Saturday, December 1, 2012

Haymarket Pub & Brewery (Chicago, IL)


Happy Thanksgiving!  For our turkey day we're at Haymarket Pub & Brewery with a few other lost souls.  Thanks to The Beer Mapping Project, it was fairly easy to find an open pub so that the highlight meal of my Thanksgiving Day wasn't the fish sandwich meal deal at McDonald's en route to Chicago.  The manager Janna was especially helpful with an email to confirm veggie options on the reduced menu.

After an eerily quiet, few block walk from the L, we crossed the street into Haymarket with the bar up front and restaurant tables and booths in the next room.  We skipped the dimly light, long dark wood bar that had a smattering of happily celebrating folks for a large booth in the back.  The easily seen but not obtrusive big screen TVs with Dallas getting it's butt kicked was a nice addition.

Our very friendly and knowledgeable waiter gave honest recommendations and and his humor complimented our good cheer.  Our niece and nephew reported that the wings were mildly hot, flavorful and great.  We tried the sweet potato tots with ranch; good, but not sure if we'd get them again.  Oddly, too sweet.  The very thin crust veggie pizza was really excellent.  We topped off dinner with chocolate stout cake with peanut butter that wasn't the OMG we were hoping for from the description.  Blending with syncopated patron noise in the background was an eclectic music mix from alternative to folk that was a little loud but not enough to interfere with conversation.

Between Ben and I, we tried all of the Haymarket brews.  Lucy's Belgian Tripel was the low point that was still more than adequate with the remaining brews all highly rated by us; it came down to the Passion House Coffee Porter, Rubber Monkey Belgian Wheat IPA and the Effigy Black IPA for a draft: Effigy won but I would start with the Rubber Monkey next time.  From the guest tap, Gloria liked a quadrupel  from Uncommon Brewers called Sinister Twin and was happy with her choice for the night.  When I was undecided for my final draft, our waiter's frank evaluation of my choices got me to the Butterfly Flashmob, an excellent Belgian IPA from new local brewery, Solemn Oath, that was a perfect digestive while we chatted.

Our server said the bar fed them so well before the 5 pm opening that he was lethargic from the multiple types of turkey offered.  Got a great vibe from Haymarket: a well brewed and interesting beer list, a range of food for veggies and meat eaters, a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, and a drinking & writing theater. For Christmas, a radio play styled production called "A Beer Carol" was playing Wednesday and Saturday nights on location.

A former student recently discussed with me her love of living in Chicago, pointing to the unique neighborhoods as one of the reasons.  Haymarket seems to be a strong part of the local neighborhood, forming an intelligent and bonded drinking community that I think I would enjoy.  My long held belief has been that Chicago is cold and blustery--the weather and the people.  However, Haymarket helped me see another side of the windy city, a side that I look forward to trying again in the future.

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