For the first time in 18 months, I have a stretch of Chicago beer calendar dates with only one event. Of course that stretch of days happens to cover Christmas, Christmas Eve, and Boxing Day (I think), and so many places are just closed down.
But what if you NEED to get out there on Christmas?
There's the urban Jewish tradition of patronizing Chinese restaurants, as discovered too by Ralphie's family when the hillbilly neighbors' dogs tore into the Christmas turkey...
Maybe you need to get out of the house because the kids have fired up that wretched DVD once again: you know, that "Disney Christmas Classic" that has Jim Carrey taking icicles to the groin, and you just want to catch the Bulls game without hearing "I was watching that!"...
Or your cantankerous relatives are creating one of those Christmas incidents you've heard related on "This American Life."
For you, I've located a few of the places that are known for stocking craft or brewpub beer and that are open on Christmas day. First off, the only event I have on my schedule for the whole weekend...
Flatlander's Christmas Day Brunch
Flatlander's, 200 Village Green, Lincolnshire, IL (847) 821-1234
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. $24 adults, Kids 6-12 $12, under 5 free.
Reservations suggested to (847) 821-1234 or through their website.
The restaurant will remain open with its regular menu from 3 - 8 p.m.
We have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Haymarket Pub and Brewery, the new venture at 737 Randolph (corner of Halsted & Randolph), in Chicago (312) 638-0700. This is a venture co-owned by Pete Crowley, former head brewer at Rock Bottom's Grand Avenue location (and you know the Chicago craft scene is maturing when there's room for a brewer to open a new spot just a few blocks from his former employer). The latest word from Pete is that the city inspectors did get out for a final check on Tuesday, Dec. 21. Afterward, Pete e-mailed:
"Inspections went well today. If Santa has us on the nice list, we should be open on Christmas!!! And brewing that day if you want to throw some hops in. Cheers-pete"
Previously, Pete had indicated they could open for Christmas Eve. On Wednesday night he has noted on his Facebook wall:
"Aaaaaapppppppprooooved!!!!!! City is in the process of issuing our liquor license. Looking good for Friday. Keep your fingers crossed!"
The first week or two will be guest taps, while they are still getting their own brews through the fermenters. But considering Pete's umpty-ump Great American Beer Festival medals, I can trust his guest beer choices.
Other places that I have found will be open on Saturday, Christmas Day:
Fireside Restaurant & Lounge, 5739 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago (773) 561-7433 Open regular hours with full menu, plus special entrees for Christmas.
The Globe Pub, 1934 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago (773) 871-3757
Open at 5:00 p.m. to watch coverage of Australia vs England in the Ashes cricket tournament. It's Boxing Day in Melbourne. If I only understood what I just wrote.
Hopleaf, 5148 N. Clark St., Chicago (773) 334-9851.
Open at 6 pm, although the kitchen is closed.
Longman & Eagle, 2657 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicao (773) 276-7110
Will be open 5pm to 2am.
Mickey Finn's Brewery & Pub Food, 412 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, IL (847) 362-6688
Will open at 8:00 p.m. with drinks only - the kitchen will be closed.
Paddy Long's Beer & Bacon Pub, 1028 W. Diversey Pkwy. (773) 290-6988. Open Christmas night at 8:00 pm. No kitchen but plenty of beer, including Delirium Noel, Sierra Celebration, and Tournay de Noel. Hey, get on the list for one of their whole hog or gourmet bacon events!
Reggie's Rock Club (2109 S. State St., Chicago 312-949-0121) and Reggie's Music Joint (2105 S. State St., Chicago 312-949-0120)
Both are open with live shows Christmas night. Reggie's Rock Club is in the midst of a week of Metal Chistmas shows, Saturday's show headlines Paul Dianno, the original vocalist of Iron Maiden (going into my heavy metal announcer voice): But no EDDIE, the 30 ft MONSTER MASCOT! Check their web sites for details and tickets.
The Tribes Alehouse, 11220 W. Lincoln Hwy, Mokena, IL (815) 464-0248
Open at 5:30 Christmas evening.
Weegee's Lounge, 3659 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago (773) 384-0707. No TV's, just jazzy mood music and shuffleboard.
If you're on the road over Christmas, you probably know most highway oases will be open. My wife and I found some truck stops that were happy to see customers since most of their regular trucker clientele was home with their families. And downtown, every hotel with a restaurant will have it open for the convenience of their guests.
No doubt I've missed mentioning many craft beer places that are open Christmas day. If so, just email me or post a comment here, and I'll add your place to this expanding corpus!