Skip to contents
Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Northalsted

Smylie Brothers Closes Evanston Brewpub Months After Shutting Down Lakeview Location

The owners announced on New Year's Eve they were closing their Evanston flagship after eight years.

Smylie Brothers closed its Downtown Evanston location at 1615 Oak Ave.
Instagram/Smylie Brothers Brewing Co.
  • Credibility:

EVANSTON — Smylie Brothers, a brewpub that recently closed its Lakeview location after one year in business, also has shut down its flagship operation in Evanston.

Smylie Brothers announced the closing in an Instagram post on New Year’s Eve, saying the pandemic made the business unsustainable. The downtown Evanston brewpub at 1615 Oak Ave. had been open for eight years.

“Thank you to all our friends, family, coworkers and guests,” business owners wrote. “Your support over the past 8 years is truly appreciated.”

Owner Michael Smylie got into craft beer while attending Colorado State University in the ’90s. He started brewing his own beer at home after graduating, he previously said.

“When I got back to Chicago, there was really nothing here besides Goose Island,” Smylie said. “I got this beer-making kit as a holiday gift and got my start trying to recreate some of the beers I really enjoyed out West.”

After launching in Evanston, Smylie worked for years to bring the business to Chicago.

Construction on the Lakeview restaurant, which transformed a large industrial space into a sprawling dining room, started in 2020, but it was halted halfway through because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Smylie Brothers quietly opened its Lakeview location at 3827 N. Broadway in September 2021. The restaurant and brewery was known for its Texas-style barbecue and wide-ranging beer menu before closing in September.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Michael Smylie, owner of Smylie Brothers Brewing Company.

The restaurant’s interior featured three bars and hundreds of seats around tables and leather booths. One of the brewery’s main features was its unobstructed view of the brewhouse, which sits behind the main bar.

“Part of it is a show,” Smylie previously said. “We want to give people something to see, so we’ve got a 40-foot bar that lets you see the inner workings of how we brew beer.”

The beer menu covered everything from classic European styles to popular American brews, Smylie said. One of Smylie Bros’ bestselling beers is a helles-style lager, which Smylie described as “bright and clean.”

Smylie Brothers’ food drew inspiration from family recipes Smylie picked up from his dad, who was from San Antonio, Texas.

“What I love about barbecue is it’s typically shared with a group of family or friends, and that’s what I wanted to bring to this community,” Smylie said.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation. 

Thanks for subscribing to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods. Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.

Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: