emerge077 (129) RIP Johnnies, Chicago, Illinois | March 12, 2014
64 AMBIANCE 3/5 SERVICE 5/10 SELECTION 12/15 FOOD 3/10 VALUE 5/10 OVERALL 12/20
2013: Stopped in here and the first 2 beers I tried to order were out, so I left.
They are trying to rotate interesting drafts, but there is stiff competition in the neighborhood. Village, Northdown, Green Lady, and Four Moon are all first choices.
Ah, the Riverview... we hardly knew ye...
This tavern is basically the last existing tribute to the Riverview amusement park (1904-1967) that once stood nearby at Western and Roscoe. It pays tribute with itís prominent, elaborate wooden signage and also with various historical artifacts on display inside (posters, signs, even parts from an old motorcycle ride in the back room).
The bar is recently under new management, meaning a new menu and beer list. Also "kids eat free" happy hour banners outside to appeal to the many affluent families of Roscoe Village. In fact, all tables in the dining area had kids, so itís a kid-friendly place, moreso than most area bars. Honestly iíd never set foot in here before after living nearby for the better part of a decade, due to their obnoxious weekend clientele and limited beer options. Now theyíre competitive with other nearby beer bars, but still appeal to families by day and a post-college fratty crowd by night. Just not my scene, glad there are other options nearby.
Beer selection was really good, there were 4 Stone taps from a "most bitter bar" event, and only a couple locals like Revolution Anti-Hero and Green Line. Printed bottle list was on the back of the menu, and broken out by style. Organization is always a plus, including style, abv, and prices. Beers ranged from $4 for Budweiser to $22 for Oro De Calabaza. Many craft staples and a good range of styles, including a few sour ales for the more adventurous (Boon Oude Gueuze & Jacobins Rouge). "Seasonal/Limited" section was pretty passable (Summer Solstice, Cerise, Ska Mexican Logger). They keep their list updated on beermenus, also a plus. It shows that someone put some effort into their list.
Food was limited to an appetizer at the bar, but it was alright. Sadly the excellent Robey Pizza Co. next door (same management and shared menu) was replaced with another list of $16-18 faux-neopolitan pizzas (which I gave a couple tries earlier, thus the 3.0 for food). Robeyís used to have some unique ingredients like prosciutto, marinated tomatoes, goat cheese, artichokes, steak, and always a crispy crust. Riverview Brick Ovenís margherita we had recently was sparse on ingredients and the pesto one was also soggy in the center. Not planning to get pizza here again sadly, after ordering Robeyís on a semi-weekly basis (RIP).
Service was adequate, although we were asked for a credit card before ordering to start a tab... and were the only ones at the bar. Waters were refilled and the bartenders were ok. The crowd really varies here... its worth a stop on a neighborhood pub crawl, but not really a destination.