The Run Down

As winter firmly grips Chicago in its grasp, we've got a guide to fight back the only way we know how -- day drinking and binge eating. Our guide takes us to one of the city's designated industrial corridors in West Town. It covers over 1,000 acres, mainly filled with warehouses and light manufacturing facilities. But it's also home to a growing and packed beer scene with five breweries and a distillery, all clustered within a mile of each other. You'll visit two breweries, each with a different vibe. Between visits, you'll grab some artisan donuts from a pair of bakers who've set up a space in a coffee roasting facility nearby.

1. Chill Drinks @ Midwest Coast Brewing

2. Donuts @ Brite / Metric Coffee

3. BBQ & Beer @ District Brew Yards

1. Midwest Coast Brewing

The day starts in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor, a quiet stretch of warehouses and factories in a part of West Town you may have passed by before without really noticing. It’s gained traction as a hub for beer brewers, and we’re starting things out at Midwest Coast Brewing, the newest addition to the area.

Started by a brother-sister duo, the brewery is located inside a 100-year-old building that had been vacant for a decade before Midwest Coast Brewing came along. A few things to note as you plan your trip.

– They’re dog and children-friendly

– They’ve got their own parking lot and patio, but plenty of street parking available in the area, too


When you walk into the tap room, it opens up to a bright and roomy space with the original exposed brick and wood-bow truss ceilings still intact. Wrapped inside this old building are more modern coastal design elements that offer perpetual breezy summertime vibes despite whatever the reality may be outside.

Its laid-back atmosphere makes this a good place to kick things off and ease into things with good conversation and good beer.

Our dog friends were plentiful on our visit.  If you do this on a nice day, bring your pup along, as the second brewery we’re going to has a dog-friendly patio.

2. Brite / Metric Coffee

Two blocks from Midwest Coast Brewing is Metric Coffee, a roasting facility, training center, and cafe all in one spot. They roast and package their coffee beans at this facility and have a small cafe open during the day.

While a coffee pick-me-up might be helpful, you’re here because it’s time for a donut break before you continue on the next half of this day-drinking extravaganza.

Step into the coffee shop, and at the counter, you’ll find a variety of pastries from Brite Donuts and Baked Goods. This bakery is a product of the pandemic. It was originally started in late 2020 by two ex-Publican chefs, Erika Chan and Sieger Bayer, who struck out on their own when the hospitality industry took a hit. Since then, another long-time Chicago pastry chef, Aja London, has taken over and operates inside the same building as Metric and sells their baked goods in the cafe.

At the moment, it’s a constant experiment of flavors, techniques, and different products. While their lineup of donuts and pastries can change week to week, expect near fine-dining quality with things like this smoked almond raspberry Danish or their burnt honey caramelized white chocolate donut finished with sea salt.

3. District Brew Yards

We’re on the last leg of this guide, and you’re ending things at District Brew Yards for some beer and BBQ.

District Brew Yards is more like a beer brewery collective. Four different upstart brewers share this space, which allows them to share knowledge and resources as they build their businesses. What that means for us is that we get to access over 40 different drafts all in one space. 

Here’s how this works. When you enter, you’ll need to check in at the front register, where they’ll give you something that looks like a credit card. That card allows you to access self-pour machines in the taproom. There are over 40 different taps you can access. Fill up your cup with however much beer you want. The card tracks how many ounces you pour and you pay up at the end.

Here’s a shot of the taps from Bold Dog Brewery. You’ll place your card in a slot in front of the beer you want to pour, and as you start pouring, the screen displays how many ounces and the cost per ounce.

On one side of the tap room, you’ll find Lillie’s Q BBQ, a staple of the Chicago BBQ scene for over ten years. They moved on from their popular Bucktown location and set up inside District Brew Yards in 2020.Now, let’s talk food. The menu caters to various appetites, featuring snacks and hearty meals. For a casual bite, the BBQ queso fries, in all their cheese-y fried glory, are a fitting meal to close out a day of indulgence.

For the hungry, there’s more: Carolina-style baby back ribs and brisket.