Stamped on the doorway of Norwood Park's new brick fortress—just to the right of the banner advertising a Miller Lite bucket special—Iron Horse Ale House's logo is a hybrid of a locomotive and a beer tap, exuding a burly, industrial aesthetic similar to Revolution Brewing's. Iron Horse absolutely does not brew its own beer, though, and while the draft selection doesn't lack for solid options—Dogfish Head, Half Acre, Great Divide, and other trustworthy beers are all here—it doesn't have many adventurous ones. The pub-grub menu leans heavily on brick-oven pizzas and fancified bar cuisine like the Bocconcini Fritto, which is a gussied-up way of saying fried cheese. And no two ways about it, fried cheese is fried cheese, and fried cheese is delicious. A huge spinach salad with goat cheese, beets, mandarin oranges, and just about everything else (God knows it needed serving tongs) was hosed down in a bland raspberry vinaigrette, but my dinner partner described his Iron Horse Burger as cooked well and "actually really good," with a look of pleasant surprise. And the food is just a bonus, anyway—this is a fine, completely inoffensive addition to the far-northwest side, with Blackhawks games on TV (sound on, of course) and enough wood and iron to build a Viking ship.
Features: Outdoor Seating, Cash Only, Full Liquor Service, Carryout, Lunch, Dinner, Open Late, Open Sunday, Open Monday
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa, AmEx, Discover
Iron Horse Ale House's logo is a hybrid of a locomotive and a beer tap, exuding a burly, industrial aesthetic similar to Revolution Brewing's. But it's no brewpub, just a solid far-northwest-side tavern with a robust selection of craft brews (Dogfish Head, Half Acre, Great Divide, and other trustworthy beers are all here), decent pub grub, and the Blackhawks on TV, sound on, of course.
— Kevin Warwick
The northwest may not be known as a trendy neighborhood according to some Chicagoan's standards but those who live in Norwood Park don't mind. They benefit from being able to get in some of the best places to dine and imbibe without the hassle of long wait times and parking woes.
Iron Horse Ale House is the latest to open on the busy Northwest Highway strip in a two-story brick building what was once a post office. While it boasts an impressive drink menu and 20 craft beers on tap, it also offers a separate gluten-free menu with appetizers and entrees. Even more impressive is that all of its pizzas and pastas can be made using gluten-free ingredients and can be enjoyed with a gluten-free beer. Towards the back is the exposed brick pizza oven which entertains the kids sitting on bar stools watching their pizzas being made to order.
"Kids can sit in the back where they can watch pizzas being made and slid into the exposed brick pizza oven."