After reporter Leentje De Leeuw interviewed a man in Chicago who was originally from her Belgian hometown of Sint-Amands, the brief encounter lingered in both their minds. They decided to stay in touch and soon fell in love. Not only had Leentje fallen in love with the man, she was also smitten with the city. In September 2014, after many transatlantic flights, Leentje moved to the Windy City. In 2015 she decided to combine her passion for the city with her experience in travel and media, and thus launched her off the beaten path walks and biking tours. As soon as Leentje became a member of the Chicago Tour Guide Professionals Association, Chica-GO was born!
The Hopleaf Bar in Andersonville gets its name from the Hopleaf Pale Ale, a beer brewed by the Simonds Farsons Cisk Brewery in Michael’s ancestral Malta, a small island in the Mediterranean, close to Sicily and Tunisia. Michael and his wife Louise purchased the former liquor store and tap room in February 1992, and bit by bit, with lots of love, they transformed it into one of Chicago's best places to grab a beer or a tasty meal. Michael Roper :"In the era of local beer preference and brewery tap rooms, far fewer bars are offering Belgian imports these days. As a point of difference, we have doubled down on Belgian draft and bottle selections when others have decided to carry local and regional craft beer exclusively."
We have a few suggestions from the menu, but recommend checking out the menu for yourself. You can spend hours in this place discovering some of Belgium's finest beers. If you are hungry, try the mussels (with fries of course) and pair them with a Tripel Karmeliet. The mussels come in two different sizes (for one $14, for two $25) and two different styles (Belgian-Style with beer-wine broth or Asian style green curry coconut). The Tripel Karmeliet will cost you $10 a bottle, but please drink your beer from the appropriate glass, like Belgians do it ! Many beers, especially the Belgians, have their own distinctive glass, designed to highlight its beer’s particular character. Beer is best appreciated when poured into its glass, as it finishes what the brewer started: the beer opens up, producing a frothy head, releasing its aroma, revealing its beautiful color and is then truly ready to drink. Another suggestion is the Belgian Fried Chicken night, every first Monday of the month. Although the specific dish changes every month, the concept remains the same: fried chicken thighs, a Belgian waffle and an item using Kwak beer. But it gets even better : Monday is also Bottle Day. All bottles smaller than 750 ml are $2 off and all 750s are $4 off.
Hopleaf opens at noon every day, 365 days a year and is a 21+ bar. There are no tv screens in the entire bar. Focus is on eating, drinking and great conversation. CHEERS to that! Or as Belgians say : SANTE ! https://hopleafbar.com/