Rock Bottom - Chicago

1 West Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60611, United States
(312) 755-9339
Latitude: 41.89148, Longitude: -87.62814


  • Monday: 7:30 AM 10:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 7:30 AM 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 7:30 AM 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 7:30 AM 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 7:30 AM 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 7:30 AM 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: 7:30 AM 10:00 PM
Wifi Available
Cask Beer
Indoor Smoking
Available Parking
Beer Pricing: $$$
Public Transit
Proper Glassware
Outdoor Seating
Family Friendly
Selection: 4.34 | Atmosphere: 4.02 | Service: 4.05 | Food: 4.00
out of 100
Overall Beer Mapping Score
Based on 11 reviews.
Score from Google Reviews:
out of 5
View Google reviews
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miori1230 (215)
Monday 9th of March 2015 06:55:09 PM
I stopped in here while looking for something light to eat late on a Sunday night when most other places were closed. I ordered some soup, which was pretty good but nothing special.

I also got a flight, and tasted their 5 staple beers (Kolsch, White Ale, IPA, Red, Brown), plus the rotating seasonal (Fire Chief Red). I'd grade all of them about average, if not a little below.

The service was fast and friendly, and the atmosphere was nice. But, In an area with so many good beers, Rock Bottom's mediocre offerings aren't something I'd look to order again. I did bump their "beer selection" score a bit because they did have beers from other breweries available also.
Selection: 3 | Atmosphere: 4 | Service: 4.5 | Food: N/A

barnes (7)
Wednesday 29th of December 2010 02:08:15 PM
I've been to other Rock Bottom locations a lot and been to this location a few times. Stopped by on New Year's Eve for a couple of pints before they closed for their party. Wide selection of stuff brewed here, including some barrel-aged stuff... very interesting, very cool. I had the imperial red, which was advertised basically as unpalatably hoppy, but I thought it was well-balanced. Also tried a dunkelweiss that was super light-bodied considering the style, yet somehow it worked.

My only complaint about this location is that the service on the roof is limited and they require that plastic cups are used -- management is nervous that drunks will throw pint glasses at pedestrians on the street below. If the roof were the same menu and beer rules as the restaurant, this location would be incredible.
Selection: 4 | Atmosphere: 4 | Service: 3.5 | Food: 4.0

dpaxson2 (74)
Monday 28th of June 2010 09:26:46 PM
I've been to this location a number of times over the last 8 years and usually I came away with the impression that it was part of the downtown tourist trap district. However, I was there in March and had a fantastic beer (I think it had Trout in the name, but I could be wrong. I'm having a hard time finding a named listing of beers online. I remember some kind of fish reference involved.) Anyway, two other people at the table really enjoyed that beer specifically. I'm not sure if that was the talent of the guy who just left to start Haymarket, but it was the first time I really took notice of the beer there. Hopefully they will continue releasing good quality beers.
Selection: 4 | Atmosphere: 3.5 | Service: 3.75 | Food: 4.0

emerge077 (360)
Friday 4th of June 2010 09:52:15 PM

New brewer is here now that Pete Crowley has moved on to create Haymarket. Stay tuned for updates...

Stopped here tonight for the purpose of trying some barrel-aged offerings, which there will be a series of 8 released starting Nov. 2007. A dry-hopped stout, winter warmer, and oatmeal stout were all pouring. These aren't available in growlers, so we decided to stop in for a beer. Had a new barrel-aged oatmeal stout ($6), and took home a growler of the 12th anniversary IPA ($8.75).

Service and atmosphere are much better at the bar than in the restaurant. If you're visiting from out of town and write the place off after one visit, you're missing out. The seasonals and one-offs are impressive and consistently good.

Original review:
The atmosphere is better than a TGI Friday's but not by much. Lots of staff dashing about, herding busloads of tourists and after-work groups. Daytime is a better atmosphere, more relaxed anyway. During the summer months, the rooftop garden is a nice option with a limited menu. The brew kettles are prominent right up front, on the left when you walk in. Bar is generally louder and slightly smoky, again daytime is not so bad.

The beers i've tried on various visits have all been fresh and of high-quality. Erik the Red, BA Coffee Porter last year, Saison, Hefe...all good. Usually a great seasonal offering.

Food is alright, not my favorite. Some tex-mex, bbq, southern salads, pizza, all things to all (American) people. Quality wise it's passable. Check it out if you're staying downtown, the beer is way above average for this chain.
Selection: 4.5 | Atmosphere: 3.5 | Service: 3.5 | Food: N/A

ddoyle (1)
Wednesday 30th of September 2009 04:35:37 PM

This person needs 3 or more reviews on the site for their scores to start counting.

I probably sinned - I chose to have my first ever pizza in Chicago at a Rock Bottom Brewery.

I had arrived late and was looking for a quick bite within walking distance of the hotel. Of course a fresh beer was the real priority!

Can't complain about the pizza however. The pepperoni was ample and the crust (albeit thin crust) was delicious.

The Belgian Rye IPA however was to die for. Light amber in color and crisp with a strong hoppy finsh. Needless to say I will be back for more. Turns out this location faired well at the recent GABF bringing home two medals as well.

Stop by for a Belgian Rye - you'll be glad you did!
Selection: 4 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Service: 4 | Food: 4.0

joelambic (46)
Wednesday 24th of June 2009 10:31:07 PM
Some people will roll their eyes when I suggest they stop here. I've been to quite a few Rock Bottoms across the country and this one is one of the best. It's hard to say it's _the_ best because there are other Rock Bottoms in the area that have been offering up some really good beers.

The beers at this location are always spot-on and the frequent tapping parties always present something new to try. The barrel-aged beers, when available, while pricey are worth trying.

The food is standard Rock Bottom fare. The burgers and steaks are pretty good and I'm also partial to the smoked chicken enchiladas.

Staff is friendly and fairly knowledgeable about the beer selection. Service is usually quite good but can suffer at times when they are busy; and this place can get very busy after work.

Atmosphere is great especially during the warmer months when the roof-top bar is open (even if we have to drink out of plastic cups).

Parking is available nearby but is expensive. Public transit or cabs are the best option. Just watch out for the Red Line construction just outside the entrance.

Update (06-Jan-2010)
The CTA construction - at least outside the entrance - is completed. Also, the restaurant has undergone some remodeling.

The restaurant side now has its own entrance right at the corner of State and Grand. It's going by the name "RB Grille" with a steakhouse concept. I haven't had a chance to check out RB Grille but reviews from those who have say the steaks are fantastic. The game room area behind the bar is getting a change to add more dining seats at the expense of the pool tables.
Selection: 4.75 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Service: 4.5 | Food: 4.0

LewBryson (14)
Monday 20th of April 2009 10:33:01 AM
I've been hitting Rock Bottom every time I come out for WhiskyFest Chicago (along with Clark Street and Goose Island and the bar at Binny's South Loop location), and I've come to the conclusion that it's one of the jewels in the RB crown (other such gems include RB Bethesda, MD; Denver; and Portland, OR). The beer selection is broad and very well-made, the space is great (even thought it's been surrounded for construction for as long as I've been going to the place), and, well, sue me, but I like Rock Bottom food. Service has been great. Overall, a very good experience, and some excellent beers. (It doesn't hurt that I'm a frequent Red Cross platelet donator, and Red Cross thanks me by occasionally shooting me 'universal' gift cards that I quickly convert into RB gift cards. "Let's head over to Rock Bottom and spend some blood money!")
Selection: 4.25 | Atmosphere: 4 | Service: 4.25 | Food: 4.25

sarkag (7)
Friday 3rd of April 2009 09:38:18 PM
This pub has a tremendous capacity: 30bbl tanks! I think I even saw two grain silos out back. The Pet crow that brews the beers must know what he is doing.

I had the Double Diamond IPA and it really hit me with the hops. Going in for dinner I figured that I would get something HOT to compliment the hops. Well the jambalya was not realy hot enough for me and the beer tender set me up with a few bottles of hot sauce. The plain old Tobasco, Jalepano Tabasco, and the better on I forgot the name, but it wasn't a Tabasco.

After the heat and the hops I decided to go back to my favorite beer style: Stout. The Terminal Stout was perfect. No wonder it won the medal, well balanced smooth o the tongue and a real joy to swallow. I just had to have two.
Selection: 4.75 | Atmosphere: 4.75 | Service: 4.5 | Food: 4.5

tomsan (1)
Sunday 18th of May 2008 09:51:51 PM

This person needs 3 or more reviews on the site for their scores to start counting.

very friendly staff and a large variety of beers (light/ale/wheat/...) and specialities such as hefeweizen, stout and kölsch. the rock bottom is maybe the only brewery outside cologne germany which brews kölsch. the some hundred years old "kölsch convention" says, that kölsch must come from a brewery in cologne. who cares, their kölsch is much better than some coloured water made in cologne. the area around the rock bottom is under construction, so they offer a construction brew.
had unfortunately no time for food, but it looks good and the people around me liked it. all over a good place. i will come back.

Selection: 4.5 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Service: 4.5 | Food: N/A

pudgym29 (55)
Saturday 29th of March 2008 03:41:00 AM
It's time for an embarrassing admission on my part. I've been at any number of Rock Bottoms across the U.S.A. Thanks to the American Homebrewers Assoc., I am a member of Rock Bottom's Mug Club. But somehow, I don't go to the Rock Bottoms in metropolitan Chicago as often as I should.
Chicago brewmaster Pete Crowley has taken full advantage of the corporation's willingness to let him experiment with his seasonals as long as he does a quality job of the standard brews. There have been some incredible beers put on in this span. Whatever is your taste preference in beer (I think everybody knows I love malty beers.), there will be a beer here which you will truly enjoy.
This place is always crowded. Granted, I always head for the bar. Most times, I wind up having to stand for at least my first beer (and this plays havoc with my intention to eat something before I start drinking). {sarcasm} Is it a lot of fun to fumble for my Mug Club Card with my satchel on the floor between my legs, my right hand wrapped up with rubber bands from the pouch where I keep the card, and people trying to jostle by? {/sarcasm}
The food here is very good, if priced above average. (This _was_ the original location of the fabled "Jazz Record Mart", and it didn't come cheaply.)
I am updating this review.
I was here again because I messed up.
Yes, dum dum Pudgy got the idea that a monthly assemblage of some people at a bar in the south loop was on a _Tuesday_ night.
So, when I went out with my dad on Monday to try and remedy the medical billing snag at Resurrection Hospital, I used one of my two-day CTA passes ($9.00).
Arrive back home on Monday night; read E-Mail telling me the assemblage is on Wednesday.
I was going to be out at least four dollars if I did not go somewhere on Tuesday.
When I woke up at 11:50 am, my brain actually clicked 'on' that early for once. ["Hey Pudgy. You're a member of Rock Bottom's Mug Club. It is offering double credits for eating lunch there {11:00 am - 3:00 pm}. It has a $3.00 "Construction Ale" special while the city is tearing up the intersection of Grand & State. Use the pass and ride there."]
So I rode the Blue Line to the Red Line. (Weekday afternoons; the Red Line is running in the subway.) I sat in the bar area downstairs. (For lunch, you can't occupy the restaurant area. But you could go on the roof. However, beer prices there are more costly, not all the beers are on offer, and you have to drink from a 14-ounce plastic cup.)
I had the Brewer's Lunch special ($8.99) with a half-reuben sandwich and a cup of beer chili. It was ok. Let me tell you about the beers.

The $3.00 "Construction Ale" varies by day. This day, it was the 'Dirty Blonde Ale': Gold, slightly cloudy, unfiltered. Slightly hoppy, but balanced.

Rooftop Pilsner = Yellow, lucid. Hops on taste, malt in aftertaste. This is strong for a session beer (5½% ABV), but qualifying.

Dark Night Porter = This is a rotating seasonal in the stout family. Rock Bottom always has one stout on draft. It changes over the months. This was my favorite beer. It has a roasted malt aroma. I didn't perceive any citrus notes. Hops were in the background on taste, and they finally capitulated to the malt in the aftertaste. For a 6% ABV beer, I though this was on the frail end of the scale, but to style.

I hope it is due to the construction; but if you visit here now at lunchtime, you will be stunned by how sparsely attended is the venue. After the Olympics® ended on some televisions, I actually had time to assist my bartender in finding something else to show on them. I finally put them on the Game Show Network. Then we even had to switch screens because one TV's caption feature wasn't working. (In a busier venue, this would not have occurred.)
You should get here before the construction concludes. Go to Rock Bottom's W-WW site [], and sign up for the Mug Club. Then you'll get 20-ounce drafts for the price of 16-ounces.
Transit options are nearly spectacular. The top way here is the Red Line “L”'s Grand | State Station, of which's southwest exit [in Tokyo, this would be numbered] places you in front of the revolving door into here. But the CTA is renewing the track of the Red Line (it was built in 1942), although I think it is done. If not, particularly on weekends, one of the directions on the Red Line is *not* operating in the subway. Check to see if construction is occurring, and if any Red Line trains are being re-routed 'over the top' via the “L”.
Buses to the intersection are the #65 Grand (now with longer operating hours - until 10:00 pm), #29 State (until 2:25 am), & #36 Broadway (until midnight). Three blocks south is the #62 Archer (until 1:30 am). Three blocks east on Michigan Ave. are the #3, #124, #146, & #147. Parking is expensive, or non-existant. Let me be blunt: If you are even considering driving here, especially if you want to drink the beers; I am going to call the authorities on you now.
Selection: 4.75 | Atmosphere: 4.25 | Service: 4.25 | Food: 4.0

wbfarr (43)
Sunday 27th of January 2008 09:48:45 AM
First time at Chicago's RB -- Saturday afternoon at the bar with a friend. Love the beer -- had a really good hoppy stout, a pretty good barrel aged brew, and their imperial red, which sang with PNW hop flavors. An asiago cheese dip with beer bread and onion rings. Loved the bar -- room to put stuff on it, easy to lean against. Service was fine, nothing special -- basically one of the other bartender would ask if we wanted anything if our glasses were empty. We closed with scotch, and RB does that really crappy deal where they charge you extra for ordering a drink neat, using the excuse that the pour is bigger. Uh-huh. They also have the gall to make the "neat" charge a separate line on the bill. Mini-rant here -- bartenders are not taught nor instructed to make pours smaller for mixed drinks, but if you're callous enough to charge more for something, at least hide the upcharge. Or go all out the other way -- after breaking out the upcharge, just add a line to the register program that says "we don't care about you." Anyway, I'd mark the service score down for this severely if I thought in any way it was the servers' fault, but I'm sure they have no say in it.

Muted music, tvs with no sound, good people watching if you're inclined. Really good beer, pretty good food. I'd happily go if in the area, doubt I'd ever make a special trip the way I would for Flossmoor or Three Floyds.

Edited to reflect more than one visit. Still great beer, pretty good food, pretty good service, and I no longer order scotch there!
Selection: 4.5 | Atmosphere: 4 | Service: 3.75 | Food: 3.75
Friday 13th of July 2007 10:50:21 AM
This is not your typical chain brewpub. Most people shrug when you mention Rock Bottom, but people in Chicago know that this is a special place. Brewer Pete Crowley makes this location standout from all others and luckily the corporate folks at RB know this. Pete has free reign to brew whatever his heart desires and he doesn't disappoint. In the winter, you can frequently find 4-6 barrel-aged beers on at the same time. The last few months have seen a DIPA, 2 regular IPAs, a fantastic real German Pilsner, among others.

Every 3rd Thursday of the month you will find a Mug Club beer release. Free beer and food for an hour. What's not to like about that. Also, RB hosts a beer dinner once a quarter, where Pete pairs his and others beers with special creations from the Chivo and Colleen in the kitchen.

The food is pretty good for a chain place. I recommend the Bourbonzola Burger. Fried onions, gorganzola cheese and bourbon sauce. Yum!! It pairs nicely with a really hoppy IPA.

The only downfall is the service. I've never had bad service, but I've never had great service. The servers seem to not to care very much. They don't seem to realize the place is a brewpub and usually don't have much knowledge of the beers. Sitting at the bar is my choice. The bar is usually extremely busy, but if you can get a seat there you normally get pretty good service and as per their job, they have more knowledge of what's going on in the brewhouse.

There is also a rooftop beergarden that is open during the warmer months, but the beer selection is limited to only the corporate beers that are on at every RB and 1 brewmaster's special. I think they jack up the prices on the rooftop where a pitcher was $19.

When people ask where to go for good beer in Chicago, this is always on my list of recommendations.
Selection: 4.75 | Atmosphere: 4 | Service: 3.75 | Food: 4.25

beerinator (131)
Tuesday 20th of March 2007 09:41:51 AM
When it comes to beer, Rock Bottom - Chicago is right up there on the list with some great brewpubs. I think they make beer that is solidly on par with the best brewpubs in the greater Chicago area.

The food here, is also pretty good. They have a slightly hipper (corporate hip) style of menu featuring everything from pub fare to slightly higher end entrees. The service at Rock Bottom (if not sitting at the bar) is good, but it doesn't seem like they are overly interested in pushing the beer. The bartenders are much more focused on beer service, but this is somewhat typical of brewpub service.

The main downfall of Rock Bottom - Chicago is primarily based upon the location. The bar gets really crowded and smoky at night. While this allows the restaurant to prosper and gives money back to allow the brewer to brew crazy special barrel aged beers, it makes it more difficult for the beer nerds among us to find a place to sit. It's a bit of a catch 22. We want to have a great place to sit and enjoy some great beers, but we also want the brewpub to be successful.

Regardless, this is an easy location to visit and they have great beers. So if you're in the area, you should definitely stop by. Try to stop by during a weekday lunch or during off hours if possible for the best bar area experience. If you're typically a "table person", you're probably going to have a good experience here anyway.

Rock Bottom - Chicago is practically inside the Red Line Grand stop. There are expensive parking decks nearby (one across the street). They have a popular rooftop patio open during the warmer months.
Selection: 4.5 | Atmosphere: 3.75 | Service: 4.25 | Food: 4.5
The corner of State and Grand
The corner of State and Grand
Image credit: beerinator
Uploaded: June 22, 2007 07:29 AM
Looking east down Grand Avenue
Looking east down Grand Avenue
Image credit: beerinator
Uploaded: June 22, 2007 07:26 AM
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