Map Room is definitely one of the main ídestinationí beer bars in Chicago, for good reason. Their tap list is diverse, and they have enough bottles that there is always something new to try. The bartenders are knowledgeable and friendly as well, making it a good spot for a few beers.
About half of the times I have been here I end up sitting at the bar, and I have usually had some good beer conversation with the bartenders there. However, a number of people I know have had less than pleasant experiences with the staff due to their lack of beer knowledge.
Sometimes, actual most of the time, the atmosphere here is a bit odd. There are some beer geeks, Bucktown locals, and hipsters all intermingling. The hipsters do not seem to interact well with anyone else. But I have no problems relaxing on a weeknight in a chill environment.
Normally I stay away on Friday and Saturday nights. The couple of times I have been here, it is impossible to get a beer and the scene is not what I want when I head to a beer bar.
A light Tuesday afternoon. Not many people in there but the barkeep handed me a beer menu as I walked in. She was courteous in the beer selections and helped me get to my next location. A few colorful patrons were very welcoming. What I like in a bar. Surly Furious on a beer engine. So tasty.
A favorite of mine for the past 10 years. The selection is pretty large, and changes constantly. Iíve always been able to find something new to drink here. Pricing is reasonable, parking is easy enough to find, and itís a comfortable place to be.
A few minutes walk from the blue line el station. The tap slection was about 10 crafts and 10 imports which is not huge but they have loads of bottles. Also serving up fresh brewed coffee all day. $3 bottomless cups! Great look inside with all the flags and ancient national geographics about. Prices are pretty decent for Chicago and staff is friendly and talkative. Nice stop while exploring the windy city.
One of my favorite beer bars. The selection is always great and it has a "dive bar" feel. A little too hipster, but that isnít their fault so I wonít ding them for that. Staff isnít the friendliest group, but they arenít assholes either.