Maria’s is the bar that I credit with jump starting my craft beer addition and hobby. It was a cool night several years ago when I went to Maria’s for the first of many times and discovered Three Floyds Zombie Dust on draft for the first time. That was all I needed to become hooked.
I’ve been back several times since then and each time they have a complete different set of beers on draft displayed on their epic chalkboard as well as a giant bottle list. The front area is a liquor store and always has great craft beer choices. I highly recommend Maria’s during the week but be prepared for madness on the weekend with crowds, etc. Cheers to Maria’s and everything that they do!
Stopped in finally before a homebrew club meeting. Unassuming store front that looks like a boutique liquor store. You can hear the noise in the back from the store and you realize that the big wooden door leads to one of the best bars in the city. Again, completely unassuming. Fantastic beer selection with 10 carefully selected taps and 200+ bottles. Contrary to what emerge said, this is THE best bar south of the loop and probably top ten in the city. Fantastic ambience and a neighborhood crowd. Awesome awesome place.
Maria’s is one of my favorite bars in Chicago. Located in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago. They have a small but great selection of beers on tap, all of the microbrews. They also have a large selection of bottles and cans, most of them micro and craft brews. a family owned business with an eclectic field to it. One of the most unique places in Chicago, the front part is a liquor store and you have to enter the bar through what looks like a refrigerator door. They have a summer outdoor patio and they have a DJ on the weekends.
emerge077 (131) RIP Johnnies, Chicago, Illinois | October 4, 2010| Updated November 22, 2010
Marias is so unlike any other bar in town. Located in the sleepy residential locale of Bridgeport, alleged "Community of the Future", home to one crazy asian f.k.a. Jay23.
What looks like a small corner liquor store at first glance becomes a back room speakeasy once you swing the hefty wooden door set into the back wall.
The bar itself is a modest size, 6-8 tables for four in the back, with a tiny dj alcove, and ten seats at the bar. The bar room is presided over by a large mounted deer head and bearskin, lots of natural wood tones, with a vintage back bar housing the liquor selection. In the restrooms there are vintage beer cans mounted on the walls. Low light emanated from brown bomber bottle chandeliers above the bar, reflecting off the brown tin ceiling tiles.
Service was good, Ed let us know right away what taps had been replaced, and directed us to the chalkboard above the bar for the most current selections. 10 rotating taps, all US craft in various styles (excluding $1.50 Schlitz). Beer list was extensive, and available online at beermenus. Rotating taps included Founders Porter, Reds Rye, DFH 90 Min., FFF Pride & Joy, Allagash White, Scrimshaw Pilsner, and others. They were one of ten bars in town to get a keg of Nemesis, which was $5 for 8 oz (gone now). Beer list was organized by style, and for drafts there were descriptions and ABV listed. The menu stated that they update their printed list twice a week
The store was small but held some quality stuff, FFF bombers, Hop Rocket, Wild Onion Pumpkin sixers, Hitachino, Duvel Tripel Hop. At the counter, Maria the owner offered us some homemade fried green tomatoes that were delicious. Also of note was the "Bars Across America" bike tour book for sale on top of the cooler.
This is truly a unique family-owned establishment, quirky and in a class all it’s own.
Nov. 2010: Expanded beer menu (+100) and "beer style glossary" included. High end single malts, sake list, plus some really creative cocktails too. I award Maria’s the following honorable distinction: Best South Side Beer Bar (excluding South Loop Binnys, technically a store). Highly recommended...
crossovert (86) Chicago, Illinois | August 31, 2016| Updated January 26, 2017
Probably the closest good beer bar to my place. Big selection, heavy on Marz beers, not the cheapest place. They’ve opened a food counter next door and its good street food. Service is generally pretty decent. It has a small biergarten in back, its a decent place. There is also a bomber-centric store in front which is quite pricey.
Edit: This place was just named best bar in chicago. While I enjoy coming here for the most part, it isn’t even close. One time i took my out of town buddies there and they insisted on buying some rev ba beer from the cellar. It was infected. What bar that can be called "best in town" stocks infected beer at a high markup? Sure they rectified the situation but also admitted they knew the beers were infected.
Wish I could give this more than an 5 for ambiance. There is something very Old Chicago speak-easy about walking behind the counter of the bottle shop into the dark, cozy bar. Always a highlight for visitors. Solid beer list. Reasonable prices. No food, but order take out from Pie Shop next store and they will bring it to you (great meat pies and scotch eggs). Looking forward to the new Marz space next door opening.
Frank (91) Chicago, Illinois | September 1, 2010| Updated December 1, 2010
Heck yes! A beer bar in my hood and a good one. This place used to be Kaplan’s Liquors and was a community staple old man bar/liquor store for many years before being renovated once into a nicer bar, still named Kaplan’s and now re-renovated and christened Maria’s. I will put out a warning that part of the crowd this is people in their twenties who are into art and music or, more bluntly, hipsters. It is run by the same people who run are the same as the local art gallery/"experimental community center", Co-Prosperity Sphere. That said, it is no kind of cooler-than-thou atmosphere of the type you run into in bike messenger bars and the like up North. There was also a good smattering of Bridgeport locals, including, to my amusement, one of the owners of another local tavern. The taps were good but, honestly, nothing special for the city, standard but universally good offerings from Bells, Floyds, two Brothers, Lagunitas and Founders plus a token tap of Schlitz, in tribute to their divey past. The bottle selection was rather large and of about equal quality. Prices were in line w/ Chicago in general, running about $4-6.50 for craft brew pints. I did notice some of the bottle prices were rather cheap though. I got a bomber of Three Floyd’s for the same price it cost at Binny’s which was nice. They also have a small store up front from which you can buy packaged six packs of craft brew. It is cheaper than carry-out from a bar normally is but still more expensive than a normal beer store. The bar was tended by one of the proprietors who seemed to be a generally nice and good humored fellow and legitimately excited about the direction the bar was taking. Overall, my only major complaint was they lacked taps from some of the up and coming brewers in the city, esp. Half Acre and that is pretty minor all things considered. My rating for this place might be a little inflated on account of my excitement of finally having a good beer bar local to me but, if it is, only slightly slow. This was a really cool place to hang out and there was good beer, what more can you want?
The front is a bottle shop with an excellent selection of craft beer, and then through the back is a nice bar with a dive feel. Lots of craft beer on tap, and a decent bottle selection. Fairly priced. No food, but the food shop next door will hand deliver right into the bar. Fantastic place.