Party Earth Review Immersed in the gritty, working-class neighborhood of Humboldt Park, Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar is a rare area outpost for carefully crafted organic dining and specialty drinks. Housed in a simple brick building, the one... ... read full review
954 North California Avenue
Chicago IL 60622
M–F 5pm–2am, Sa 5pm–3am, Su 11am–4pm; Kitchen open M–Sa until 1am
Humboldt Park, Chicago –
Immersed in the gritty, working-class neighborhood of Humboldt Park, Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar is a rare area outpost for carefully crafted organic dining and specialty drinks.
Housed in a simple brick building, the one-room venue consists of a small bar and a hodgepodge of funky furniture, with mismatched antique chairs sandwiched between chipped round tables and shoddy pine bookcases.
Reddish-brown walls get a lift from a collection of postmodern paintings, under which young hipster couples sip craft beers and savor paired plates of fine meats and cheeses, while businessmen and young entrepreneurs park themselves at the bar in the dim glow of orange burlap-covered lamps.
Small-batch wines flow freely throughout the night, with brief histories of each vintner detailed in Rootstock’s menu, while beers range from local favorites to rare European batches brewed with bananas and cloves, and an organic menu offers late-night options to patrons with the munchies.
In the summer, the small front patio provides some additional bench seating where easygoing friends gather to enjoy the brief Chicago warmth.
Despite the seeming disorder of its mismatched furniture and tableware, Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar manages to create an atmosphere of calm and tranquility that makes it easy for young hipsters and older couples alike to completely relax and forget about the outside world.
Though Humboldt Park is a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, its namesake park up the street has a sizable gang problem at night. Don’t venture too far north of here unless you know where you’re going.
Young neighborhood hipsters and blue-collar workers, older couples, local business owners, and entrepreneurs, mid-20s to mid-30s.
Playlist of mellow alternative and indie-rock tunes.
Organic gastropub fare, including paired meat and cheese plates, mussels, and burgers. Vegetarian and gluten-free options also available.
Appetizers $5–$8, charcuterie and cheeses $4.50–$6.50, entrées $9–$14. Beer $5–$12, wine $7.50–$12/glass or $30–$150/bottle, whiskey and liqueurs $5–$18. Seasonal menus can affect prices slightly.
Anything goes: hipster casual, a few suits, skinny jeans, sundresses, flannel shirts, Vans, flip-flops.
Weeknights for dinner and drinks, or Fridays and Saturdays for energetic crowds (and potentially long waits).
The California Clipper (1002 North California Avenue) is a retro lounge with live music on Fridays and Saturdays, and provides easy access to a few cocktails while waiting for a table at Rootstock.