The One Who Keeps the Book Chicago
How to Get Into Armitage Alehouse, Lincoln Park’s Poshest Pub
Lincoln Park’s Armitage Alehouse has one of the headiest vibes in a town full of heady vibes, nailing the sweet spot between the familiar and the unexpected. Opened by the Hogsalt hospitality team (Bavette’s, Au Cheval), this old-world gastropub exudes luxury while still feeling intimate and cozy. And while relatively new to the block, Armitage Alehouse seems like it’s always been there—and like it’s always impossible to get into.
Inside, the room is decorated with 1920s details: a fireplace with an ornate wooden mantel, sumptuous burgundy bar booths, striking peacock feather wallpaper, and brass pineapple-base lamps with tassel shades lining the bar. The cuisine is Anglo-Indian, where fish and chips and a pub-style wagyu cheeseburger are offered alongside tandoori-style chicken and spiced lamb samosas. And the drink menu has a whimsical charm, with a selection of British-style ales, obscure vintage cocktails, and elegant French wines.
Given all of this, it’s not surprising that reservations get snatched up within minutes. Luckily, our ongoing series The One Who Keeps The Books provides insider knowledge for Chicago’s most sought-after restaurants. Here to assist on this newest edition is Armitage Ale House general manager Corina Hanc, who shares the tips and tricks on how to get a table or bar seat, what to order, and what to expect once you’re inside this time-warped paradise.
- How To Nab a Seat at Monteverde, and What To Order Once You’re In
- How to Get Into Galit — and What to Order Once You’re There
- How to Get Into Cindy’s, Chicago’s Most Epic Rooftop
- How To Get Into Elina’s – and What to Order Once You’re There
- The Trick to Getting into Obélix — And What to Eat Once You’re There
Can you tell us a little bit about Armitage Alehouse?
I think that our concept is pretty unique compared to everything else in Lincoln Park. Armitage Alehouse at its core is meant to be a fun pub that’s accessible and open to everyone. It’s a watering hole where people can come in and have a beer and a pot pie at the bar. But they can also have a nice full dinner coursed out in the main dining room by the fireplace in the wintertime. The menu is British pub fare with some Indian influences, specifically with the spices that we use in our dishes. We have curry options like tandoori-style chicken and the Indian element is present, but we are not an Indian restaurant.
How many seats are at Armitage Alehouse?
Including the 16 bar seats, there are 78.
When do your reservations drop on Resy?
We take reservations 14 days out. That includes day-of when you calculate the 14 days, and we open them up right at 9:00 a.m. The demand is so high because we only have 10 tables that are bookable online, so we highly encourage our guests to be present right at 9.
How quickly do reservations get booked?
Honestly within minutes, even seconds. It’s quite fast. And obviously guests prefer to dine with us during prime dinner time. So those hours between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. book up first. We will see an occasional 4:30 and 4:45 or 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. available, but for the most part, they get booked up quickly.
Are any of the seats in the restaurant held for walk-ins?
Yes, the bar seats are specifically for walk-ins. And when we open our patio, the patio tables will also be available for walk-ins only. So if you’re just passing by and you decide to join us for a burger or beer, that will be an option. It gives us a little more flexibility and availability for guests.
How many seats are on the patio?
The patio adds on 30 seats. There’s a couple of tables on the Armitage side, but most of our main patio is on the Sheffield side. A lot of people want to dine outside and take advantage of the warm weather because it’s so short in Chicago. Guests will need to check in with the host first and we will seat everybody on a first-come, first-serve basis until we fill up. Once we have all those seats full, we will start a waitlist and the waitlist will include bar seats, booths, and patio.
What time should someone arrive without a reservation to snag a seat on a busy night?
That’s a hard question to answer because it varies depending on what night of the week it is. On weekends, we start brunch at 10:00 a.m. and run throughout the day. So, towards the end of brunch, we’re going to start seeing guests wanting to come in for dinner. They will start adding their names to the waitlist sooner, which sometimes will start at 1:00 p.m.
When do the various menus (brunch, snack, and dinner) begin and end?
The brunch menu starts at 10:00 a.m. and goes until 2:00 p.m. We do our last seating for brunch at 1:45 p.m. Then the afternoon snacks menu is from 2:15 p.m. until 4:30 p.m., and dinner starts at 4:30 p.m. There’s always something to choose from throughout the day and we have a full bar that doesn’t close, so getting cocktails while waiting for dinner is always an option.
On a busy night how long is the Resy Notify list?
We use the Notify list to let guests know if there were any cancellations day-of. They will receive a notification so they can book themselves for those open reservations. But once we start our own in-house waitlist and service begins for the day, that will take priority over the Notify list. Usually that can be as long as 50-60 people on a Friday or Saturday night. Let’s say we’re having a slower night and there’s an opportunity to message guests on the Notify List — we definitely will do that. But we haven’t seen a lot of success with that because guests who don’t get notified by the day make other plans.
Also, you do have to be present to add your name to the waitlist. You can go and enjoy a drink somewhere in the neighborhood until we contact you, but we do need to have a response within 10 minutes once we’ve texted.
For larger groups (up to six), how far in advance should I book a table?
Our strict 14-day booking window applies to larger groups as well. Six is the maximum number of guests that will fit comfortably at our largest booths and there are only two of those large booths available for booking online. They’ll be booked quite fast for the 7:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 8:00 p.m. seatings. But we do actually see those booths being booked up at 4:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., especially on the weekends. We do have another larger booth that is available for walk-ins where we can occasionally seat a six-top, which would be the absolute max. We do get a lot of emails inquiring about larger parties, but we just encourage guests to book online through Resy because it’s a more fair system.
How many covers do you usually have in a typical night?
I would say on average we do three turns. We will do three and a half on the weekends and when demand increases as the weather gets warmer.
In your opinion, what’s the best seat in the house?
The most sought-after table is the one in front of the fireplace, which is where the owner sits when he’s here. Otherwise, the layout of the restaurant is very inviting. No matter which table you are sitting at, you won’t feel like you’re sitting at a bad table.
What’s the busiest day and time at the restaurant and when is it the least busy?
Of course, on Fridays and Saturdays between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. we’ll see the highest traffic and the longest waiting list. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are good days for walk-ins because there will be a higher chance that you will be seated quicker. There’s still going to be a waitlist, as we do have one every night, but it will be shorter and there likely will be more flexibility.
Is it possible to reserve a specific table?
It is not. We will make note of a guest’s preference and we will try our best to accommodate. But it really depends on how long guests are there beforehand, or if people are running slightly late. We do move things around to try and accommodate guests’ wishes and of course do our best to make them happy.
Let’s say it’s a busy Saturday night, can you set the scene?
It’s comfortable and cozy, but it still has a lot of energy and there’s lots of movement. There are guests at the door trying to add their names, there’s a full bar, there’s the sound of conversations filling the room, and the chef calling out orders — which I personally love. It’s just really energetic and alive. I feel like if you’re going to go out, you might as well go big.
What should we order?
You can’t go wrong with the curries, especially the chicken curry. And I would say our wagyu cheeseburger is probably one of our most popular dishes. It’s a pressed burger with American Cheddar cheese served with French fries. It’s pretty simple but the quality of meat elevates the whole thing. I don’t think any of our food is pretentious at all. The ingredients are pretty straightforward, but it’s very high quality and it’s clear that there was a lot of thought put into building this menu. Obviously we are always open to feedback from our guests, but not a lot has changed from how the menu was built initially, which means that people are enjoying it.
Does the menu change often and are there specials?
The menu doesn’t really change. It’s very classic and consistent, and consistency is one the values of the group. We don’t really have specials, so it’s kind of like, what you see is what you get. If there are any changes (which happens rarely), it will be adding an ingredient or removing an ingredient. But for the most part, the dishes don’t really change.
Can you talk a little about your experience as a manager there?
I feel very comfortable here and I really feel like I’m at home. When you’re in the space, it feels like you’re transported. Sometimes I can’t even tell if it’s daytime or nighttime, or if it’s raining or snowing. When you’re in here, it’s like you’re inside this beautiful bubble and you don’t want to leave.
One of our guests sent us feedback on Resy once and said that what they liked the most during their experience was seeing how much the staff enjoyed being here and were having a good time on the floor, in a professional way of course. I thought that was just such a nice compliment.
Any other tips or tricks you have for getting a table and having a great time at Armitage Alehouse ?
Just come in as early as you can and add your name to the waitlist if you don’t have a reservation. And once you’re on the list, you can go out and have a drink somewhere in the neighborhood and we will reach out and try to get you back in so you can enjoy a beautiful experience with us.
Elanor Bock is a Chicago-born professional writer, dancer, and Renaissance woman. Follow her on Instagram. Follow Resy, too.