The other day we found ourselves walking on Armitage, through our old Bucktown neighborhood, and right by one of our favorite haunts, Map Room, one of the pioneering and still gold-standard beer bars of Chicago. This place is not only known for great beer, the building itself is very distinctive--it's one of those corner buildings with an entrance that is both boldly diagonal and sheltered under a nice eave. The geographical elements below the windows and the fantastic sign are two other great touches.

It was something like early 2009 that I was hanging out with my friend Matt, drinking a beer and admiring their maps, that I decided to create a map of Chicago's best beer bars, Map Room among them. That kicked off the Chicago beer map print,, and then the other maps. Cape Horn Illustration is, in one sense, the lineage of Map Room (cont. below).

One fact about this illustration is that I included two of my friends who were responsible for even getting me interested in trying Map Room, Jim and Tom (pictured walking out front). Jim was a co-worker who was very excited to hear that I lived down the street from Map Room, on Western and Armitage. I think we probably went there within a few weeks of knowing each other or something, and I distinctly remembering him encouraging me to try a Delerium Tremens as a way of getting out of my usual beer standbys and into the new.

I was never the same.
August 19, 2015 — Phillip Thompson