Best selection of Belgian styles in the city. Can get crowded at night, and is probably out of the way for many people. Map Room probably has a better overall selection, but if youíre in the mood for Belgian, this is the place. We usually top of the night with a Polish mead.
It took me a year of living in Chicago before I made my way here. If youíre driving from the Western Suburbs, itís not the easiest place to get to as itís 3 1/2 miles East of I90, which itself is congested virtually 24-7. Parking at 3:30pm on a Saturday wasnít really a problem though as there were several metered parking spots available on Clark St. (50 cents for 2 hours). The El is your better bet even if it takes a little longer. This is a fairly large place with nice brick interior. They close the back area and upstairs until dinner hour when I understand the place gets packed. I saw at least one group of five leave because they couldnít find seating in the front bar area at around 4:30pm. The upstairs section is perfect for private parties. They will apparently provide you with up to 5 tap beers of your choosing for a flat fee. Thereís an area in back that would be perfect for an outdoor patio, but they donít use it as such. Too bad. 24 American craft brews on tap and another 16 draught imports. They keep their online draught list updated. The list is obviously selected with care and changes. A must visit for any beer geek. Probably only about a 25 minute el ride north from the loop.
I really liked this establishment. The ambiance is that of an upscale restaurant situated behind a well-stocked bar. The bar has a selection that could keep you busy for weeks. The service was a tad lacking. The bartender was nice and knowledgeable yet the waitress needed some education. The food was great yet over-priced. Overall, a must see when in Chicago.
Stopped in on a Saturday afternoon for the first time, and really enjoyed the place. Bartenders were friendly, and even went out of their way to help my wife who was drinking wine. Cozy place with comfortable neighborhood vide, obviously the great beer list, my only complaint is I could not stay to sample the food.
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.