The Lucky Monk

The Lucky MonkThe Lucky Monk

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

105 Hollywood Blvd
South Barrington, Illinois, 60010-7121
United States

(847) 898-0500 | map

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Added by emerge077 on 12-10-2009

View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
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Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 38
Photo of dh1
3.21/5  rDev -13.2%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

The last time I was there, they were putting all their beers in this little mason jar glass.
They used to have tall glasses for the tritica, but now put all beers in the same glass.
Does anyone else have a problem with this? Now, I have not been there since they made this glass change, if they went back to REAL glasses, I would like to know.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
2.29/5  rDev -38.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 1.5 | service: 1.75 | selection: 2 | food: 4.5

If you enter this place and judge the book by its cover you will be incredibly disappointed once you read the pages. Very nice atmosphere with barrels embedded in the walls (complete with names like lambic, kriek, Belgian Abbey ale, Doppelbock, etc). Well laid out tables in the dining area and high tables in the bar area. But despite the decor the house beers were awful, every last one that I tried.

It strikes me as basically a restaurant trying to capitalize on the popularity of craft beer without making the effort to create compelling beers themselves. The IPA was bitter without any flavor, tasting as if it was aged for 5 years prior to serving. The pilsner was similary bitter without redeeming flavors. It's difficult to make beers this bad without realizing it, and thus I believe that they truly don't care. They do carry guest bottles (although all the taps are house beers), so Lagunitas IPA to the rescue.

The food was quite good, no complaints as a restaurant. But the reason I find brewpubs is for good beer/food pairings, and except for the guest bottles there was nothing to find here.

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Photo of cjacobsen
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

The atmosphere is clean and a little more upscale than just a pub or restaurant. Darker colors, wood, and modern furniture. The lighting is ample but nothing too bright or too dark. It's a nicer atmosphere that you can wear something casual and not feel underdressed but can dress up a bit and not be overdressed.

The beer menu mainly focuses around their house brand, which is very good and has a wide selection of styles. I'm a fan of their oatmeal stout. They even have limited seasonals and other specialty brews as well. Their bottle list has actually gotten smaller over the course of time, but it is constantly being updated and switched out.

The food is really good. So far every time I've been there I've gotten something different and have been very pleased with the quality of the cuisine.

It's not really expensive and definitely not any more than another pub or restaurant in the area. I think it's quite reasonable for what you are getting.

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Photo of Preismj
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

alright place. I got a sampler of brews and nothing was spectacular. The food on the other hand...I had the 'hot head' burger and split some pizza with the table. the pizza was great the burger was phenomenal...I couldn't even put it down. Wish it was a bit larger though. There are upgrades for the fries, but they weren't worth the $$$.

They have rotating taps for random beers they make. I had the barrel aged oatmeal stout. It was nothing special. The beers in general were lacking a ton of pop and flavor. I was originally going to buy bottles to go, but passes as nothing was tremendous. A good place to go for food and try the new 'beer of the week' they concocted...but I wouldn't make the trip just for beer.

Nice fire pit outside and the place itself looked new and clean. Plenty of seating and a great place to go for a nice weekend dinner. Would go back...just not only for beer.

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Photo of Yetiman420
2.88/5  rDev -22.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 2 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2 | food: 4

A big surprise when I found out there was a "Belgian brewpub" in suburban Chicago. I specialize in brewing Belgian styles and have enjoyed a beer tour of the country seeking to return sometime soon.

A tremendous amount of work and money went into this facility. It looks even better than what is shown on the website (which is a rarity these days). I sat at the large wooden bar in the shadow of the spiritual Belgian brewing tanks and multitude of large flatscreen TV's. By the time my first beer arrived, 9:30, the 30-something couple next to me was making out and trying to figure out how they could avoid detection of her teenage daughter (no impact on rating).

House beers were: weiss, Belgian amber, pilsner, Vienna-style lager, American IPA, and an oatmeal stout. The monks that I know would take exception to the fact that one out of six beers at a Belgian-themed brewery was actually a Belgian beer. The guest taps were New Belgium might arrow (American pale ale), two varieties of Sam Adams, and Blue Moon (marketed as a Belgian white). I won't insult the Monks by asking about this guest tap list - at least they didn't try to pass Stella on us. The good news for fans of Belgians is I did see what looked like Wetmalle and/or Rochefort bottles being stocked in the fridge. This place needs more Monks like those.

I had what they called a thin pint of the Belgian amber which was still a generous sized pour. I followed that with a generous free sample taste of the IPA. They both tasted pretty much the same - cloyingly sweet with no distinct Belgian yeast flavor from the amber and nothing hoppy from the American IPA.

I went with a Greek salad which was based on spinach and other than forgetting the onions, it was good.

This was stop #210 on my quest to visit as many quality breweries as possible. If they invested as much effort into the beer as they did the facility, this could be something special.

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Photo of beerwolf77
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Stopped in here with BeerFMAndy and our ladies recently and gave it a whirl.

The decor seems to be upscale restaurant/sports bar. Which suits me just fine. Dark wood and rich upholstery cover the place. Along with a large number of flat screens. Low lighting to give it that almost romantic feel. We were seated in a large booth and persused the menus. Andy and I actually walked up to the bar to check out the chalk board to see what seasonals were being offered. Unfortunately it was rather sparse. We sat back down and were informed they wereout of all seasonals except the porter. I love porters so this wasn't all bad.

The beers were served at proper temp in nice oversized pints. The food was fantastic. The pretzel trio was EHHPIC! The pizza was very tasty as well.

About the only complaint I would have is the price. A bit steep for my taste but it is IL. I would go back for dinner for sure.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Ventured here with VDubb86 and a few other friends for something to do. Seated behind the bar near the fermenter-filled window. The place is a nice, dark-ish brewpub kinda atmosphere, not too loud but not all that noisy, really, either. Tried all of the brews on-tap (the in-house brews, anyway), with only one of them (the porter) sticking out; the rest were decent but nothing special. A bunch o' flat screens allowed for the viewing of sports. The service is pretty good, though I did not note the knowledgeability (if any was to be found, o' course), as no questions were really asked. Overall, it's a nice place to grab some drinks, and I hear the food is pretty good too (though I did not partake this particular evening). Though the beers ain't the best in the area, they're also not bad, and everything goes down quick and easy.

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Photo of goethean
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

After seeing a Hindi movie at the South Barrington 30, we stopped by the next-door bar for dinner and beers. A fire was going in the outdoor back area, which was inviting. They tried to seat us in the bar right in front of a TV, but gave us a booth in the dining area when requested.

I got a portabella mushroom sandwich and my wife got a pizza. Both were good but the pizza wasn't spectacular. I got the beer sampler which, it turned out, did not include the porter, but my server happily got me a sample of it, which was nice of him. The beers are well-made if a bit pedestrian for this extreme beer lover and homebrewer. The porter is the best of the bunch in my opinion.

Having spent time at plenty of mediocre suburban brewpubs, I have pretty low expectations for them. I'd describe the Lucky Monk as a very good restaurant with good beer to which I would be happy to return in the future. The value is in between 'reasonable' and 'a bit pricey'. It's more than we usually spend, but the food is tasty.

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Photo of Vdubb86
4/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

The feel of the lucky monk is of a higher end classy place. The prices are much more reasonable than I expected. It was my intent to get the sampler platter to taste all of the beers to find my favorite selection at the place. Overall, I wasn't really impressed with the beer choices that I had before me but I settled on the Amber which was still a solid brew. From what I understand the winter seasonals are the better of the brews. I'll have to come back and find out.

The service at the place was excellent our waiter was incredibly knowledgeable with all of the foods on the menu as well as all of the beers available on tap and in bottle.

One thing that I would be hard pressed to complain about was the portions. You get quite a large meal for the price you pay. There wasn't a giant menu of options to choose from, but it really didn't seem to phase anyone in my party. All of the food ingredients seemed to be put together in unique combinations to make up the menu items, they did not disappoint. One of the better meals I've had at a brew pub.

Overall, this place comes highly recommended. The beer isn't the greatest, but it's good enough. And the food and service are enough to keep you coming back for more.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.13/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Finally got the chance to hit this place up over the weekend.
A nice looking place on the inside and outside with cool looking barrels lining the walls; makes you feel like you are walking into a barrel room.
Despite it being a Friday night, we were able to get a table right away and our waiter was very helpful and informative about the food; not so much about the beer, but that did not bother me that much.
I got the sampler of all 7 of their current beers they had and all were decent or good. They even had a few guest taps such as 3 Floyds Alpha king and GI 312 wheat. There was even a small selection of bottles you could purchase, but the only one I remember was Duvel and maybe Lindemans Kriek.

The food, for the most part was also good, but my burger was a tad soggy. The pretzel trio appetizer we got was amazing to say the least.
My only real complaint about the place was the prices; the beer was priced fairly I think, but the food in my opinion, they overcharge for a bit. After beer, appetizer, two meals, and tip, it was $50 for 2 people.
Definitely worth checking out though if you are in the area. It is within walking distance of a large AMC theater, so I suggest, go catch a movie, and stop on over afterwards for a beer or two and the pretzel trio. The burgers are average, but the pizza looked really good.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.4/5  rDev +18.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

I always wanted to get into this place when it was Brass but by the time I got around to getting that was I found out it was closed. I was very happy to meet the brewer at the Barrington Brew Fest last summer though and when I began inquiring about his beer and where it was, he said in the old Brass restaurant. Jam! Then he said it wouldn't be open til November.

I finally got in there a few weekends ago when I was down in Illinois. My girlfriend and I each went for a flight of Lucky Monk brews after lunch at Buona beef up the road. The building itself was designed with absolute precision. Totally awesome in every regard. From partial stone walls to the pendant lighting in key spots to the brewery behind the glass wall and well-crafted bar, it all looked nice. The dark wood tones set a nice feel for the building. It was all awesome and a great job by the interior designers. I especially liked the side room by the bar with a pool table.

I only had one issue with the quality and that came in on my last beer, the IPA. Everything else seemed ok, but I couldn't figure out why that one wasn't very good

The server was fantastic. The first thing I did was ask if I could get each of my beers separately and poured into a pint instead of a taster. She was curious and I said that I review beers and they would be better this way. Totally fine with it, she constantly checked up on us to see how we liked the beers and when I needed my next one. She must have told the bar manager cause he came over about half way through my reviews and talked to my girlfriend and I for a solid 4 minutes. Very nice guy who bounced an idea off us that sounded good and eventually picked up our bar tab. Sweeeet! I tried to find him before we left to let him know in honor of his generosity I'd be doing a two-part episode of Lucky Monk on my podcast BeerFM.

Besides a few guest taps (one was Alpha King), I know they had bottled beer there but for the life of me I can't remember anything but Duvel.Their beers though ranged in style that was pretty diverse so that was really nice to see. Having come from lunch we didn't eat there but people down the bar had something that looked great.

We'll be making it back soon to pick up a meal to go with our beers. If you're in the area check out Lucky Monk for a pint or two, enjoy the awesome service, and take in the beautiful building. It's certainly better than the competition across the street (Millrose which seems to cater more to old, old people looking for brunch on Sunday than people going in for craft brew).

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Photo of datamike
2.8/5  rDev -24.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 1.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3

The interior is a big improvement over the Brass - inviting and warm.

Food is decent - similar to big-chain, corporate restaurants. Nothing really special, local or hand-made, but nothing horrible either. Burgers are large, and the fries are very good.

The house brewed beers are disappointing. The one descriptor most befitting would be "insipid". They're all rather bland and lifeless. Best was the porter and English brown ale. The IPA was particularly tame. I'd like to have the brewer do a side by side tasting of his IPA and Three Floyd's Alpha King (which they did have on tap)....

A warning to you AHA members: Although this restaurant is clearly listed on the pub discount program website ( they refused to honor our membership cards until we requested to speak with a manager. He identified himself as "one of the principals" and stated that he knew nothing about the program. Finally, someone in our group showed him the listing on their iPhone and he relented and gave us a 10% discount (the listing states 15%).

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Photo of Florida9
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I think the Lucky Monk is supposed to have a Belgian beer theme or feel to it, though I'm not sure it succeeds. LM feels a lot like a corporate restaurant with decent beer. Stone walls, high ceilings, fake barrel halves stuck to the walls. Clean, dark, and corporate. Though, surprisingly, for a place that is centered around beer, there isn't a huge focus on the beer.

LM is housed in the former Brass brewpub. If you're looking to open a brewpub, I guess a former brewpub is a good place to start. But everything is different now. There is a bar area to the right and a seating area to the left. In the middle there is a seating area, maybe for when you're waiting for your table, maybe just to hang out in.

The beer is above average, but doesn't compare to other local breweries. I'm not saying they're bad by any means, but, for the most part, they appeared to be brewed for the average restaurant goer and not necessarily for the beer geek, resulting in beers that are good, but tame. However, they do appear to be willing to go out on the edge. On my visit, they were experimenting with a few beers that weren't on the menu and it seems like they would be having some other ones coming in going as well. They had seven of their beers on tap and four guest beers (FFF, Half Acre) on tap as well, with another 2 dozen or so bottled beers (from Miller Lite to Jolly Pumpkin).

Servers are professional, but are entirely devoid of beer knowledge.

Food is above average corporate restaurant food, along the lines of a J Alexander's, Houston's or any LEY restaurant, with the focus being on burgers and pizzas. There are only a hand full of other entrees. While we found the food to be fresh and well prepared, we also found it to be heavily salted as well.

Overall, I enjoyed LM, but not to the point I would be making this a regular stop. However, I would like to try some of their other beers and am a bit curious about what they have planned down the line.

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Photo of emerge077
3.89/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

First impression of this new brewpub was positive... Stopped in last night to try the lineup of beers. The building was freestanding near a large movie theater complex, so it was easy to find and near the expressway.

Inside the revolving door was a maƮtre d' stand, and some faux barrel heads on the wall with "Kriek" and "Lambic" emblazoned on them. There was a small cooler in the front with bottles-to-go also (only the basic three). The bar was rectangular shaped with a couple of identical tap towers, each one held 10-12 taps. There was a cluster of little glowing lamps identifying the taps, which was unique. There were a few flatscreens above the bar, and good (non-muzak) music playing (Flaming Lips, YYY). Sectioned off from the bar and seating area was a pool room, and foosball table. The decor was dark wood and low, warm lighting from assorted small hanging lamps. The bar was lit below, with a silver rail that had an interesting turned pattern to it. It had an upscale vibe in general, with some stonework accents in the dining area. The brewing equipment was visible through paned glass opposite the bar.

Selection was well-rounded, with a nice representation of styles. I noticed Hennepin, Rodenbach, JP Calabaza Blanca, Storm King, and a few more solid bottle options. There were 6 house beers on draft, also Alpha King, Cane & Ebel, and Half Acre Over Ale. Standout house beers were the Porter, Holiday Bock, and Belgian Pale. We shared the pretzel plate and liked the mustard dip best. Bar service was really great, the bartender engaged us several times and got our opinions of the beer. For now they only have the basic 3 beers to go in bombers. Growlers may be in the works sometime in the future after things are up and running for awhile. We plan to go back for dinner sometime and try more of the seasonals.

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The Lucky Monk in South Barrington, IL
3.55 out of 5 based on 247 ratings.
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