When it first opened, Fountainhead quickly jumped up to the top spot on my list of beer destinations in the city. Great food, a creative and ever-changing beer list, good beer prices, quiet atmosphere, and I even became friends with some of the servers. Some of the events that they hosted were inventive and interesting, providing yet another reason to come in.
Lately, though, most of what I liked about it has fallen off. The word has gotten out about Fountainhead, and now even during the week it can be a struggle to get a table. This, of course, is not something they should look to change, as the goal of the business is to be as popular and make as much money as possible. From my perspective, though, I liked having a quiet retreat with a stellar beer list, and the quiet retreat part of that went away.
The real difference has been with the beer list, events, and pricing. While they seemed to get beers no one else was getting for a time, the other top notch beer bars in Chicago have caught up. At the same time, Fountainhead has slowly raised their prices from "wow, that’s a pretty good price" level to "hmm, all these beers seem like they are $1 more than they should be" level.
They also have not really changed their menu in a while, and it seems like they are turning over kitchen and waitstaff frequently. With the different changes that, from my perspective, all seem to be for the negative, Fountainhead just doesn’t have the draw it used to.
A pretty solid beer bar. Has a dark, brown bar appearance. A very nice tap list and larger bottle list. Bartender served us the wrong beer, but was friendly about it and offered a new one. Tried with Brandon after AHEH in 2017.
Dark old building has a nice feel. Decent beer list, but didn’t see anywhere near 100 bottles, maybe I wasn’t given that list. OK service if you’re from Chicago, unfortunately I’m not. Menu was the typical pub grub.
I like this place. Old fashioned bar feel to it. I’ve never seen this many scotch bottles in one place. Everything is done in dark wood.. Feels warm and homey... Anyway.. On to the beer. A very nice selection of taps.. Lots of quality. Huge bottle list and they have a rare list as well. Service was prompt and friendly.
As a party of four, we arrived on a Tuesday night, there was a short wait to get a table on the roof, so we had drinks at the bar. Downstairs has the wider beer selection, so having a drink before dinner was the best way to go. Lots of local and midwest beers available. The food was locally source and delish. We sat on the roof in June. Special note, there are awnings for the sun, which is appreciated by bald headed people like me! Service was a little better than ok and the prices are, well Chicago level.
This place is alright. If you look through some earlier reviews, it seems like it used to be more relaxed and less crowded but it’s going on a full head of steam now so expect it to be pretty full at times when most people go to the bar. The tap selection is great. They seem to have a good mix of local, regional and import beer. It is not just all IPAs and big neckbeard bait either. They keep a good mix of stuff for anyone who appreciates beer. I was kinda bummed I went in spring in they didn’t have a maibock on tap though, or a barleywine for that matter. There is also a rooftop patio w/ a seperate bar. It’s a nice place to sit on nice days but if you are going for the beer, the best selection is inside. It’s a nice place. It’s nowhere close to me but I’m glad I went up to check it out.
Was staying with a friend after GTMW and had a few days to spend in the city so I went north and hit up this place and Bad Apple. The tap list was pretty good here featuring a lot of locally made beers but also some more regionally distributed stuff like Bells. I ordered a couple of local beers that I hadn’t tried before and talked to the bartender about the new places opening up. Ambiance was nice but it was also not all that exciting. If I had some business here I might stop in more often but I don’t see this as a regular destination for me.
A really cool place that is finding its way. The beer list and events are great. 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 isn’t quite right. 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.
The chefs have changed here a few times, but I think they finally hit with Cleetus. Besides the food, this bar has always been a little bit of an awkward juxtaposition between being a bar and being a restaurant.
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.
One of the best bars in Chicago. A ton of bottles and tap selections, as well as cask options too. Bartenders are knowledgable. Food is great too. The only downside is that some of the stranger bottles, they never seem to have in stock. Why they don’t take them off the menu is surprising.