I never had the opportunity to visit the original Red Lion in Lincoln Park, which had a huge fan base due to its haunted atmosphere and traditional pub fare. But I enjoyed my visit to the Lincoln Square version, which just started welcoming guests at its new incarnation at 4749 N. Rockwell Ave.
Joe Heinan and Sue Barton are the husband and wife team responsible for transforming the space into a traditional English pub.
The storefront doesn’t have any signage now, but once you’re inside you’ll feel like you’re in jolly old England. While the space isn’t dark and dank like some traditional pubs, its authenticity is enhanced with some of the décor Sue inherited from her great-uncle’s pub, The Anchor, including the bar.
While they wait for their liquor license, the owners are concentrating on the gastro side of their pub and offering dinner daily. The current version of the menu (which they promise will expand in 2011) offers traditional fare such as fish and chips ($10.25), Shepherd’s Pie ($9.50) and Cornish Pasty ($10.25), which is also available in a vegetarian version.
In addition to inheriting her great-uncle’s bar, Sue also is using some of his recipes such as the one for Colonial Chicken ($10.95), a spicy-sweet coconut curry served with wheat pilaf.
They hope to expand their hours when they recruit more staff, and they also plan to start offering brunch on the weekends, complete with the full English breakfast.
The Red Lion will be open 4 – 10 p.m. most nights (except for Mondays, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day), and for now it’s BYOB. They are also still trying to establish phone service, so you can’t call for a reservation or use credit cards at this time.
For the time being you’ll have to check their Facebook page for updates, a bit of British humor and photos of their new fans.