The website is down, the phone number has been disconnected, the lights were out on Saturday night while the German American Festival raged on just blocks away, and now both Yelp and Centerstage have made it official: the Chicago Ale House has closed.
Opened in May/June of 2007, the Chicago Ale House held the hopes and dreams of Center Square craft beer drinkers tired of German brews like Hofbrau and Spaten. ?Those hopes never materialized, however, as the Ale House never really decided what it wanted to be.
Despite dozens of draft taps and nearly endless beer options, the Chicago Ale House seemed happy to steer right towards the middle of the road. ?They were simultaneously a sports bar, a family restaurant, a neighborhood joint, a beer bar, and a gastropub with a partially Thai menu in a space too big by half. This lack of focus translated into customer apathy in a neighborhood that really wanted them to work and excel, and unfortunately for beer connoisseurs, they never got past Craft Beer 101.
For now, we recommend the Fountainhead and Bad Apple for your local craft beer needs, as well as 42 N. Latitude for a more limited but still quality selection. You can find my more pointed take on the closing at GuysDrinkingBeer.com.