By: Nathan Donald


Do I call the guy behind the counter a Barista or a Bartender?


A portmanteau of casual mingling and beer drinking, Chicago’s north side Beermiscuous affords patrons exactly what they might expect: a place to be promiscuous with beer.

One needs to imagine a coffee house where coffee mugs are replaced by beer glasses and the caffeine is replaced with alcohol. It’s hipster caffeine addiction replaced with socially acceptable amounts of alcoholism.

A fireplace in front of a brick wall crackles over the silence between the cafe’s indie music tracks (The Shins when I walked in), and a map above a bench illustrates the names and locations of all of Chicago’s breweries.

The earthy browns of the seating and wooden brown wainscotting on its walls leaves one feeling instantly at home as soon as they walk through the front door. Still, the minimalist lightning and exposed ventilation retains the much romanticized gritty hole-in-the-wall feel so often sought by would-be drinkers. It is by no means highbrow and expensive, yet still nothing near run-down and peeling.

But don’t mistake Beermiscous for a place to party. Chicago has plenty of other places to do that. This is a place where the casual atmosphere really sinks in. Very plainly and quickly it washes over like a warm day at the park. If one is looking to get hammered, this is not the place.

Counting an enormous selection of drafts, their beer selection ranges from very light choices like 4% ABV drinks to a much heavier 11%. The cafe also hosts beer tastings at least once a week.

All of their beers come in bottles to go, and with a stairway that leads down to a lounge below for the more mole-like patrons, it seems Beermiscuous offers every amenity a coffee house should. In fact, there’s very little about Beermiscuous that’s not to like.

The patrons themselves seem to agree, “It’s a great break from Chicago’s cold,” says Beermiscuous regular Jill Gallagher who has a hard time working from her home, and needs a break from her office loft. The round table and chair where she nests has just enough room for her laptop and her drink’s coaster. “It’s perfect,” she says.

Located just a few blocks from the diversey brown line stop, it comes highly recommended. If you’re in the neighborhood, their free Wi-Fi password is ‘drinkanother,’ which I’m definitely inclined to do since I plan on writing off the tab I started there as a business expense. After my first stay, only one question remains: Is the guy behind the counter a barista or a bartender?