I’m blessed with a very robust body clock. When I travel, it can take me days to shake off even a small timezone adjustment. On this recent trip to Chicago, I found myself waking around 4:30am each day and patiently awaiting the time when I could venture out of the hotel to find breakfast. Even on my third morning, I was still operating on Atlantic Time. Why am I telling you this?… To justify a story of me wandering up to the Bucktown neighbourhood northwest of downtown Chicago on a Saturday morning in search of a craft beer bar called the Map Room.
There’s something about being on vacation that makes it relatively acceptable to partake in a drink before the crisp hour of noon. It’s even more justifiable if that drink at 11:30am “feels” like it’s been had at 1:30pm. By the third day of this solo trip, I was in an indulgent mood. The idea of a great beer (or two) in an outstanding neighbourhood bar while reading a book was what I wanted. After pouring over an outstanding draught list, I choose the most local beer available, a 3 Floyds Brewing “Live a Rich Life” double IPA (from Munster, Indiana). It was a hoppy, Belgian style double. At 9.5% ABV, I was glad to have a few of these delicious bread sticks to help mop up the alcohol:
I usually try to find a good neighbourhood craft beer bar when I travel, and the Map Room was definitely that with the bonus that it was a relatively easy train ride from downtown Chicago. The place had a friendly feel – a knowledgeable bartender, a small selection of regulars dropping by and a BPL soccer match on the TV. A truly lovely place; I felt at home immediately.
Feeling pretty warm inside from the first drink and enjoying my book, I decided to order a second beer (it was now past noon after all…) The Stillwell Existent, a black farmhouse ale, had caught my eye. Another high ABV sipper, it was dry and roasty and the perfect backdrop to some more reading as the afternoon melted away:
It was a splendid way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Chicago and is firmly on my “must return to” list for the next time I’m back in the city.