Selection: 4.5 | Service: 3.75 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Food: 4.5 Eve the Great's(14) Overall Score: 85.0
Beer is good, flavorful, consistent, high in alcohol, yet smooth. Many lean towards Belgian or similar. They typically have a good selection (5-8 of their beers to choose from and nice guest taps).
Pizza is great (for non-Chicago thin crust).
No parking (or not likely to find it), but close to el train stop (perfect! high alcohol + smooth = train).
CROWDED (popular, remember?). If you can check it out on a weekday or lunchtime, that is your best option. If you go for the weekend, prepare to wait, standing room only. But you can have a beer in your hand while you wait!! (Just make sure that drunk girl doesnt spill it as she shoves by to get to the restroom!!)
Unless they change it, there is a great carryout pizza + growler special on Sundays.
This place has been crowded since 2002. If you are going at night on the weekend good luck. It's possible to get in, but you will wait. It's a bit of a madhouse when it's crowded, so just be OK with that before going or you won't have a good time.
The pizza is pretty good if you like NY style. The pepperoni and banana pepper in red is good as well as the clam and bacon on white.
My favorite beer BY FAR is the Top Heavy Hefeweizen. This beer makes me talk funny every time I have it and if it is on tap I will order it every time I go in. The Top Heavy is one of the best Hefeweizens I've ever had and highly recommend it to anyone.
Stopped in for lunch, my preferred rendezvous time to visit Piece.
As others have said, the place is spacious but cluttered up with a dozen or so flatscreen TVs. Later weeknights and weekend evenings draw a crowd that leaves a lot to be desired. Try an afternoon, and you should still be able to hold a conversation. In warmer months, the giant picture windows open to the street, which is nice for ventilation.
Barstaff has been friendly on several occasions, my favorite would be the tall brunette with glasses. She knows their beer. Menus describe their taps, which is a plus. Beers are always fresh, so no complaints there. Guest taps usually have something appealing craft-wise, but i'll usually go for a house beer. Table service can be spotty, so -1/2 point there.
Lunch is the most economical time to go, where they offer individual size pizzas for $6 until 5pm. The Sunday special is also a good deal: Large pie and a Growler to go for $25. Santullo's up the street also has a happy hour on their pizza slices: $2 from 4-6pm. Good to hit there before drinking at Piece if you're on a budget.
edit 2008: Beer has always been fresh, and usually of high quality, so +1/2 point.
I was here on a Saturday night...zoo city. I was joining some friends for a birthday party, so we had a reserved table, which is good, because the line to get in was incredible. Very, very loud in here. This looks and feels like an upscale trendy sports bar rather than a brewpub.
The pizza was quite good, and plentiful. Give it a try.
Beers were very nice, all were smooth and well crafted to style. Nothing really unusual, but quality was consistent through-out. I would like to come back when they are not as crowded to enjoy things a bit more.
The beer was pretty decent. I tried one of their pale ales and was very satisfied. The service, however, was atrocious. The bartender over charged me and my friend. Furthermore, we were not allowed to sit at a table even though we were willing to drink our weights in beer. Apparently, profits from food outweigh profits from alcohol. Last, when we asked to speak to a manager, the bartender would not comply with our wishes.
Overall, the beer seems good, but it's not worth the hassle of bad customer service.
On a Saturday afternoon this place was a bit crowded. They had 7 beers for $1 each taster. It was nice inside but the smell of the pizza was throwing off the nose on all the beers. The beers themselves were not bad, not the best but I wouldn't mind going there again if I was in the area. They could have added another bar tender as well, we did have to wait a while because of all the people.
Update, went back and had another set of samples, ordered pizza this time. The beer I enjoyed, ended up getting their Porter and the Kolsch. I ordered bacon on the pizza, it looked like bacon, but it was either Canadian bacon, or really really cheap bacon, I didn't like the taste of it at all. Without the bacon though, the pizza was ok.
I actually like Piece, but it can be a complete Zoo if really crowded.
First, the beers are generally consistent. The Cameltoe IPA is my favorite, good hops and clean, but a strong beer, be careful. There Hefe is good as well. There are also 6-10 guest beers on tap also, usually a Belgian or two, Three Floyds, and perhaps other local beers.
The pizzas are good but can take awhile if it's crowded. They are freshly made to order.
Parking can be very difficult especially if you do not know the area. Most of the side street parking requires a local permit sticker.
Another good thing about Piece, is that the Map Room is a quick hop away, if you're beer-pubbing.
Beers are certainly hit or miss, but the pizza is consistently good. The Flat Iron Stout and Hop Heavy Hefeweizen rank as the better beers. Many of the experimental beers are a little too estery. Also, beers have been undercarbonated on occasion. Typically crowded and noisy, however you can carry out both the pizza and beer if you’re looking for a calmer atmosphere. Good place to watch a game and grab some 'za & beer.
Went to Piece with high expectations after visiting their website and seeing the awards their beer has won. I was not dissappointed as the beer here was very well done. Parking in the area is a pain as the first time I visited I went around the block a few times till I got a metered spot on the street. (make sure you have quarters as the meter wasn't taking anything else) The pizza here was good too, though there really isn't too many other options for food.
This is a great place to stop especially for a change from Chicago-style pizza. The thin crust and array of toppings make for some tasty eats. A red pizza with meatballs, banana peppers, and garlic is one of my favorites.
The house beers are always fantastic. I usually start with the Golden Arm (a koelsch) or an IPA before moving on to others. While it's unlikey, if you can't find a house beer to suit your tastes, the selection of guest beers should more than make up for it.
If the place is busy, service can suffer. Noise, whether it's music or the crowd, can also be an issue.
Parking can be a challenge. Given it's proximity to an "L" stop, most of the streets within two blocks require permits. The non-permit streets will fill up with residents and other patrons. Public transportation is nearby; the Blue Line "L" or the Damen, North, or Milwaukee buses are 1 block or less away. Cabs also frequent the area.
Located in the Wicker Park location, as some other people have mentioned, it isn't the easiest place to get to via public transit. Overall, also agree with the other reviews, the music in this place is really loud, so conversation isn't easy. It isn't an overly large place so if you don't go to eat it isn't easy to get a place to sit down and have your sampler. It has a Haight Ashbury feel, if you can deliver that in Chicago.
Food options are limited pretty much to pizza with a few other options.
The beer selection was ok, a couple of wheats, a kolsch, something they just call "dark bier" and a hoppy selection called Dyfunctionale. The last one was by far the best. Literature in the place indicated they had one best small brewery and a number of awards recently, but overall I found the beer fairly average.
After other entrepreneurs had faltered in their attempts to follow up the success of Goose Island [e.g.: Hopcats on Elston]; this brewpub figured it out. Get an expansive location in a burgeoning neighborhood (not one which had yet to 'flip'). It also helps if you have a celebrity co-owner.
Piece also was cognitive to cover its ass by offering guest beers on draft. Brewmaster Jonathan Cutler has shown distinctiveness in most of his recipes. I will remember the time he brewed an American-Style Malt Liquor [think "Olde English 800"], and served it in a small brown paper bag. It was better than I expected.
However your beer style preferences tilt, there will be a beer here of which you can consume multiple pints.
From most indications, this venue will get higher ratings now that the State of Illinois' smoking ban has gone into effect. The penultimate time I was here, it was so crowded (on a Friday night) at 7:30 pm that after 20 minutes of being unable to get close enough to the bar to place an order, I left here for another Bucktown bar for 2½ hours. After 10:10 pm, it was more manageable. There are a bunch of television sets tuned to a variety of satellite channels [DirecTV®]. I even espied GOL-TV [the bilingual 24-hour soccer channel] on one of them.
The venue *used to be* a participant in the 'AHA Pub Discount Program'. It has ceased being such. I keenly recommend telling your waitstaff there that it should reinstate.
The pizzas here are good. The 'New Haven'-style pizza is especially satisfying. (Regardless of what you specify for the pizza, try each of the shakers containing additional seasonings which will accompany it. I settled on the grated cheese.)
Is Piece a destination in and of itself? Yes. But, if you wind up in the Milwaukee | Damen | North neighborhood for some other establishment, you should stop in here.
Transit Options: Another massive incongruity of the CTA is that the #50 Damen bus, which could connect you to a number of beerworthy venues, ceases running at 10:00 pm (northbound) - 11:15 pm (southbound). If I was on the CTA Board, I would have this route running between (at least) the Brown Line “L” station [4700 N.] and the Pink Line's Polk station [800 S., 1730 W.] 24 hours a day.
The way out is the Blue Line “L”'s Damen station. The Blue Line is the 'distant cousin' of all the rapid transit lines. It has one connection to the remainder of the system. It is undergoing major track rehabilitation (on a 25-year-old section! - guess who felt she so urgently needed a public works accomplishment on her record before the next election that this was constructed so shabbily?). You might encounter single-track operation. On weekends, you might discover the line has been broken in two, and you will have to take a shuttle bus between the disconnected portions. Unlike the north side main line, there is nowhere else to reroute these trains.
The #56 Milwaukee bus runs until 1:40 am. The #72 North bus runs until 1:00 am.
This large as life brewpub situated in the heart of Wicker Park on the north side of Chicago has some robust beers, tasty pizzas, attentive service and very lively atmosphere.
You should have no problems finding this location if you are any bit familiar with Wicker Park. When we first walked in this location was hopping with patrons jabbering up, there was a hum about the place that was almost like a crowd roaring at a concert. A very good vibe came from this place and I got the feeling that most patrons and servers were very hip and cool. A lot of scruffy finger snappers with friendly attitudes.
The brewpub made beers served up were a wide range of styles from wheat beers to a porter and a fine stout and a few ambers and light brews too. There was a very nice selection of tap and bottle beers from micro domestics to macro imports also.
We ordered some pizza with a wide array of toppings and pigged out! The thin crust pizza was super and very tasty with our beers. I would for sure get a pizza here.
One thing that was not pleasing was that I really struggled to here the other people in my party that I was sitting with as the music was nice and loud! This can be a good or bad thing; good if you are there in the mood to rock out and don't have much to say or are alone, bad if you are there for conversation. I guess this quality may make this joint not-so family friendly.
Lots of smokers at this location made our choice to sit in the smoking section feel like we were intruding on the non-smoking section but not so after Jan. 1st in all of IL. Our service stopped to ask if we needed help many times which I liked alot.
Overall a great experience and I would for sure make a second visit.
Piece is located in a large converted industrial building. Their sign on the outside is a symbol, a "piece" sign in a circle.
The high arched ceiling has a row of skylights that allow in natural light. The bar dominates the space to the right. All throughout there are tall tables with high stools.
One of the owners is Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick fame. Normally, you can see his three neck and his five neck guitars prominently on display. On my last visit the five neck was not on display, Cheap Trick is back on tour.
The moment you walk in you will notice the enticing smells of garlic and yeasty dough. Many people consider this to be a pizza place and not a beer place. I on the otherhand fall into the latter catagory.
Jonathan, the brewer, is quite talented. The beers range through a vast array of styles. IPA, Irish Dry Stout, you name it. Where Jonathan really comes into his own is with his interpretations of Hefe-wiezens. His Top Heavy hefe wiezen is in a league all it's own. Dark and Curvy the dunkel-wiezen is no slouch either.
I always enjoy stopping in for a few pints of the seasonals, a white pizza with bacon, artichoke hearts and brocolli, and a re-fill of my growler.
Service can be a little slow from time to time with a single bartender. This place does cater to a large family clientele. Smoking is allowed within 15 feet of the bar, for now.
That's something I failed to mention earlier, the pizza. They do what they refer to as "New Haven" style pizza. This is not your traditional Chicago style deep-dish pie. Pizzas start out with a coating of olive oil and a fresh garlic. It works, it really works.
So stop on in for the pizza and stay for the beer or vice versa.
This place doesn't really feel like a brewpub. There is a huge bar on the right as you enter, and there are long high tables in the middle of the floor where many happy people seem to spend time enjoying pizza. The restaurant has a nice warehouse-y feel. There is a seating area behind some columns on the left side of the restaurant too.
The brewpub has 7 or 8 beers on tap usually, as well as a nice selection of craft and import drafts from other breweries (9 or 10 other taps). There is also a very small but nicely selected grouping of bottles from other breweries.
The staff at the bar is usually fairly attentive. Occasionally they are way too busy and you can have some issues getting good service. The bar area gets rather smoky (after 8 on a Saturday Night), and it is almost unpleasantly smoky near the end of the night. There is a non-smoking section, which might be a good idea if you're planning an evening visit. But honestly I suggest you hit Piece at lunch or early afternoon for the best experience.
The beers are always solid here. While they often have some very highly hopped beers available, you will also find some great German Style wheat beers or even a Belgian style or two. Piece gets a lot of recognition for their Hefe's and Dunkels, so look out for those.
If you are looking for Chicago style pizza you will not find it at Piece. If you like thin crust you'll definitely find something to enjoy. Also keep a lookout for the Chocolate Pizza. It's a great thing to order when you have a decent sized group of friends.
Piece is very close to the Damen Stop on the blue line.