“Oak Park on Tap” illustrates how far we have come since being a dry Village in 1973.

Less than fifty years ago, going out for a beer was something you did in Forest Park or Berwyn. Now there are thirty spots in Oak Park where you can sidle up to the bar and enjoy a cold one – without purchasing food, a restriction lifted only six years ago.

Today, the Chamber is collaborating with the Pleasant Home Foundation and the Pleasant District on a beer tasting event on Friday, November 17. The “Pleasant Parlor Beer Tasting and Pub Crawl” features a ticketed beer tasting event in the historic Pleasant Home with a concurrent pub crawl through the Pleasant District.

Within three short blocks, beer lovers will enjoy pours from four separate vendors in the Home along with tastings from four participating hotspots on the Crawl (Wild Onion’s Tied House, Two Brothers Social Tap, Barclay’s American Grille and Poor Phil’s). You can purchase a ticket for either the Beer Parlor, the Pub Crawl or both. (Ticket sales at pleasanthome.org)

We view this as an opportunity to promote more than just the Pleasant District (also the site of MicroBrew Review) as a happening beer scene – terrific brews can be had throughout Oak Park. Therefore, we are creating a guide map as well as a website to serve both resident and tourist beer lovers. And so “Oak Park On Tap” was born.

We counted about thirty places that serve beer at the bar in Oak Park. That’s striking, given that Philanders (now Barclay’s) received the first restaurant liquor license in 1979. Restaurants were allowed to serve alcohol without requiring a food purchase only since 2011. Kinslahger received the first license for a “tasting room” sans kitchen in 2014. The Beer Shop received its liquor license for its “craft brew lounge” format just two and a half years ago.

Our growth in this industry is intentional and regulated, to be sure, but it is still pretty noteworthy growth. The Chamber’s “Oak Park On Tap” will showcase that growth and highlight beer businesses and beer-related events throughout Village year-round.

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Cathy Yen

Cathy Yen is the Executive Director of the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce.  She has lived in Oak Park for 21 years and done business locally, first as a retailer and then as a small business...

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