Party Earth Review When this location opened in 2010 there were already two other Small Bars in Chicago, and the third incarnation doesn’t buck the focus of its predecessors: craft beer, handmade comfort food, and soccer. Tucked inside... ... read full review
1415 West Fullerton Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60614
Red, Brown, Purple Express Lines: Fullerton
Bar: M–F 11am–2am, Sa 10am–3am, Su 10am–2am
Restaurant: M–W 11am–11pm, Th 11am–midnight, F–Sa 11am–1am, Su 10am–11pm
Lincoln Park, Chicago –
When this location opened in 2010 there were already two other Small Bars in Chicago, and the third incarnation doesn’t buck the focus of its predecessors: craft beer, handmade comfort food, and soccer.
Tucked inside a rustic building – formerly a pool hall where scenes from the Newman/Cruise film The Color of Money were shot – the venue opens into a modern space with vibrant yellow and exposed brick walls, contemporary chandeliers, and vaulted ceilings.
Despite sponsoring several local soccer leagues and always carrying the World Cup, Small Bar isn’t really a sports bar so much as a casual beer-lovers paradise where visitors can also catch the game. Roughly 130 beer options await behind the long bar, including rotating specials, little-known micros, and several domestic and European standards.
Chill locals and older college kids from nearby DePaul University gather in the black leather booths to chat or mix study time with suds, as couples and smaller groups take to glossy tables to devour pulled pork sandwiches, chicken legs, and artisan bar snacks like spiced pumpkin seeds.
An upper level, meanwhile, attracts private parties looking to work their way through the tap list, all while overlooking the busy but rarely overcrowded scene below.
Not surprisingly, the venue is shoulder-to-shoulder hooligans when a soccer game is on, but with no official team affiliation and a wholly unpretentious vibe, it’s clear that beer and conversation are Small Bar’s biggest focus.
Soccer fans of every stripe, craft beer lovers, mature DePaul University students, casual locals, and chill young professionals who don’t mind the game on but often couldn’t care less, 20s to 40s.
Handful of flat-screens tuned mostly to sports. Pair of booths near the entrance have their own private screens. Ambient downtempo, country, classic rock, and indie music.
American menu featuring craft comfort foods like pulled pork sandwiches, crispy chicken legs, cheeseburgers, and smoked sausages.
Weekend brunch includes lots of egg plates, ham and cheese crêpes, and a Bloody Mary bar. Daily drink specials usually include $1 discounts, $4 specials, or $6 combos.
Bar snacks and appetizers $5–$10, entrées $8–$11. Beer $3–$15+, wine $7–$10, cocktails $8–$10.
Smart casual and sporty: button-downs, jerseys, slacks, blouses, low heels, cardigans, loosened ties, nice jeans, boots.
Any time a major soccer game is on for a raucous crowd of friendly fans, early in the week for a chill beer, or Friday and Saturday nights for a busy but relaxing evening.
Sprout (1417 West Fullerton Avenue), located right next door, offers a non-bar food alternative with contemporary French-American cuisine from Top Chef runner-up Dale Levitsky.