Half Day Brewing heats up Lincolnshire bar, dining scene

Half Day Brewing Company's long-anticipated opening in early January has given Lincolnshire's dining and imbibing scene a boost. The new gastropub serves artisanal beers and inspired pub food in an inviting 14,500-square foot building that exudes modern industrial chic. It occupies a space in the Village Green shopping complex that was once the domain of longtime tenant Flatlander's Restaurant and Brewery.

<b>Motif:</b> Guests entering Half Day Brewing encounter a large island bar adjoined by deep-stained wood tables and break-out windows that open to a seasonal patio. Another corridor leads to the main dining room, a spacious lodge-style area with a massive stone fireplace and comfortable booth and table seating. From some spots, you can glimpse the open kitchen. There's also a larger window to check out the wood-burning oven. To one side is a smaller martini/wine bar along with added seating for private parties and overflow crowds. Sightlines to muted flat-screen TVs are good from just about every point on the premises.

<b>Food:</b> The menu is still being tweaked, but Brew House chicken wings are a top seller; they're first placed in a buttermilk brine, then dry rubbed and smoked for four hours before being flash-fried and served with ranch dressing and three sauces. Burgers (beef, turkey and lamb) are another customer favorite.

Two shareable appetizers during a recent visit included a pair of lump crabcakes with roasted red peppers and corn, served with a beer-mustard aioli and apple-fennel garnish, and crunchy pepper and salt shrimp with Sriracha aioli and Szechwan peppercorns. The chilies and cilantro arrived on the side, as requested. Both starters exceeded expectations.

  Pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven at Half Day Brewing Company in Lincolnshire. Steve Lundy/

The 12-inch Brew House signature pizza came with a delicious mix of toppings: fire-roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic cream, artichokes, Kalamata olives and fresh mozzarella. But the thin crust had a rather sweet, soft quality - something that came as a surprise.

The menu also includes a selection of creative salads and sandwiches. Main-course dishes, $16 to $50, range from roasted half chicken to a 24-ounce bone-in Blackhawk rib-eye.


  Bartender Amanda McDuffie makes a Moscow Mule at Half Day Brewing Company in Lincolnshire. Steve Lundy/

Liquid consumption</b> Starting in April, Half Day Brewing will begin production of its own beer, which will join the lineup of local and regional brews. In the meantime, more than 30 craft beers can be ordered on tap, including a refreshing wheat ale spiced with coriander and sweet orange peel from Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, N.Y. Major brands also are available canned or bottled. So, too, are wines and specialty cocktails, including one made with beer.

<b>Crowd: </b>Half Day Brewing is proving to be a venue with broad appeal: singles, couples and families with kids in tow. Keep in mind, however, the later one dines the louder the volume. The place also draws lunch and dinner traffic from the area's hotels and nearby office complexes.

<b>Service: </b>The accommodating, attentive staff knows its stuff and doesn't hesitate to explain how dishes are prepared.

<b>Music:</b> Live entertainment starts at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights in the bar area. And there's a jazz brunch on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

<b>Parking:</b> Plenty of parking within steps of the building.

<b>Overall:</b> Half Day Brewing Company, with its well-stocked beverage service and diverse food menu, is only a few months old, but already makes a nice fit in Lincolnshire.

Half Day Brewing Company

200 Village Green, Lincolnshire, (847) 821-6933,

Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday

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