Haymarket Pub and Brewery
737 W Randolph St
Visited on February 26, 2011
When in downtown Chicago during lunch with 24 hours to do as you please, what else would I do other than find the nearest brewpub? Haymarket doesn’t disappoint for what one would expect from the Windy City. The interior is beautiful, the beer is imaginative and well crafted, and the pizza is delicious. That being said, I wasn’t blown away. Note also that, not having a penchant for Belgian styles at the time, the sours, double, and triple may have been lost on me.
My girlfriend and I were trying to get a head start before the crowd at the Goat and the Girl between lunch and dinner, but discovered that the Chicago gem doesn’t open until 4:30. So instead, we wandered down the street and were attracted by the giant sign on the corner proclaiming, “Brewpub!”
The interior is a sleek, stylish, modern restaurant/sports bar that fully delivers on its beer-infused food but falls a little short on its actual brews. Dark ceilings, hanging light fixtures, solid colors, and, well, you get the idea. It’s an upscale sports bar that isn’t pretentious while being modern and crisp. I’d head here for a game – or multiple games at one time – any day of the week.
The food was their strongest offering. They try to use their beer in as many of their recipes as the can, which ranges from house-made sausages to house-made condiments like catsup, mustard, and tartar sauce. Aside from thin crust pizza, the pub offers a nice selection of sandwiches and sides. We enjoyed our fries and sweet potato tots, but the star was the pizza topped with the ingredients from their “riot” sandwich: spicy Italian pork, pulled pork, giardinera spread, and mozzarella. It’s not on the menu, but the waitress suggested we try it after their cook drunkenly threw one together the night before. (Major points for the service!)
The beer was a bit of a letdown though. The selection was nice with eight of their own taps accompanied by about the same number of guest taps, but the execution left something to be desired. The three IPA’s all failed to fully utilize their hops beyond the upfront bitter bombs, the farmhouse sour was barely drinkable, and the Belgian single tasted sour as well. Their Trappist-style Dubble failed to hit the sweetness marked by the best of the category, but wasn’t too bad. The Trippel was amber and very drinkable, which leaves the porter for last, which was clearly their best but still nothing to write home about.
The service was awesome. She suggested food off the menu, and prompt and attentive, showed an interest in our thoughts on the beer and knew plenty about it herself. Hopefully their brew master will soon live up to their wait staff and chefs.