These five eateries boast more than good chow and solid beer: They each have unique dining experiences you won’t find anywhere else.
GET STONED: Diners double as chefs (and work up a sweat for the famously perfect IPA) at Mukilteo, Washington’s Diamond Knot Brewing; order one of the taproom’s Stonegrill Sandwiches, and you’ll grill the meat yourself on a personal 750-degree granite stone. Try the Garlic BBQ; cook up your choice of chicken; pork or sirloin and douse it with apricot-porter barbecue sauce, or opt for The Lighthouse Dip and dunk your handmade steak-and-Swiss sandwich in Lighthouse Ale au jus.
BRING FRIENDS: Each night, as many as six guests can reserve Green Bay and Milwaukee’s Hinterland Gastropub’s unique chef’s table, where diners sit an arm’s length away from and interact with Chef Dan Van Rite as he sautés, sears and grills. The table’s privy to Hinterland’s own beer paired with five to 12 courses of local, seasonal and adventurous fare, like weizenbier pancakes with bacon ice cream and a weizen banana shake for dessert.
GO SOUTH: In Chicago’s Wicker Park, the chalkboard beer list at The Southern reads like a who’s-who of Dixieland brew with standouts like Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout and Abita Jockamo IPA. Grab five friends and reserve the Chicken Dinner 24 hours in advance; the homestyle feast of buttermilk biscuits, collard greens, black-eyed peas and mashed potatoes gives a few pints of Red Brick #’s Ale something to stick to.
OOMPAH & ALE: As old-school Wisconsin as it gets, the legendary Friday fish fry inside Lakefront Brewery’s Palm Garden space features communal tables, endless pitchers of beer and a two-man polka band rocking an always-packed dance floor. Go early for the pre-meal brewery tour and drink the excellent IPA in front of the Bernie Brewer slide from the old Milwaukee County Stadium.
STAY FRESH: What was so special about the Pan-Roasted Huachinango served at Stone World Bistro’s recent Fresh Dinner? The red snapper was caught, the tomatoes were plucked and peas were picked the day of the event. For these occasional dinners, head chef Alex Carballo sources local purveyors to provide one of the freshest dining experiences around, topped off with a beer poured straight from the brewery’s tanks. Don’t miss the next Fresh Dinner on July 26.