Onion Pub & Brewery / Wild Onion Brewing Co.

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Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

22221 North Pepper Road
Lake Barrington, Illinois, 60010
United States

(847) 381-7308 | map

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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 54
Photo of riboflavin88
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

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.

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Photo of cgs027
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 1 | food: 4

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?!?

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.95/5  rDev -21.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 2

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.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

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.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.5/5  rDev +20%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

This is AutumnalDave's favorite spot and he needs to get a review up here! I also really liked it, but I've got to be forthcoming and cop to the fact that this was the third of our three stops on an August evening in 2005 and by the end, I was really feeling it. I got good notes, but I'd like to go back next summer, maybe during my cross-country Tour de Biere. Howzaboutit, Dave? You up for another go-'round w/the Woodman?

This place was really warm and friendly, but it came from a different direction than other brewpubs that I have visited. Usually, the ambiance is created from shades of brown everywhere, starting with light brown and going as deep as mahogany. Here, they use blonde wood, blonde and brown spiles for the joints, blonde wood tap handles, shiny laminated copper on the bar top, tan gingham curtains, grey limestone, and exposed white ducting and piping. The booths are carved wood and the logo is a hip, orange-yellow, oval onion with wild green tufts of hair and a light brown, baided goatee. Hmm, seems to me I've seen a reddish/light-brown braided goatee on another famous personality ...

Going out back, which they only recommend during the summertime, is a beautifully appointed stone deck; a bunch of tables with umbrellas; a spectacular vista, especially at sunset; and a really great man-made lake with a waterfall that would make my landscaper friend envious.

The staff was really helpful, answering my myriad questions, welcoming me in that friendly, mid-western manner and gently steering me towrds the door when the time came. You can bet that I'll be back, Dave willing.

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Photo of circuitmonkey
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

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).

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Photo of taez555
4/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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.

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Onion Pub & Brewery / Wild Onion Brewing Co. in Lake Barrington, IL
3.58 out of 5 based on 1,439 ratings.
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