I was just there this past weekend. Great selection of Belgium beer, knowledgeable and helpful wait staff and bar tenders. While questioning a bartender about certain beers they offered samples to my friend and myself. Very good food also
Arnie (17) Chicagoland, IL, Illinois | August 2, 2006
I wasnít as impressed with the beer selection as I thought Iíd be, but thereís enough of a variety that everyoneís happy. I was impressed by the Belgian selection; itís a shame Iím rarely impressed by Belgians (beers). Had my first Rauschbier, an interesting experience that went very well with my Rabbit Stew. All in all, Iíd say "check it out." Itís worth the time, have dinner, even if it can be pricey.
The hop leaf is always crowded on the weekends but order some food and you can usually get a seat pretty quick in the back. One of the best selections of beer in the city, more Belgians than anywhere and a lot of good micros. A little pricier than the maproom but at least thereís more seating and if youíre with people who arenít into beer they can definitely find something too.
Definitely a good selection of Belgians and US micro. The frites and aioli were tasty. The clientele is young for the most part. Itís also nice to hit up after a Cubs game when everyone else is trying to catch the L south back into town, you can ride it north a couple of stops and find yourself here. The staff is fairly cold, so donít worry about having an annoyingly over-attentive wait staff.
Itís all about the beer and this place is all about beer! When I went in 2003, this was the only place in the U.S. where one could purchase a bottle of Girardin Geueze Black Label.... period! Excellent selection.
Not much more can be said that hasnít been said already. Crowded on Saturday night? Yes. Good selection? Definitely. Study the draft and bottle menus from home, take a cab, prepare to stand in a line or two and donít expect the bartenders to babysit. (For me, seeing those little white bottles of Gulden Draak staring at me longingly from the coolers was enough to ilicit some fairly high numbers!)
redlem (77) Ohio | February 6, 2006| Updated February 24, 2007
I find one of the best ways to get a good impression of a bar is to go there when they first open up or are ready to close. I have done both with the big 2 in Chicago ( Maproom and Hopleaf) and I have to say that of the two I prefer the Maproom. The difference for me would be a general impression of the two places. The Maproom they are happy to serve and talk beer with you, at the Hopleaf it seems you are lucky that they sell beer to you.
An impressive selection of beer with the Belgian influence being more toward the bottles as the tap selection has a larger selection of U.S. micros. While the presence of Tripel Karmeliet on tap raises Hopleaf to very high standards I have recently seen The Point Pale Ale there also which goes for $3.99 a sixpack and is a below average WI micro and I have to believe that someone took some money under the table to get that beer a big write up in the beer menu, please. Sorry, tangent, nice diplay of proper glasses, which I dont know if they ever get used. If you are in the area it is a good beer bar, are there better places, yes, as I have to agree with The_Enemyís view on the type of clientele in the area. Weekends are very crowded and as a sidenote the city will tow any car parked on Foster after 3 A.M.( as a buddy of mine warned). Still a quality bar, not to be missed when visiting CHI.
Place was crowded on this rainy Nov. 11 night, after FoBAB. Excellent selection of Belgian and good tap selection. Was in the mood for Flem Sour so ordered Monkís Cafť. Managed to get a standing spot. Good efficient service, and reasonable prices. Menu was definitely interesting.
Enormous selection of Belgian beers (look at website). Though if you donít know much about Belgian beers youíre pretty much guessing which one to get. Gets kind of crowded. Thereís a bar area with some tables and then a small restaurant area that serves food. Apparently there is an upstairs bar area with limited beers. The selection of domestics is lacking with some undesirables. There were some good ones though, e.g. expedition stout, alpha king, bellís double cream stout. Food menu is weird. not your typical bar food.
TheEnemy (44) Chicago, | December 13, 2005| Updated March 1, 2006
Like the rest of the Andersonville neighborhood around it, Hop Leaf has lost a lot of its funky/artsy vibe to the yuppie invasion that inevitably follows whenever the progressive/indie crowd initiates the revitalization of any given neighborhood. (See also: Lakeview, Roscoe Village, Wicker Park, Bucktown, North Center/Lincoln Square. Next up: the Wilson/Lawrence/Broadway corridor of Uptown.) Converting from bar-only to full-service kitchen has almost certainly accelerated the process. It appears some (not many) concessions have been made in the tap selection to appease the more general and less beer-centric crowd that has started to frequent the Leaf. Bottle selection remains uncompromised. Servers often seem like theyíd rather chew industrial diamonds than humor patrons, even when not busy. Still a top beer destination in Chicago but now a distant second to the Map Room which has more successfully defended its Bohemian vibe against the Yuppie onslaught.