Looking for a happy hour that doesn’t take you too far from the Downtown rentals at NEMA Chicago? We’ll give you a tour of Motor Row Brewing, Adams Street Brewery, Moody Tongue, and Buddy Guy’s Legends for just a taste of the brews (ambiance and, in some cases, live music) on tap in the vicinity. And we’ll finish extremely close to home, just an elevator ride away, at The Station at NEMA Chicago.

When Frank Lasandrello set out with his father to create Motor Row Brewing, his love affair with brewing had taught him that beer is not just a drink but an experience. Lasandrello is attuned both to the fine details of what brings about the most pleasing flavor profiles in a good beer and to what transforms a bar into a distinct world you’ll want to return to again and again. Frank and his father Bob’s restoration of the space in this landmark district, which used to be home to car manufacturers, was so meticulously done that they won a Chicago Landmark Preservation Award. Brushed-steel tables and murals of vintage cars are the perfect accents, making you feel that you are drinking at the source and that tasting a variety of beers is a gustatory and celebratory education in their nuances. An in-house blues band and space for private events complete the picture.

You can juxtapose Chicago beer culture old and new by heading from the sleek decor and innovative flavors of Motor Row to Adams Street Brewery, where some of Chicago’s German roots—and its taste for German beer and fare—were laid down in 1887 when Herman Berghoff opened Berghoff’s Restaurant, which has now become a Downtown fixture. Now that the family has opened the Brewery in that same building, they have added the freshest beer possible to this German-American experience. Pair a pitcher of Dunkel or Cinder & Ash with a full German dinner of bratwurst, knockwurst, and wiener schnitzel to cap a warming night on the town.

In 2019, The Tasting Room at Moody Tongue was recognized with the region’s Jean Banchet Award for “Best Bar.” In fact, 2019 has been big for Moody Tongue, which also moved to the South Loop and opened two venues, The Bar and The Dining Room, this year in conjunction with nine-time Michelin-starred Chef Jared Wentworth, who is responsible for crafting a menu that is worthy of Moody Tongue’s famous beers (and deliciously infamous 12-layer chocolate cake). About those beers? Brewmaster Jared Rouben is a dedicated and gifted crafter and curator of beer, with a one-of-a-kind “beer resume” that attests to his expertise. The Bar at Moody Tongue, which combines elegance with tasty casual food, draws on Rouben’s “collection of perennial beers alongside a number of limited release offerings from specialty beer programs such as the brewery's whiskey and wine barrel-aging program and the renowned rotating Farmers Market Series and Sour Series offerings.”

Maybe the nearby Buddy Guy’s Legends isn’t known so much for its beer as it is for its great music and Louisiana-style Cajun and soul food, but, among other pleasures, including live performances seven nights a week, it features happy hours from 5 pm to 7 pm on Mondays through Fridays. Billing itself, without a glimmer of overreach, as “the premier blues club in the world,” Buddy Guy’s might lure you in with a beer and a happy hour that will stretch into a phenomenal dinner and a fantastic set of live blues. Buddy himself regularly performs at the club in the month of January, so keep an eye out for information about his schedule.

With happy hours this good so close to the Downtown Chicago apartments at NEMA, you need look no further for a go-to spot for meeting up with friends or catching live music with some of the best beer in town on your table. But, for those times when you aren’t in the mood for even a short walk for some comradery and libations, you certainly can look closer: NEMA Chicago’s in-house sports bar, The Station, will soon be adding beer to the mix of fun attractions that already includes a 98-foot TV, a 16-screen video wall, and ping-pong skeeball. It’s a great way to gather with friends and neighbors right at home and kick off a NEMA Chicago-style holiday season.

With a soul that's 100% made in Chicago, you'll want to see for yourself all that NEMA Chicago has to offer. Join us for a tour and experience firsthand what true luxury Chicago living is all about.