Top 5 Chicago bars serving above-average food

March 31, 2011


Grabbing a beer and a shot in Chicago is easy. But it seems like every other neighborhood bar has the same menu these days: (fill in the blank) sliders, "flatbreads" (a.k.a. weak pizza) and that ubiquitous duo - beets with goat cheese and/or some form of pork belly. 

But there are bars in Chicago where the kitchen takes its side of the bargain more seriously; where chefs have either consulted on the menus or are executing the dishes themselves. These five all take creative approaches to bar food, and offer delicious companions to the craft beers that often steal the show. I've added one dish (parenthetically), that I think is a worthwhile investment.

1. Hopleaf - 5148 N. Clark St., 773-334-9851 (mussels & frites)
2. Rootstock - 954 N. California, 773- 292-1616 (chile-braised pork shoulder, grits & collards)
3. Paramount Room - 415 N. Milwaukee Ave., 312-829-6300 (steak tartar, pictured above)
4. The Old Oak Tap - 2109 W. Chicago Ave., 773-772-0406 (fish taco trio)
5. The Skylark - 2149 S. Halsted St., 312-948-5275 (grilled tuna sandwich with horseradish aioli)
Honorable mention: The Village Tap - 2055 W. Roscoe St., 773-883-0817; Tiny Lounge - 4352 N. Leavitt St., 773-463-0396
To see a slideshow of Joseph Storch's other photos from The Paramount Room: