The Grafton

4530 N Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL, 60625, United States
773-271-9000
Latitude: 41.96404, Longitude: -87.68594

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  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 3:00 AM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
Wifi Available
Cask Beer
Indoor Smoking
Available Parking
Beer Pricing: $$$
Public Transit
Proper Glassware
Outdoor Seating
Family Friendly
Selection: 3.88 | Atmosphere: 4.00 | Service: 3.88 | Food: 4.00
78.3
out of 100
Overall Beer Mapping Score
Based on 2 reviews.
Score from Google Reviews:
4.4
out of 5
View Google reviews
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emerge077 (344)
Thursday 3rd of February 2011 11:20:45 AM
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Revisit 3-23-11
Sat at the bar this time, and got great service. The bartender was quick and really knew his beer. He was honest about their tap selection, saying the best beers were in bottles at the moment. Most if not all of their rotating seasonals from the menu were out at the time, available taps were a pretty standard selection of imports and a few US craft (mostly pale ale). Sampled the burger on a pretzel roll, which was fantastic, and cheaper than Bad Apple's fare. Curry fries were crispy, served with an addictive curry sauce.

2011-02-03
Stopped in here with some friends from out of town, waiting for a table at Fountainhead nearby. Inside it feels like a modern updated Irish pub, with glass partitions along the wall facing the bar, and some nice woodwork along the back bar. Hanging dome lamps above the bar cast a dim light. There was a bouncer carding at the door, yet the average age of patrons was 30-50. In the back there was more table seating and a small lounge area with a cozy fireplace.

We were told to seat ourselves, and after awhile a waitress showed up with menus. After determining we were just in for drinks, the table next to us became a higher priority as they had ordered food. She left the table twice during mid-order, which was odd. After asking what the 2 seasonal beers listed on the menu were, she deferred to the bartender to come over. In between rounds, some were without drinks for over 15 minutes, and it wasn't busy in the back area. Not the greatest service.

Selection was good, revamped from the last time I was in here a few years ago. They had a new version of Carnegie Porter "Klass III", Goose Island Dominique, GLBC Commodore Perry, and others on tap. Bottles tended to be split among craft and quality imports. The full list is on beermenus.com.

Overall a place I might stop in for a beer at the bar during a pub crawl, but it's not a real destination for beer. I hear the burger is great, i'll try that next time. A comfortable place, but so many better options nearby: Fiddlehead (now Fork), Tiny Lounge, Fountainhead, Bad Apple.
Selection: 3.75 | Atmosphere: 4 | Service: 4 | Food: 4.0
78.3
Overall

pudgym29 (55)
Sunday 7th of September 2008 11:19:53 PM
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On Saturday, 31 May, I was part of the group from here which went on a pub crawl of the North Center neighborhood.
I went to the Grafton Pub. I had to go here. The venue has significance to me.
In 1984, this was "Arno's Place". Arno was Arno Steffenhagen; a former key player for the Chicago STING. He was on the side which won the 1981 North American Soccer League Championship. They were the first Chicago team since 1963 to win a championship. Arno had retired from the STING. He opened this bar. It was next door to the office of the National Soccer League of Chicago, one of Chicago's largest amateur soccer organizations. Perhaps because of that, the NSL had installed a C-Band satellite dish [known as the "big ugly dish" or "BUD"] on its roof. Arno's Place had one of its controllers.
The summer of 1984 was when North America learned about "birds" & the "Clarke Belt". Satellite television came of age. A dynamic conglomeration of science geeks, celebrity followers, & sports fans latched onto the vast array of distinctive programming available to them in the clear without any additional fees if they installed a BUD system. Magazines sprung up to inform the prospective buyer of the equipment available; and others set out to become the 'TV Guide'.
Arno's Place became known as where to go if you wanted to view a soccer game. Arno's showed the soccer games from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics of which ABC-TV had no confidence would possibly draw a TV audience. A number of N.A.S.L. teams were up on the birds as well.
I am proud to scribe that it was not merely the entertainment on offer which kept returning me to Arno's Place. Satellite TV had just come of age, but the awareness of quality beers was in the prepubescent period. Arno's had 4-6 beers imported from Europe; and 2-4 beers from breweries in the U.S.A., including Augsburger & August Schell Wheat Beer. A long time before another beer bar coined the phrase "no crap on tap"; Arno's fit this description.
I was attending STING matches then with Greg, Ellen, Mildred Rapp, two others. In October 1984, I was on contract doing data processing consulting at Allstate in Northbrook. I could not get the days off to go to Toronto for game #2 of the N.A.S.L. Finals between the STING & Toronto BLIZZARD. I wound up at Arno's. The place was full. The STING went ahead by nil-2. A camera crew from WBBM-TV [CBS] showed up at the bar to get some news videotape. Toronto, which had gotten to the Finals by not playing soccer, scored twice to level the match. (Howard Balson uttered, "Why do they only play this attractively when they trail?") The WBBM-TV crew was shown the door! But later on, the STING's Pato Margetic got some space near the top of the BLIZZARD penalty box on the left center. He shot for the lower right corner of the goal. The ball deflected off Derek Spalding's leg [he was playing for Toronto that season], and went in the lower left corner. The match referee was very tolerant at giving Toronto time to level again {5 minutes of stoppage time?!}; but the STING held on.
When outdoor soccer entered its coma after that, a number of indoor soccer teams in the Major Indoor Soccer League televised their games on satellite. After the STING's first indoor home game, we went to Arno's. Arno's was showing two teams playing their first-ever indoor game: Dallas SIDEKICKS @ Las Vegas AMERICANS.
I'll mention one more notable time at Arno's. On 20 June 1987, for game #7 of the MISL Finals between Dallas and the Tacoma [WA.] STARS, I wound up sitting at the bar next to Kenny Stern. The TV crew scanned the Tacoma Dome. 21,728 people had squeezed in to see Tacoma win. Unfortunately for most of them, Dallas tied the game late, and Mark Karpun got the championship-winning goal for Dallas in overtime. That night likely was the MISL's zenith.
After that, a combination of short-term contracts, planning for the 1988 MISL booster club convention (in Chicago), and the tumult that resulted when the STING suspended operations in June 1988 gobbled up a lot of my free time. Then I started seeking out new bars.
All of this is the method by which I have opted to elucidate to you that I had not been to 4530 N. Lincoln Ave. in 21 years.
The name has changed. But not much else has. I still consider this a German pub. The area where was the projection TV now has booths & tables set up for dining. Flat screen TVs are subscribed to Dish Network dbs [Ku-band]. Hacker-Pschorr Weiss Beer is still on tap.
Why should you come here today if you do not have a keen emotional attachment to it? The beers. The quality of what is on offer (thankfully, much better in the meta sense since 1987), the diligence of the bar staff to informing customers of which style each is, and the correct glassware for each beer is something you will not find at every bar, even in this neighborhood. Prices for both beer & food are average.

Transit options: The easiest way here is the Brown Line "L" to Western. It is one block east and two blocks south. Your contingency is the #49 Western bus, which runs all the time.
Selection: 4 | Atmosphere: 4 | Service: 3.75 | Food: N/A
78.3
Overall

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