Brothers including the Clark Street Ale which they contract brew and offerings from Goose Island, Great Lakes, Capital & Stoney Creek) and beyond (Rogue, Anderson Valley, Allagash, Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams) as well as Guinness and Harp for (some) effect. Hey, check this out. They do a 3 beer sampler of 5 ounce pourings for $3. You get to try some really good stuff for next to nothing. They're also packing a good collection of bottles just in case you don't like great taps. A bunch of offerings from Bells, Rogue, DogFishHead, Anderson Valley, Summit, Pioneer and a handful of macros and wah wah imports.
Somewhat English pubby with wood walls with exposed brick uppers, pressed tin ceiling, ceiling fans, a dozen bar tables towards the front and a half dozen to the rear adjacent to the bar amidst bar counters and a large old beer mural on the back wall. Wood bar seats more than a dozen with mirrored back bar shelving, big wood units and TV's above the bar. A large wine rack in the corner displays shirts and hats. Spot lighting, red lanterns and red candles. Beer signs and placards, a great CD jukebox and Phil's golf game.
Service was real good. Bartender knew his beer and even fed us some mead. He explained that the private party that had the place closed the day before when me and Shell came by, was their holiday party, an event that I have deemed "legit". I just want you to know, yes, you personally, I want YOU to know that I have officially forgiven them. It's important to me that you know that we're all good now.
02-06-2005 21:03:48 |
More by slander
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | $$
Always worth a stop in the River North area. It's an oasis from the chi-chi elements of the neighborhood. Fairly down to earth crowd, a little noisy after work, but weekends are pretty pleasant. Last weekend we had the beer garden all to ourselves, which was pretty nice. There was even a hop bine growing on the edge of the patio. Brewing-themed murals on the back wall. Very classy dark wood interior, elements suggest an old-time "ale house" how it may have looked a century ago. Luckily the selection is contemporary.
Midwest theme to the selection, and that's where Clark St. shines.
Always a 3 Floyds or 2 Brothers seasonal or specialty on tap. Cask ale on the last visit was 2 Bros. Bitter End. Also enjoyed a draft Fantabulous Resplendence served in a snifter. There are a number of Wild Blossom meads in small bottles available here (five +1 not on the menu), which I haven't seen elsewhere. Selection is highly focused on US craft beer and regional stuff, if you were expecting something else, expect to be disappointed. Chalkboard is fairly current, look for the printed menus laying around for the most current selection. Bourbon & Scotch selection here is also top notch.
The owner can usually be found tending the bar, and gives good reccomendations. Service is always quick and friendly. They have hosted beer related events in the past, such as the release party for 2 Brothers 10 Kriek. This beer bar seems to be a popular destination for travelers staying downtown...be sure to also hit Rock Bottom & Binny's while in the area.
2011: Farmhouse has recently opened nearby, and is a great place to eat before hitting Clark St. Ale House.
09-11-2007 00:52:48 |
More by emerge077
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I stopped here after a show at the House of Blues. Typically in Chicago I go to the Map Room or Hopleaf but the Clark Street Ale House is a solid destination downtown. There were about 25 beers on tap, including 1 cask (3F Alpha King). All drafts were $5-6 which is about the same as other places in town. When I stopped the beers were mostly US craft beers (Three Floyds, Two Brothers, Rogue, and Victory are the ones I remember). Nothing too rare on the night I stopped in but still solid choices, and I'll never pass up Alpha King on cask. I didn't check the bottle list but expect it's solid as well. The place is a little smaller than I'd expected, about the same size as the Map Room with wood and dark lighting, baseball on TV.
06-24-2009 11:13:44 |
More by TurdFurgison
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
This was our second stop our Sunday 8/26/2007 Chicago pubcrawl. We got there at 5:30 and the front door was locked. The sign said it opened at 5:00. As we stood there scratching out heads, the bartender opened the door and said he forgot. We had a good laugh. The atmosphere was dark in this place, but the beer decorations on the walls were cool. The bartender was a really good guy, hooking me up with some beer samples, a free Chicago beer guide, and some good directions. Great selection of Midwest beers here. I tried the 3 Floyds GumballHead and the 2 Brothers Domaine DuPage Saison. Both very nice. My wife had the Great Lakes E. Fitzgerald porter. Great taste. This bar was dog friendly, so we sat near a pug drinking water from a rocks glass on the bar, and when we moved outside to the beer garden (a fenced-in patio), we had a beagle to play with. On the way out, it was good to see BA mags stacked at the door. This was our favorite spot of the day. A great place to visit.
08-31-2007 00:23:59 |
More by morebeergood
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
atmosphere: pretty low key for a friday night, though people started to come in around midnight. For a bar situated very close to the shopping district and tons of hotels this place seemed to be filled with locals. smoking allowed, at least for the time being, and they had those nifty smoke zappers on the cieling so it wasnt real smoky at all. beer garden out back is a little dark with no view
service was fine. waitress knew the beer and was prompt.
selection: pretty impressive although some items from the beer list were not in stock (rogue imperial, bells batch 6000). Cask conditioned two hearted was glorious. I started and ended the night with this one. Bells amber and oberon on draft with a bunch more bottled (dopplebock, expedition, pale, third coast old ale, sparkling ale, and a few more). Complete dogfish line but the prices were kind of bizzarre. Shelter pale bottle costs more than immort, aprihop, and raison?!?! Surely you jest. Bunch of rogue bottles as well. Sierra big foot on draft but the rest was pretty standard (goose island, 3floyds alpha king, capital, etc)
07-19-2005 20:02:44 |
More by dirtylou
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
I was in town for business a block away at Moody Bible College and took advantage of the logistics to make a long-overdue visit to Clark St. Ale House.
Really nice historic and well decorated interior. Probably one of the nicest atmospheres for a beer bar I can recall.
As far as beers go, they have a great selection of regional beers but nothing uber rare like one may find at Publican, Map Room, or Hop Leaf. I checked the beer menu online in advance and had my heart set on a Capital Maibock as I'm currently brewing that style. Upon arrival, they were out so I consulted the chalk board and was told the printed menu was more up to date. I settled for the Three Floyds Alpha King.
I managed to misplace my notes of beer available. One thing I do remember is the bottle list had GI Bourbon County Stout and DFH WW Stout (for $12 a bottle which is a steal for a bar in Chicago - I pay $9 for a bottle in Kentucky).
The place was pretty empty and two people had brought their dogs in and let them run around which I thought was cool/European.
This is the kind of beer place you could easily take a group of non beer geeks if you were downtown Chicago for a conference or some event. It's close and has a very good line up.
03-11-2011 19:42:18 |
More by Yetiman420
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
With limited time on a business trip to Chicago, I had to choose wisely from among a long list of possibilities. I am very glad I picked this place, which was just a brisk walk from my hotel in the Loop.
Great atmosphere for a bar. Not quite divey but not scrubbed clean. A long straight bar on the left, some table on the right. A very comfortable and welcoming vibe with a modest sized Thursday night crowd.
A couple dozen taps and a moderate but high quality bottle list. I was happy to have two all time favorite beers on draft for the first time: Alpha King, followed by Furious. Both lived up to my high expectations.
This bar would be high on my regular rotation if I lived anywhere near here.
11-05-2009 16:51:11 |
More by sholland119
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
After the map room, I mosied on down here to meet up with some friends and go out for pizza (mmmm chicago pizza). Anyways, after the magic of the map room, this place didn't shine as bright as it could have. Atmosphere was nice. Kinda English/Irish pub-style with a nice dark wooden bar, and pretty good juke box (yay for the clashs london calling). The quality of my cask two hearted was pretty nice and the selection was nice as well, but definately lacking when compared to the hop leaf and the map room (especially in the bottled department). Service was fast and friendly though and all in all this place is a damn good bar. Tons of stuff on tap, just like the other two Chicago heavy-hitters. Definately check it out when you are in the lower clark street area of Chicago. Take note: Opens at 4pm.
07-07-2005 22:42:57 |
More by francisweizen
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I have been here a bunch of times and was kind of surprised I have never reviewed it.
The Ale House has a classic bar set-up. It is roomy with seating for about 20 at the bar and plenty of large and small tables for groups. Small patio in the rear adds to the ambiance.
They concentrate on American Micros and the tap choices (25 or so) are well thought out with a good variety of both brewers & styles represented. I do find it a bit surprising that they offer limited choices from FFF & GI, but what can you do? They are good about rotating in new beers, so every time you go, there are several new options to try.
They also offer a decent bottle list. You should have no problem finding an old or new favorite. Prices are reasonable for the area.
Tap lines are well maintained and they serve the beer in the correct glass type.
The bartenders are friendly and professional. Can easily "speak beer" and will give you samples.
Usually not overly crowded. The crowd is a friendly mix of locals, regulars and travelers.
Well worth a stop and its convenient to many hotels & the Red Line.
06-26-2009 16:25:07 |
More by Redrover
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
The Clark Street Ale House feels like your ordinary neighborhood bar but a few highpoints do stand out:
1.They put Free Pretzels on all the tables
2.Sample glasses are available and cheap (three 4 oz glasses for three bucks I think)
3.One Cask Offering
4.I had my first Victory Imp Stout there
5.Great Big Neon Sign in front that says something like, DRINK HERE
Prices are reasonable, staff is friendly, and there's a good tap selection. The downside includes a lack of imports and a small but solid bottle selection.
01-30-2006 20:25:12 |
More by DaPeculierDane
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Clark Street Ale House in Chicago, IL
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