Have you ever heard the expression “he’s been slipped a Mickey Finn”? You probably recall someone saying these words in a film or play or even a television show. There is a true story that relates the tale of a bar or as they were called in those days, a saloon, owned by one Michael Finn. The “saloon” was called The Lone Star and was located on South State Street in Chicago. The year 1903. Mr. Finn gave some people a laced drink that took them out and the expression ” a Mickey Finn” became renowned. Sometimes all we hear is “slip him a Mickey”.
Ninety-one years later, way north of the original saloon, a new Mickey Finn’s Brewery was born. Sitting on Milwaukee Avenue in downtown Libertyville, new history was being created. A friendly micro-brewery that was built around the idea that families should enjoy dining as a unit and often with friends was established. It was a small and cozy dining spot with affordable menu prices and something for everyone. Recently, under the leadership of the new proprietor, Brian Grano, this family friendly destination restaurant/brewery moved to larger quarters allowing them the space to accommodate the guests who have chosen this as their comfy dining spot. In what has been several other businesses at 345 N. Milwaukee Avenue ( car dealer and repairs, primarily), Grano and his people put together an amazing location for not only the residents of Libertyville, but all of Lake County and the surrounding suburbs can truly enjoy.
I had been to the smaller version back in the 1990’s. when they opened and went back last night with Jane and the Steinberg’s (Larry and Aleeda, who had also been there back then). When I do a story about a restaurant, I try to get enough tastes to make sure that my readers get a true glimpse of the menu available. This menu is fantastic and in order to give you the true picture, I think I may have gained a few pounds. Let, me tell you, it was the best weight gain I have ever had. Allison, our waitress ( a Jennifer Garner look-alike) handled us with the greatest of ease. She captured the charm of the place and all the other servers and helpers were just a delight to watch deliver the food and service each diner. Great staff makes for a great experience and Finn’s sure has that.
Our appetizers were Irish Eggrolls (something I had never heard of), Blarney Balls, Retro Cheesy Artichoke dip and a Menage a Trais of “sliders” (BBQ brisket, BBQ pulled pork and a burger). All were great, but let me tell you about the specialties: The Blarney Balls are deep-fried, garlic. cheddar and bacon crusted mashed potatoes- WOW!. The Irish Egg Rolls are in reality Rueben sandwiches on a thin wrap instead of rye bread. Another WOW! There were a number of other items that I watched go by to other tables. In fact, this menu is so huge, one can probably come every week and enjoy different items with no duplication for a long time.
For our entrees, we did order a couple of nice sized salads and because it had started to warm up outside (went from 20 to 38 while we were dining) skipped the soup (the French Onion looked smashing and will be tried next visit). We ordered one pizza as the menu was extremely appetizing. We selected the Mac n’ Cheese n Bacon thin crust- amazingly the thin crust was delish and the toppings made it very special. I would imagine my grandkids wanting this for sure. By the way, they have a strong kids menu that would please any kid I know with most of the meals being between $5 and $6 and much healthier than a “Happy Meal” .
Of course we selected one of their special skirt steak sandwiches on a French roll. The marination made the taste one where no additional condiments were needed. We opted for the onion rings and fries on the sandwiches in order to get the true mix of the menu offered. The Ahi Tuna Sandwich with fruit was tasty and juicy and cooked to perfection. In fact, every item ordered came out to everyone’s satisfaction. I think Allison told the chef what would be best for us. For those of you who are not sandwich people, they do offer what they call their “Bigger Meals” like smoked brisket, Center-cut sirloin steak, Grilled Salmon and of course, if you have an Irish flavor- Fish & Chips. This is 2016, so they have Chimichangas and Quessadillas and even Fajita Tacos ( take that Donald!)
For dessert, they work closely with what appears to be a fabulous neighbor, Lovin’ Oven. We did have the one constant on their menu a chocolate tower that defies description only to say, another few ounces were about to be added. Mickey Finn’s Brewery has a bar that is lined with TV Screens (they are in the dining room, as well) so one could call it a “sports Bar”, but unlike many places that call themselves that, this is truly a place where one can bring the entire family for an enjoyable experience- either just the great dining experience or the whole “sports” experience. Unlike some of the others that bring you in for their one special item, the servers, this is a family dining experience that also offers sports views. On week-ends they also offer some live entertainment. To see what is happening, you can visit their website www.mickeyfinnsbrewery.com where you can also view the full menu of beers and food. They are closed on Mondays. To call for parties or reservations or to just say hello, call 847-362-6688. The address again, 345 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville ( just a few blocks North of Route 176). I am sure that along the way, our paths will meet at Mickey Finn’s as there are lots of items I have yet to taste!
By the way, the drinks from the bar are well poured and you will never be served a “Mickey” here!