One Lake Brewing, the recently opened brewery/restaurant at the corner of Lake and Austin, is a beautiful spot, with well-designed interior space and a lot of promise – it’s also great to see such a grand old building put to such good use. 

We visited on a recent Sunday, vowing to drink all the available beers – which we achieved by ordering flights, a very good way to enjoy a lot of tastes. The line-up of beers changes regularly; we had:

Lando, an IPA with intense grapefruit flavors, kind of like a Sauvignon Blanc; We liked it, but man, it was aggressive, very hoppy and tongue-coating. I imagine this would be good with a very fishy fish, like maybe mackerel.

Hopbrite is a pale ale, with peach on the nose and notes of tobacco, which surprisingly went very well together (kind of like John Rolfe peach brandy-flavored pipe tobacco).

Commonwealth uses a pre-Prohibition recipe from Appalachia, and tastes of dark toast, coffee and creamy chocolate, surprisingly light.

Schwartzbier is a German black beer and also a relatively lightweight sip, almost effervescent, one of the few dark beers that could be considered a session brew.

Oscar Milde is a lighter ale, and it was one of our favorites, very well-balanced, with sweetness, caramel, and almost savory, licorice-like notes.

Telegraph was another favorite, though it had the highest alcohol by volume (7.1%) of the whole bunch, hints of burnt sugar, slightly bitter.

We liked all the beers, but Oscar Milde was probably our favorite.

We figured we’d try some classic bar foods to go with our beers, so we ordered the One Lake Burger, Wings, and Pickled Things. These were not the most innovative items on the menu (there were several more interesting-sounding dishes on there), but we figured it’d be good to see how these guys handled the traditional favorites.

Pickled Things were fantastic, a colorful assortment of carrot, radish, onion, cauliflower, and cucumber. These pickles can be a starter or a side, and I would recommend Pickled Things with whatever you choose for your main course.

One Lake Burger was so-so: two thin patties, rather dry (it’s challenging to cook thin patties anything but well-done), with tomato jam, aioli, pickled onions, cheese and a few strands of arugula. Fries generic. Not bad, but it’s unlikely anyone comes to One Lake Brewery for the burgers (though we saw many people ordering them).

Wings done Buffalo-style were pretty good, with slightly spicy coating, crisp with bleu cheese sauce that, alas, had barely detectable blue cheese flavor. The meat was moist and tasty…but aren’t Buffalo Wings supposed to come with celery?

In the first-floor dining room, we saw many families, groups of guys, single women sitting at the bar, several couples. Overall, a welcoming place…and a really big place. Formerly a bank and a funeral parlor, this building has three floors, and there’s abundant seating on each floor; with an outdoor patio at street level and on the roof, room for plenty of people.

It’s easy to imagine how One Lake Brewing (1 Lake St.) will be a local success: it’s a good space for all kinds of groups, very pleasant, with food that will probably get better and an ambitious beer program. It’s also a very cool addition to the neighborhood, which doesn’t have any other places quite like this.

National Drink a Beer Day is September 28 – have several at One Lake Brewery. And get the Pickled Things.

Note: reviewer is anonymous and personally pays for all meals; viewpoints expressed are those of the reviewer alone.

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David Hammond

David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David...