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Onion Pub & Brewery / Wild Onion Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
87
very good

39 Ratings
Ratings: 39
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.07%
Active Beers: 30
Beer Ratings: 901
Beer Avg: 3.62
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

22221 North Pepper Road
Lake Barrington, Illinois, 60010
United States
phone: (847) 381-7308

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @wildonion21

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 39 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheSSG
2.7/5  rDev -29.1%

After adventuring through the hills of the Über-wealthy, we finally found this place.
Outside looked fantastic.
Complimentary Valet? Huh? That's weird to this guy.

Upon entering, the hostess disappeared to go do something after taking the information for the people in front of us.
So, we waited. And waited. And waited. Occasionally, people would come up to the podium and say, "hello," then walk away.
Eventually the hostess came back. We swear they looked about 12.
Anywho, on to seating!

Once seated, service was about average.
Ordered a flight of all 13 (I think it was) biers on tap.
The Winners: Oktoberfest and MAYBE the Pumpkin (though, after about 4 sips, it was too overbearing)
The Losers: Everything else
The HORRIBLE Losers: The Brown Ale, the Stout, and all the Pale Ales. Between 3 guys, no one wanted to finish the little 4 oz glasses of ANY of those.

The hops they use are really foul. It's an almost astringent, urine-like hoppiness. It just lingers and lingers on your tongue.
I love a good IPA, APA, or IIPA. All of theirs were bad. The wet-hopped IPA was better, only because that grating hop was more subtle.
The stout was like water.
The Brown Ale was vile (I am NOT a fan of the style, so there's bias there).
We were so disappointed in this place. The Oktoberfest was the only bier the three of us unanimously agreed we would even try to have a pint of.
But, by this point, the nastiness of the bier killed the mood, so we left.

Luckily, we decided to drown away the flavors with delicious Mexican food (somewhere else). That saved the evening.

I don't think I'd go back here. It's kinda out of the way for me, and there wasn't a SINGLE thing I really enjoyed.
The atmosphere was great, though. Nice building, relaxed feel. And, 13 or so brews on tap was pretty fantastic. It was something like $13 for the whole flight, but the food is a bit over $10/plate...but it's the Barrington area...

TheSSG, Oct 08, 2012
Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.95/5  rDev -22.6%

The Onion Pub seems to be one of the only actual businesses in the ritzy bedroom community of Lake Barrington. It carries with it a certain air of NW Chicago suburban snobbery with it, or perhaps that feeling I got was only me being overly sensitive. At any rate I was happy to find the place after short drive up 22 from my Grandmother’s house.

Atmosphere: The Onion is housed in a modern timber frame structure and separated into several rooms. The bar area lacks bar space but has an ample number of tables located in clusters between the bar and a large open hearth fire place. Its dark, even during the day and there really isn’t a whole lot going on. I think it will improve with age.

Service: Service was curt and seemed annoyed by my questions about the beer even though there were only four people in total in the bar area when we were there. I was not impressed.

Selection: A short bottle list consisted of Ayinger and Lindeman’s products as well as a large number of macro swill. 12 taps presented two sodas and 9 beers of varying styles, and one nitro tap of a bourbon stout. Two hand pumps sat behind the bar but were not hooked up to any casks that day.

Quality: I would count all of their beers as average in quality. For me the highlights were a dunkel that had full, rich coffee and chocolate flavors and a helles lager that was unoffensive and very drinkable. The Bourbon Stout was above average. Most of their other beers were unexciting but not off putting.

Food: I had a half rack of absolutely revolting ribs. They were overcooked in the extreme and covered with a burnt tomato paste. Just revolting. The sided were good, however, and I particularly enjoyed the home made, fresh cut French fries. The house salad was fresh and enjoyable too.

Overall, I would not call the Onion a destination but as far as beer drinking is concerned in that corner of Lake County, it’s just about the only option and is certainly not a bad one in a pinch.

Prices were reasonable considering the area but would be high in Wisconsin. Growlers cost $5 for the bottle and $10 to fill.

DaPeculierDane, Mar 26, 2007
Photo of NorthsideFred
3.1/5  rDev -18.6%

The place is in the middle of nowhere. But a very cool looking building on the outside. On the inside it looks welcoming with lots of stone and exposed woodwork.

The crowd was very stuffy. Annoyingly so.

The beers I had were very good.

Unfortunately, they really whiffed on the service. The two bartenders were middle-aged women that didn't seem too knowledgable about the beers. The were polite but not very engaging - at all.

At a place like this the bartenders should either be hot young women, or beer geeks ... or both!

I'll try again because I like the beer. Maybe the regular bartenders had the day off.

NorthsideFred, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of riboflavin88
3.18/5  rDev -16.5%

I've been to this place several times now, and it has been slowly going downhill. It being so close I would love to frequent it regularly and give it higher reviews, but I can't bring myself to do it. First, the last few times I've been there they haven't had any of their own brews on tap. This is the reason I go to a brewery-restaurant, to try THEIR beer! Second, each time I've gone the food has gotten progressively worse, taking longer to get, and even coming room temp/cold to the table. The only menu item I would recommend highly is their Calzone, pretty tasty and priced reasonably. Not a horrible place, but not a great place. I have to admit, the last two times I went there they had just started a new head chef and perhaps they were still adjusting. Wishful thinking, but the food was better before the switch... They need to get their beer back in the barrels, and maybe I'll go back.

riboflavin88, Mar 08, 2008
Photo of cgs027
3.23/5  rDev -15.2%

Consider this a warning, as I know the Onion is a long haul for a lot of people to drive out to... The Onion Pub has apparently decided to substantially downsize their brewing operations. I was told on a recent visit to expect only 4 non-rotating house beers in the near future, one of which is the Light (why bother?!?). Pretty sad (and inexplicable), as their seasonals were really where they shined (Pumpkin, Bevo Brown, Winter Warmer, etc). Not only that, but the guest taps they had introduced at the time consisted of things like Hacker Pschorr and Blue Moon--why would someone go to a "brewery" to try things readily available at the local TGIFs?!?

cgs027, Aug 04, 2007
Photo of PickleBucket29
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%

PickleBucket29, Monday at 11:06 PM
Photo of Czap
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%

I was not impressed. There are not a lot of good places to drink in the North Suburbs, so when I hear about or discover one, I wanna check it out. Even though I heard some not so great things about this place, my wife and I were close by one night and thought we would give it a try.

Never again. The house brews were limited in styles and not very good. I got a flight of everything they had, which was five selections, three of which were light, and I was only slightly impressed with one. I had to end with a guest beer, Founders, in order to leave with a good taste in my mouth.

I ordered a gorgonzola bacon burger medium rare. It was cooked perfect and very delicious. My wife took a bite and said it tasted like a dirty dishrag. She's not a fan of stinky cheese though. Yum. So the food and service was very good.

Maybe they should just scratch the brewery operation and bring in a bunch of Midwest and Great Lake region brews. Until a change is made, I will not be making a return visit.

Czap, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of Vdubb86
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

I've been to the Onion Pub on several occasions with my family. Overall it seems like a classier place than it actually is. I'm not really sure how to describe the atmosphere. It's a really very quiet place, but that may be due to the fact that every time I'm there it's relatively empty. The quality is average across the board the food is good sometimes depending on what you get. The brews are average at best I prefer the Maibock as their best but in all honesty there is nothing special. It's a place to go for different brews than the mainstream. Sometimes there is a gem in the seasonals but the standbys aren't really the best. The service is always pretty good. I would venture a guess to say that there are better brew pubs out there, but since this one isn't overpriced at all it's worth a try if you find yourself in the area. I wouldn't go and seek it out but every once in awhile that is well worth a stop by

Vdubb86, Sep 11, 2010
Photo of stouts4me
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Great building, greater outdoor patio overlooking the 'lake'. Beer pretty good, nothing outstanding, just steady quality, food very good, nice place for dinner, and drinks on the deck.

stouts4me, Aug 24, 2014
Photo of PopnLoads
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

PopnLoads, Jul 24, 2014
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%

When I pulled into the parking lot it is a fancy new pub trying to look like an old English pub. They had a mural of dancing and drinking foxes on the front of a stone and wood building. They had several areas marked "native wildflowers" that were covered in dandelions. Inside the door they have an architectural drawing showing the new addition which will more than double the space. The area is very open with huge log beam construction. The bar is off to the left and it has a old world charm to it. Copper on the bar with dark stained pine to look old.

I was impressed by the 11 taps with one of them being a stout on Nitrous and two of them were soda. They also had 2 beers on cask a stout and an amber. They had 24 beers in bottles with 3 of them being good quality NA beers. They have a fully stocked bar as well. It was kind of interesting to see white gold tees shoved in the pouring attachments on some of the bottles of alcohol. I'm not sure if those were tees found on one of the many gold courses around the area but it doesn’t look appealing.

As I sat at the bar, I noticed all the beer glasses hanging from the bar. Everyone of them had a thick film on them and they were pulling them out of a revolving dishwasher. I think they are in sore need of some jet-dry. The more I sat there the more it drove me crazy to see rows and rows of DIRTY glasses hanging in front of my face. The beer was served at a good temp, not to cold but the cask beer was pretty warm. I like cask beer has cellar temp this was almost room temp.

The beers were 2.50 a glass which was dirt-cheap but the food was much higher priced. I was looking for some pub grub it is mostly burgers, pasta and steaks in full meals. Not much on the English pub theme although they did have plates on the wall listing typical English pub fare.

If you are ever in the area it is worth a stop for a decent beer but I wouldn't go out of the way for the food. Although I would bring my extended family here for food and a pint so that everyone would be happy.

rhoadsrage, May 04, 2006
Photo of Redrover
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%

We chose the Wild Onion as it was kind of half way between the two groups I was going out with. It was still a 40 minute drive….
As we pulled into the parking lot, I was impressed by the building and really liked the large mural on the outside. Inside, even more impressed. There is lots of large wood beams, a huge stone fireplace, cozy bar area to your left and lots of dining straight on and to your right.

Service was friendly and knew the beer menu, but they really try and quickly turn the tables over. My advice is to order an appetizer or two and don’t place your food orders until after you are done with the appetizers. I realize they are busy and may have folks waiting, but our check arrived at almost at the same time as entrees. Our waitress did say not to rush, but I still felt rushed.

Between our group, we had full pints of 7 of their offerings. The consensus was good not great beers. The best of the bunch was their hefe.

The appetizers were pretty good, the food was adequate. We liked the fried pickles and calamari. Burgers seemed to be premade patties. The fish and chips were good and the tartar sauce was very good. Nice salads as well. The prime rib, wraps and fish special didn’t not receive as high of marks.

I would be willing to go back for another visit. Maybe pick a week night to see if it is a little less rushed.

Redrover, Mar 04, 2013
Photo of Ascender
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%

The Onion Pub is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma in the middle of an industrial park. The owners of the Onion Pub won the lottery (literally) and were able to build a state of the art brewery and a wonderful, ski lodge style facility. There is a large and popular room used for weddings and the interior of the building, especially the bar area, is second to none in the northwest Chicago burbs.

The beer is pretty great. The Paddy's Pale Ale is a solid classic and the Hop Slayer is a decent double IPA. The Jack Stout is good but the Centennial Blonde is not spectacular. In general, this is a nice variety of styles, nothing earth shattering or too crazy, but good, consistently well made beer.

The problem is the food. It is not good. Unpalatable. The ingredients are cheap, the quality not always good and the presentation or how it is served is just...cheap. Oyster crackers, in the plastic bag with your salad...just put it them in a ramekin or on the side. The burgers are cafeteria grade. The rest of your food can be sub-par at a brew pub but if the burger is bad you've grossly missed the mark.

I want these guys to be great. The beer is leading the way, as a place like this should...but seriously, step up your food game.

Ascender, Jan 05, 2013
Photo of Florida9
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%

The Onion is average to slightly above average in almost every respect. From the beer to the food to the fairly limited selection, there is almost nothing that stands out about the Onion. The one thing that does is the building itself. The building reminds me of a French chateaux, even despite the fact that is sits in what can be called a semi-rural industrial park. There is a mural of a fairy-tale tavern with drinking foxes (at least I think those are foxes) on the front of the building while the landscaping is quite welcoming. Entering through the old looking wooden doors, you notice it is quite beautiful inside, with the inside being full of heavy wooden features, exposed cross beams and a large dark wood bar. The Onion is not only a brewpub, but is set up for catering, parties, and weddings as well. I mention this because a large portion of the interior is essentially a banquet hall.
However, aside from the thought and care that was put into the building, nothing else really stands out. The beer is average to slightly above average depending on what you order. And the food is the same: well prepared, but not overly interesting or impressive. Service was knowledgeable, helpful, and welcoming, but on the Sunday afternoon we were there, we were our waitresses only table, so being attentive shouldn't have been an issue.
Over all, I'm glad I visited the place. Couldn't see making the trip all the way out to Lake Barrington just to visit the Onion, but if I was ever in the area again, I wouldn't be opposed to stopping.

Florida9, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of circuitmonkey
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%

The building itself is absolutely spectacular... you wouldn’t expect it considering all you need to drive by to find this place.

When I visited there were 8 beers on tap. And the only one that really stood out as great to me was there Hefe-weiss (has a great aftertaste). The rest met my expectations. It took my waiter a rather long time to get my beer, but beyond that service was satisfactory.

The food portions were a little small, but so was the price given the quality of the food, so it all evened out I guess.

During the summer be sure to make a reservation if you want patio seating, otherwise you will have to be content with indoor seating (which is no pain, as I said before the building is beautiful). My only complaint was that the parking lot was more than full when I visited ...and for some odd reason the manager decided to ask for my ID half way through my beer even though my waiter did before serving it to me (not a complaint, but odd).

circuitmonkey, Jul 21, 2005
Photo of beatenbyjacks
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Lots of beer to choose from, however there was no patio. Some people love the German Beer Hall kind of atmosphere, but on a 70 degree day I want to enjoy my beer outside. I enjoyed the beer quite a bit though and they had a ton of variety.

beatenbyjacks, Sep 16, 2014
Photo of ccozzi
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

ccozzi, Nov 21, 2013
Photo of ChugginOil
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

My fiance checked this place out as a potential wedding venue.

The armosphere is somewhat "home" like with decorations set on shelves, dim lit lighting, and wood stained walls and ceilings. The wedding coordinator ordered us a beer while we waited for her.

The quality was pretty tidy and nice. The selections on draft were tasty as well as a bowl of sweet pepper crab soup. Clean place that.was cozy.

The.service at the bar was a bit slow, as was the event coordinator but there was an event going on in the banquet hall. Because of the wait we got our 2 beers and soup on the house.

They only had house brews on tap and had about 6-8. Small selection but quality matters.

Our soup was delicious!

Not hard on the wallet as brews range from 4-6 bucks a pint. Food was reasonably priced as well.

Pretty nice place.

ChugginOil, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of rmcnealy
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%

Onion Pub & Brewery - Lake Barrington, IL

After first really being exposed a few months back to Onion by trying their canned Pumpkin brew, I figured it's worth a visit. The aesthetics are awesome. Having visited in early November, the outdoor portion was unavailable. The inside features a high ceiling with tons of wood accents. It reminds me of a ski resort. I can imagine in a few weeks when there is a bunch of holiday decor up. Sat at a table in the bar area and was able to catch some Alabama/LSU action. My first request was Hop Slayer which unfortunately they were out of. I then requested a Pumpkin ale which although the site said was unavailable on tap was apparently available. I thought the Pumpkin brew was good in a can but was exponentially better on tap. I then tried the Centenni ale which was refreshing and robust. The food was simple but very good. Had a fondue that went great with the sausage included. The entree consisted of (don't laugh) an exceptionally awesome fried chicken and waffle plate. Although a staple in some areas, it's not so common in the Chi-land area. Turned out awesome. A buddy had oyster sliders and said they were unedible. Brews were solid, food was great (at least for 2 of the 3 people eating) and atmosphere was top notch.
If you're in the area, check it out.. especially on a cold blustry night.

rmcnealy, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of hoosier222002
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%

Stopped in on a Sunday evening and sat out on the deck. Very nice outdoor seating area right on the water that was very comfortable. I had three of their beers: Hop slayer double IPA, Jack Stout, and Paddy's Pale Ale. All three were solid beers, with the Jack Stout being my favorite.

Quite a bit of choices for food. We enjoyed a few appetizers and split a pizza. I recommend the Brat sliders.

Looks like a lot of seating inside. It was not too crowded but it was a Sunday. Deck seating is nice.

All in all solid choice.

hoosier222002, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of t0rin0
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%

Visited 10/7/2010.

12 house taps but 2 were empty.

Stopped in on a Thursday night while missing Stone Tap Takeover at Najas, freakin Womencantsail couldnt do something as simple as get me a handbottle of Mad Man Mix IRS. Worthless.

Lots of open seats so we sat at the bar and ordered a flight. There was a guy playing an accoustic guitar in the corner and few people even paying attention.

The bartender was real nice even if she wasn't checking on us very often. Actually I prefer that kind of service if I'm not eating anything. Just give me my drinks and leave me alone. She had no problems answering most of my beer related questions too.

Unfortunately they were out of the mango pale ale and I think the imperial stout. The beers ranged from decent to good with the exception of the Jack Stout which was bordering on crap. Highlights were Summer Wit (a bit out of season in October I know), Louie Light, and Paddy Pale Ale. Lowlights were hefe-weiss, King Paddy DIPA, and Jack Stout.

Would go back to tick, and maybe eat. Oh and to have some Mango Pale Ale if it's half as good as it sounds.

t0rin0, Nov 08, 2010
Photo of USAF77
3.86/5  rDev +1.3%

I went to a wedding reception here and had a great time. I was sitting at the bar drinking a diet coke when the smell of the beer just overwhelmed me and I ordered a few Pilsners. Their Pilsner is a really nice one and they allowed me to sample most of the rest of their Beers.

I really like this place. The Beer was fresh and delicious, obviously brewed with care. I wont go into detail about the different brews here but I consider Onion to be well worth the hour drive just to have lunch. Most of all a liquid one. I had a very good time there.

USAF77, Oct 24, 2013
Photo of emerge077
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%

Back when Illinois brewpubs were few and far between, new breweries weren't popping up every other week, and The Onion was among the last handful I haven't been to. This was mainly due to it's obscure location in an industrial park (a la FFF) in a suburb I never had a reason to go to. Recently had time to grab lunch here over the weekend, after drinking their beers for a few years now.

Oddly we were the first patrons at 11:40am on a saturday. The expansive parking lot was deserted, leading us to do a drive by on the front door to doublecheck the hours before parking.

The building is nice, definitely has lots of rustic, homey ski-lodge decor, with a fireplace in the bar area and a pair of little corner snugs flanking it on either side. The bar area is to the left past the host station once inside the heavy double doors. There were a dozen staff working, many sitting at one table doing prep work for Easter brunch. The bartender came over and served drinks and got us menus when we asked for them. They had some spring specials, I had the footlong jalapeño cheddar brat, and it was good.

Beer selection was decent, seemed like less than a dozen house taps, I had a Beggar's Brown and Drago Imperial Stout. Most of the standard lineup i'd had before. Kainz Brau is a surprisingly solid Pils, Hop Slayer is also good. Doesn't seem to be much variation seasonally, and more of a focus on the commercial canning operation of their regular lineup. The bartender mentioned they do a sign-up brewery tour on the first Saturday of every month. Village Tap and Owen & Engine will still be my go-to's for Wild Onion beers, where they tend to send their rarer one-offs and cask treatments.

Overall good, but probably not a place i'd return to soon. Locals don't seem to have many options though. Solidly just above average sums it up well.

emerge077, Apr 02, 2013
Photo of taez555
4/5  rDev +5%

I found this place after visiting the Ram brewery and picking up a Craft Brewers flyer on the way out the door. Little did I realize when I decided to check it out on July 7th that their grand opening was 3 days prior. So... keep in mind this review was from the opening days.

Walking in you could still smell the freshly stained wood. Everything was brand new. A beautiful upscale woodsy decore adorned the place. A lovely U shaped bar and bar seating area were off to one side. A fireplace sepperated it from the main seating area which then looked to have several smaller rooms used for parties or just additional seating. Deffinatly not your typical brewpub, a bit more upscale and yet homey at the same time.

The menu was typical mid level bar and grill fare. Standard appetizers, sandwiches, soups, salads, larger entre items of fish, meats, chicken, etc. I tried the portabello mushroom sandwich which was excellent.

As for beer. The menu was quite superb. Nearly 40 bottled and tap beers. Ranging from basic bud and micro brews to a decent asortment of belgians, germans and english beers. I was impressed just to see all 3 Chimays on a beer menu in IL.

As far as their own beers, (they are the Onion BREWERY afterall) the waitress informed us that we were a little too early. They're in the process of brewing them and should have their own beer up and running by the end of the summer. (2003)

Beyond that, they had an extensive wine and liquours list. As well as offering a nice assortment of deserts. You almost wouldn't know this place specialized in beer.

Overall I was quite impressed. The bathrooms alone with their all wood stalls and hand hammered metal sinks were beautiful. I'll deffinatly have to go back once they have their own beer brewing. I'd also like to check it out in the winter time. The fireplace and location, overlooking a small body of water, could be extremely cozy in the cold winter months.

taez555, Mar 22, 2004
Photo of maxcoinage
4/5  rDev +5%

maxcoinage, Aug 05, 2014
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Onion Pub & Brewery / Wild Onion Brewing Co. in Lake Barrington, IL
87 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.