The Onion Pub and Brewery is truly a unique destination. Opened in 2003, it has been our goal to honor the age-old tradition of the local pub and brewery while surrounding our guests with a warmth and ambiance hard to find on this side of the Atlantic. The main restaurant and bar are connected to a truly world-class banquet facility overlooking an 11 acre lake and waterfall, with a large patio and hop garden for outdoor dining. With a capacity of 250, we host a large variety of events throughout the year. Click on the banquet section of this site for a detailed look at the possibilities for your special event.
A massive Doug Fir timberframe anchors the heart and soul of the Onion, our brewery. Fine handcrafted ales and lagers brewed directly beneath the timbers in our cellars are tapped at their peak of freshness, made with only the choicest organic barley and hops. To complement our fine brews, we offer a wide variety of comfort food from handmade pizzas to filet mignon and ahi tuna. Click on the menu section of our website for a better look at our full menu.
Here are few interesting facts about our establishment:
- The Onion Pub began as the Wild Onion Brewing Company in a small warehouse in Lake Barrington in 1995. Our name is a tribute to the original inhabitants of this region, the Potowatami tribe. The wild onion plant, with its distinct aroma and purple flower, grew in the wetlands and waterways of northern Illinois. While paddling their canoes throughout the area, the Potowatami referred to the region as “Che-cau-gua”, translated directly as land of the stinking onion. The great city of Chicago also takes its name from the pronuciation of that same word.
- The restaurant and brewery is located on an 11 acre lake that was formally a sand and gravel quarry tapped for its “bank run”. That material was used as a base to widen northwest highway in the 1950’s. The original quarry was much larger, and was filled back in with concrete remnants of many buildings throughout the area, including the original Arlington Park racetrack. When purchased in 2000, the lake had been scarred by a former tenant’s short-lived attempt to turn the lake into a scuba diving site. Over the past 8 years, we have restored the lake and its banks to native prairie. Legend has it that a 100 pound catfish named “Louie” lives at the bottom of the lake, claiming the fuselage of a commercial airliner as his home.
- The timbers used in the timberframe are Douglas fir deadfall-trees growing in the Pacific Northwest that had been knocked down years before in that region’s ferocious winter storms Counting the rings on these timbers before raising the frame, we found some to be over 250 years old. That means that you can sip on a pint underneath a tree that was growing before the American Revolution! Some of our regulars claim to have felt the wisdom of our founding fathers speaking to them through the timbers (or was it that last beer?)
- The exterior walls of the pub are built with a product called Solarcrete that gives them an amazing insulative ability. The process involves spraying concrete in multiple layers onto styrofoam panels, resulting in an incredible R-value of 40 and a thickness of almost 18 inches.
- The main restaurant and bar are heated and cooled with geothermal technology utilizing the lake as a cooling source in the summer months and a heat source in the winter.
- We recycle all of our waste vegetable oil from the kitchen and convert it to biodiesel fuel for use in the tractor used for landscaping the site in the summer.
- All the spent grain from the brewery is composted and used as mulch in our organic garden, providing locally grown produce for the restaurant during the growing season.