Kuma’s is a unique beast, at least from the craft beer perspective.
They are known for their burgers, and for good reason. They are by far the best burgers I have ever had. Ever. But, due to space limitations and a huge demand, there is always a wait here. So this is not the type of place you just wander over to expecting to have a beer. Unless you want to have a beer while cramped in the corner waiting for over an hour until you get a table.
The atmosphere is, well, different. It is heavy metal themed, with blaring metal of the upmost intensity. I am a hard rock / metal fan, but I still need to be in the right mood to head here. The crowd is varied; there are not a ton of people coming in wearing suits, but there are people from every other walk of llife coming in. I have even been here as a vegetarian gave up on the vegetarian lifestyle after 5 years and devoured a 10 oz. burger.
The beer list is solid, and they change it up. Their philosophy is to try to have local beer available, but they will also have a few select choices from around the country as well. Normally they have about five choices on tap and thirty in bottles, and there is always something worth drinking. I tend to go for something in my "moderate" ABV range like Alpha King and let the burgers be the focus.
Goofy "metal" tinged spot though all i ever hear is stoner/sludge crap which is utter boring. The burgers are gordon foodservice type just with a bunch of crap thrown on, way tooo big to eat in a sitting, the beer list is usually nothing to write home about, service is hit or miss.
Heather and I hit this local burger legend while she was in town to see me Memorial Day weekend. It was muggy and 87° so the patio was full, but it was early enough on a Thursday that there was plenty of seating available in the dining room. She had a Zombie Dust, I had the Apex Predator. Heard at least three Misfits songs, Black Flag, and plenty of Slayer.... which influenced my final decision to get the Slayer Burger -- I mean how do you not go for a four-alarm garbage burger covered with chili, andouile, pepper jack, and two kinds of hot peppers... served bun-less on a bed of fries! Awesomeness. Solid beer list even if what they offer is a bit pricey. Heather had the Lair of the Minotaur to go with the Zombie Dust -- 3F’s would’ve been proud. Best background music to eat large chunks of ground beef to in the Meat Capital of the Midwest.
Dingy, crowded and noisy but in a good way. Loud metal music playing all the time, generally a long wait for a table. Burgers are some of my favorite in the world. Beer selection is solid. One of my favorites.
Kumas is the best burger place you will ever go to, hands down. However, their beer menu is rather expensive when considering other burger places in the area, although they do have some good relationships with local breweries such as Three Floyd’s, hence there may be beers on tap that you can’t get at other establishments. But seriously, this is the best burger place you will ever go to, it is worth going to if you go to Chicago.
Stopped in on a Saturday afternoon for a late lunch. We had an hour and a half wait and we got there at 2 PM, which I figured would be a weird enough time that we wouldn’t have to wait very long. Not true. There was a line when we got there and there was just as long of a line when we left. Maybe even longer. We parked a couple streets over in some residential type area. No meters. The music is pretty loud heavy metal, so be prepared. I didn’t mind it, but the wife was not a fan of that. For as long as it took to get in, it sure didn’t take very long to have our food in front of us. I think we were in the restaurant for a total of 30 to 40 minutes. They have several taps of beer and 4 taps of whiskey, which was pretty cool. The beer was craft only with several of them Chicago breweries. The waitress we had was pretty cool. Even though you aren’t supposed to be able to build your own burger, she helped my wife (who is one of the pickiest eaters on earth) put together a burger she would eat and didn’t end up charging the $2 per topping she said it would cost to do so. Once we had our burgers, I thought both of ours looked awesome. The fries were the best part of my meal. I wasn’t a huge fan of my burger, which was my fault. Mine had a lime cholula hot sauce on it, and it just didn’t end up being as good as I thought it would be. I think if I were a local, I would come here for a beer or two, but probably not to eat. Honestly, the burgers I make at home blow the one I had out of the water. Pricing is about in line with what I would expect. Two burger meals and waters were around $30.
I’ll admit - I avoided Kumas for a long time. I hate lines. I had also heard bad things from others, and for some reason I listened to it instead of listening to my gut. After all - my boyfriend and I have a track record of taming some of the surliest bartenders (cough ** Toronado). Anyhow. Our friends were in town and had heard a lot about Kumas. We went expecting to wait a long time, but, realistically, the wait was about a 45 minutes on a Saturday afternoon and we got drinks from the bar during the wait. The draft list is small but well thought out. The bottle list is great. The burgers are incredible. The service is stupendous. Absolutely nice people. (Don’t believe the music and - not kidding - the Shining playing on the TV). Lovely people (ha, they probably cringed at that word). Great bar. If you haven’t been here, GO. But go on a weekday afternoon. The negatives of this place are summed up in our experience with a man who ran up to the hostess after our party of 6 was sat. He was insisting that he and his 5 year old son were there before us. Whether he was right or wrong, we were sat at a 6 top, and he only had a party of 2. F*** that guy for not only yelling at a really nice hostess but also yelling at other customers. However, when a place is this famous, crap like this happens. Go when it’s not busy so you can enjoy it. You ratebeerians probably know better, though.
Great burgers...fine selection of local Chicago beers...great decor and vibe...that’s the pluses. The negatives...can easily & often be a long wait...with likely no place to really wait...and the music may or may not be too loud for you even if a metal fan in the small place while probably eating faster than you’d like. Given the wait to get in...I’m not going to say they rush you out...just that you really don’t feel like this is the place to take your time and be leisurely.