We Have Been To The Rooftop: Fountainhead’s Deck is Open, We Visited, It’s Awesome

In Bar Review, Beer News by Karl

One of the first posts I wrote for this site was way back in 2010, where we were among the first to report on the opening of North Center’s quite excellent craft beer & whiskey bar, the Fountainhead. Even back then, we were aware of the planned eventual appearance of a rooftop deck.  Then last year, I wrote this for Center Square Journal where they said soon soon soon, that rooftop deck will be open! (Just waiting on that damn city permit!)

Last week the moment finally arrived. Fountainhead’s rooftop deck is now open. And it was absolutely worth the goshdamn wait. Because it is glorious.

One must naturally compare their rooftop to Gene’s just up the street, and anyone who’s been to Gene’s rooftop will relish the opportunity at Fountainhead to A) use a credit card and B) not stand in line outside a shack waiting for your food. The layout seems much more spacious as well – room to walk and stand, with high-top tables and built-in bench seating instead of picnic tables, not to mention the full freaking bar with something like a dozen taps and almost all the bourbon and whiskey you could desire. (Want more whiskey? Go sit downstairs in the dark where you belong.)

I can honestly say that right now, in the city of Chicago, I can’t think of a better place to sit outside and drink a craft beer. Not the Haymarket patio, not Hopleaf’s backyard (although that might be a close second), none of these. Go have a beer at 4pm on Sunday afternoon and tell me if you can think of a single place you’d rather be.

Most notable of all is this:

That’s the largest canned craft beer list I’ve ever seen in my life. From Sixpoint to Cisco to Outlaw by Two Brothers to Ska to Avery to Uncommon and beyond, they’re all there. This has to be the best canned craft list in the city, and if you can find me a better one in the country, I’ll shake your hand and thank you kindly.

The food menu, while admittedly not the main focus of our attention, looks great as well – sandwiches, cold noodle salads, curries and other various small plates just right for outdoor dining.

If we had to ask for one thing – one little thing – just add a rotating grilled sausage selection, maybe? Then we’d almost never need to heed the siren call of Gene’s rooftop. But that’s a small quibble. Keep doing what you’re doing, Fountainhead. We’ll see you up top soon.

Note: The above photos are admittedly terrible, because they were taken with my cellphone while I basked in the afternoon awesomeness. If you want too what the place looks like in hi-res glory, you can find those plenty of other places. Or…just go. Now. See you there.

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About the Author



Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago, AskMen and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, is now available via Amazon and other booksellers.If you're buying, he's likely having a porter or a pale ale.

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