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Onion Pub & Brewery / Wild Onion Brewing Co.
Active Beers: 23
Beer Ratings: 571
Beer Avg: 3.62
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Eatery ]
22221 North Pepper Road
phone: (847) 381-7308
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vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75 | $$
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.
04-02-2013 00:41:37 |
More by emerge077
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | $$
This is AutumnalDave's favorite spot and he needs to get a review up here! I also really liked it, but I've got to be forthcoming and cop to the fact that this was the third of our three stops on an August evening in 2005 and by the end, I was really feeling it. I got good notes, but I'd like to go back next summer, maybe during my cross-country Tour de Biere. Howzaboutit, Dave? You up for another go-'round w/the Woodman?
This place was really warm and friendly, but it came from a different direction than other brewpubs that I have visited. Usually, the ambiance is created from shades of brown everywhere, starting with light brown and going as deep as mahogany. Here, they use blonde wood, blonde and brown spiles for the joints, blonde wood tap handles, shiny laminated copper on the bar top, tan gingham curtains, grey limestone, and exposed white ducting and piping. The booths are carved wood and the logo is a hip, orange-yellow, oval onion with wild green tufts of hair and a light brown, baided goatee. Hmm, seems to me I've seen a reddish/light-brown braided goatee on another famous personality ...
Going out back, which they only recommend during the summertime, is a beautifully appointed stone deck; a bunch of tables with umbrellas; a spectacular vista, especially at sunset; and a really great man-made lake with a waterfall that would make my landscaper friend envious.
The staff was really helpful, answering my myriad questions, welcoming me in that friendly, mid-western manner and gently steering me towrds the door when the time came. You can bet that I'll be back, Dave willing.
11-24-2005 17:59:00 |
More by woodychandler
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$
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 Grandmothers 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 isnt 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 Lindemans 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, its 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.
03-26-2007 17:48:37 |
More by DaPeculierDane
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.25 | $$$
We chose the Wild Onion as it was kind of half way between the two groups I was going out with. It was still a 40 minute drive….
As we pulled into the parking lot, I was impressed by the building and really liked the large mural on the outside. Inside, even more impressed. There is lots of large wood beams, a huge stone fireplace, cozy bar area to your left and lots of dining straight on and to your right.
Service was friendly and knew the beer menu, but they really try and quickly turn the tables over. My advice is to order an appetizer or two and don’t place your food orders until after you are done with the appetizers. I realize they are busy and may have folks waiting, but our check arrived at almost at the same time as entrees. Our waitress did say not to rush, but I still felt rushed.
Between our group, we had full pints of 7 of their offerings. The consensus was good not great beers. The best of the bunch was their hefe.
The appetizers were pretty good, the food was adequate. We liked the fried pickles and calamari. Burgers seemed to be premade patties. The fish and chips were good and the tartar sauce was very good. Nice salads as well. The prime rib, wraps and fish special didn’t not receive as high of marks.
I would be willing to go back for another visit. Maybe pick a week night to see if it is a little less rushed.
03-04-2013 19:05:49 |
More by Redrover
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
This place is in the middle of nowhere it seems. It is tucked behind a few car dealerships iirc.
It is a huge place but the bar area is pretty small. That is where I sat. There was a wedding going on and an Irish guy playing music in the corner. I sat there and watched some hockey.
There seemed to be room for about 4 taps and 4 casks, but there were about 10 taps available on this night.
I tried the Weiss, Oktoberfest, CenteniAle, and Pilsener. None of them are available in cans. The Weiss amd CenteniAle were good but the other two lacking. The O'Fest was more like a Vienna, and an oddball one at that. The Pilsener was super watery.
There was a selection of bottles ranging from Hoppin Frog to Miller as well.
The bartender was pretty attentive. Overall a nice place.
11-12-2011 17:31:51 |
More by crossovert
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 doesnt 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.
05-04-2006 02:42:03 |
More by rhoadsrage
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I can't believe it's taken me so long to visit this place, especially considering it's close proximity. It's a small-ish place, tucked away in a random spot on what I think may be an artificial (though still lovely) lake in a semi-industrial park in the semi-boonies of Lake Barrington. Wood is the material of choice, though the bar I sidled up to was clad in copper. There are a few TVs hanging around, tuned to the sports, but all were muted. The ten house beers were surprisingly ranged from a nice oatmeal stout to a no-nonsense light lager. They're all pretty good, though nothing's really all that stellar. They also had some guest taps (the highlight being DFH's Palo Santo Marron) and some BMC bottles. The bartenders are all rather amiable and seemed fairly knowledgeable about the beers (though I didn't really pry). My cohorts at the bar were all locals of various ilks, and all seemed congenial. I didn't try any of the food (it was too late by the time I left anyway), but some of the plates I saw from across the room looked pretty good. Overall, a nice little brewpub. I could see myself having a pint or two down here fairly regularly without breaking a frown.
01-05-2011 08:08:20 |
More by TMoney2591
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
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.
11-08-2010 19:24:48 |
More by t0rin0
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.
03-22-2004 08:15:48 |
More by taez555
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
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.
10-20-2011 01:29:09 |
More by Florida9
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Onion Pub & Brewery / Wild Onion Brewing Co. in Lake Barrington, IL