What’s on tap to love at the West Loop’s Haymarket Pub & Brewery?
The lauded Pete Crowley, a Rock Bottom Brewery veteran, is at the helm of the deliciousness going on in Haymarket’s brewery. We sample the bright and hoppy Speakerswagon Pilsner, the darker Mother Jones Trappist-style Dubbel, offering hints of nut and raisin, and the citrusy IPA cum Hunter S. Thompson homage, Fear. If mere exposure translated to expertise, I’d claim connoisseur. Instead, I offer my inexpert imbibing opinion – it’s really, really good. The Thompson companion beverage, Loathing, is due out soon, though I’m certain that won’t be my response when I return to try it along with the ten or so other home brews. Haymarket’s drafts are brewed on premises, behind glass so you can watch the magic unfold just as fast as you can drink it in.
“I can never go back to regular pizza,” my companion admits. “There are just too many incredible options in Chicago with unique toppings.” Enter pulled pork. The Riot is the pizza version of Haymarket’s signature sandwich. The spicy Italian sausage and giardinera balanced with mozzarella and the epiphany of pulled pork glazed with sweet BBQ is full of heat and flavor. Admittedly, we haven’t expanded our sampling of the menu, which includes house-cured bacon, but with a Riot like this on our hands we don’t have to.
Drinking & Writing Theater
While the pub’s front room is more West Loop formal, the rear room houses Haymarket’s “Drinking & Writing Theater.” Heaven, is that you? Imagine my excitement! I know I needn’t explain the symbiotic marriage of the activities to you, sympathetic readers; however, I can’t imagine Charles Bukowski lounging within its sleek wood-lined walls, although his poster hangs here. Freshly freed office workers and the casually cool hang in the gorgeous and maybe too-clean space. Despite the disappointment of one half-hearted bookshelf, the room serves its purpose well as I manage to get some writing done before the arrival of my friend, and definitely while drinking.
“Exploring the Connection between Creativity and Alcohol”
This is the mission statement of, Drinking and Writing, the performance troupe behind the aforementioned theater. Pestering my waitress, I learn that the rear room of the brew pub is indeed a space for events and performances geared toward inspiration and inebriation. The group also performs on stage, hosts a radio program, and an annual festival, which I regrettably missed on May 7. I learn, “They have performed with the Neo-Futurists for years, and some of them are brewers here.” A toast to my potential new best friends!
Haymarket Pub & Brewery
737 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60661