John Barleycorn - River North
John Barleycorn - River North

John Barleycorn - River North

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.johnbarleycorn.com/
  • Phone: 7733488899
  • Hours of Operation:

    Monday - Friday: 11:00am-2:00am*, Friday: 11:00am - 3:00am , Saturday 9:00am - 3:00am, Sunday: 9:00am - 2:00am*
    *closing times subject to change
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: American
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes

Getting there

  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from John Barleycorn - River North
The original John Barleycorn, which opened nearly 50 years ago at 658 W. Belden Avenue, has become a Chicago classic. From its debut as a neighborhood haunt featuring classical music and art slides to its current format as a sports-focused neighborhood bar and restaurant, the core of the concept remains the same: quality food at reasonable prices, a full-service bar with a stellar beer list and an eclectic interior which is both welcoming and comfortable.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerVibrant Bar Scene
John Barleycorn - River North reviews from OpenTable diners
23 reviews since June 25, 2014
Overall Rating4
  • Food4
    Service3.6
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
83% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
good for groups (17)vibrant bar scene (11)great for lunch (9)great for outdoor dining (7)neighborhood gem (6)late-night find (4)hot spot (4)great for brunch (3)fit for foodies (1)special occasion (1)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • Meh
    MintyFreshVIP
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    The place was empty and the service was still poor. Our waitress spent most of her time socializing at the bar. Decent bar food and spacious room
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good Food, Poor Service
    HungryRunner
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    We had a group meet here post-marathon for celebratory dinner & drinks. I explained to our server in the beginning that we would have several groups arriving, each with different checks, & gave her my card for my group (& yes, this was on an OpenTable reservation). Easy, right? Apparently not for her. She didn't know how to handle multiple groups at the same table, which meant someone was always waiting for something. It practically took an act of congress to get water on the table for a group of obvious post-marathon runners (& we were ordering beers & food too)! And of course she screwed up the bills & overcharged a few of us. Nice place to hang out & watch the game, but don't expect even decent service.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice Spot
    JigJag
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    Great job on seating placements and everyone had a good time.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great lunch menu
    Diane
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    We went as a group of six to celebrate a birthday. The food was excellent! The service was a little slow for the restaurant not being very busy but otherwise this is a great place for great food.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Angelica
    nope
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Our server, Angelica, was amazing! She took great care of us.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not the best time
    moli
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    We went out for my brother's and my birthday(party of 9).John Barleycorn is a huge place so it was easy getting a table.The scene is pretty good,has a nice bar feel to it,however it was empty,which wasn't necessary a bad thing,depending what you like.The music was not that loud so we could have conversations and didn't have to yell all the time.After we got seated we waited about 10 mins to get drink menus because there were short on them because of a private party upstairs.After the drink menus we waited another 15 for someone to pick up the orders and another 15 to actually have the drinks on the table.It turns out they had one waitress for all of the lower level,all others were at the private party.Very unprofessional in my opinion.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Sports bar vibe w/eclectic menu
    Urbane29
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    I tried this restaurant while visiting Chicago and trying out a Groupon deal for brunch. From my Bellinis to my chicken and waffles, I was so impressed. For a Sunday around 11:30, there was only a small crowd, so it was pretty quiet. From the spacious bars and television screens, this place looks to be a hot spot.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice time
    HappyToTravel
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Visited Chicago with a group of three adults plus a 16-year old and an 18-year old. Good food, wonderful service. It was a Saturday night - reservation at 8. The bar music got louder and louder - by 10 pm we couldn't hear each other to talk at the table. Other than that, a pleasant experience.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Old reliable
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    Great place! Music was a little loud for a Sunday evening, but who am I to complain. They have great beers on draft although their selection should be a little lengthier to compete with the direction things are going in the craft beer industry...thanks so much though for having Not Your Father's Root Beer on draft!!!!! That stuff is amazing. Also, excellent burgers, will return again, thanks! :)
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 14 ratings-only reviews submitted since June 25, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.1
    • Food3.9
    • Ambiance4.1
    • Service3.8
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The following 38 reviews are from the John Barleycorn - River North reviews archive.
  • Over 1 hr wait for food
    JAMSVIP
    Dined on 6/9/2014
    Thought we were being smart by making a reservation during Neocon week at the Merchandise Mart. Arrived at 1pm for reservation, was seated immediately, ordered food w/in 10 mins. Server cautioned that kitchen was a "little behind". Waited, waited, and waited. Wasn't personal because everyone was waiting. Felt bad for the wait staff, not their fault. Restaurant should have stopped seating people, since most who had the patience to wait got their meal comp'd. We finally gave up around 2:15, as I had already pushed back a 2:30 meeting 'til 3. I know this is out of the ordinary for this place as I've dined here several times before and not had this problem.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Consistent
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 6/6/2014
    Great bar food, service is excellent. Large room with plenty of space... reservations are recommended for lunch since this place fills up pretty fast.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • First Timer
    Diane
    Dined on 4/14/2014
    This was the first time our group visited John Barleycorn. We work a couple of blocks away and looking for somewhere different to go for lunch with our birthday group. The restaurant was unusually empty for this location ( I'm talking only 5 tables of people the whole time we were there). We were seated promptly. The food was very good. My gripe would be for how empty the restaurant was the food took a while to come out and the service was just fair. We asked for our check, but had to ask a second time because it was 10 minutes and there was still no check. We were there for a little over an hour and a half and most of it was due to waiting on service. I can't imagine what it would be like if we went on one of their busy days.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Loud!
    Arami
    Dined on 4/11/2014
    Music was so loud I couldn't talk to the person sitting next to me.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Decent Burgers, Horrible Service
    Steph
    Dined on 4/5/2014
    We came here as a large party with a confirmed reservation. It took 15mins to even get a server, then another 10 for her to bring us menus, which turned out to only be drink menus, so it was another 10min to get food menus. We also only got two menus for a party of 10. It took over 45mins to get a drink and even longer for the food. I will not be returning because of the horrible service. Our server was impossible to find at most times, and they didn't even have the ingredients for a drink listed on their drink menu, making the wait for a drink over an hour for that person.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food was excellent, waitress
    Dotty
    Dined on 3/28/2014
    Food was excellent, waitress was friendly knew the menu also I was very impressed that the manager came over to chat and inquire about the food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Slow
    Brudz
    Dined on 3/22/2014
    Promptly seated when we arrived. The place was fairly busy, but there were still open tables around us. We then sat and waited 20 MINUTES until we caught the water person and he tracked down our server. She took our drink order & then waited another 10 minutes. Anyway, that sums up the service the rest of the night. I would describe it as an "I don't care" attitude by the entire place - the only one who seemed concerned with our experience the entire evening was the water person !! Food was basic and very limited menu that was explained as their "March Madness" menu - but most of the regular menu I had seen online was not there!! So many better choices in Chicago, we were able to watch the game, but that was the only positive :(
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Terrible Experience
    HockeyExperienceVIP
    Dined on 2/21/2014
    We went for a team lunch to watch the USA v. Canada hockey game - apparently John Barleycorn was the only bar in Chicago that didn't get the message. We had a reservation for 6 people - got there exactly at noon and ordered immediately. After an hour and 25 minutes we got up and left without receiving our food! They were completely understaffed and overwhelmed by the turnout for the game. They were irresponsible to accept our reservation in the first place.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Not prepared
    Lauri
    Dined on 2/21/2014
    This restaurant was completely not prepared for the crowd that came in for the Olympic Hockey finals. They were definitely understaffed and ran out of food. We waited too long to get our order in, and apparently they ran out of burger meat and had to go to either a store or their other location to pick up reinforcements. Once we got in our order, it was at least another hour before we had our meal. The manager was apologetic and comped a large part of our bill, but an explanation would have been helpful much earlier, rather than let us sit there waiting. We could have been offered to change our order to something that was more readily available.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We went here to watch the
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 1/11/2014
    We went here to watch the football playoff games. Great apps and food selection and a TON of TVs with sound playing, which is KEY during games. There were a lot of people there, yet it did not feel crowded due to the spacious nature of the restaurant. They had an event going on upstairs as well, which didn't affect the atmosphere downstairs for the games. They had game day specials advertised on the website, which is one of the reasons my friends and I chose to go there, but the waitress never mentioned them (any of them), and we had to ask several times about them in order to get the best deal since we were there for several hours (2 NFL football games). Atmosphere and food were great though!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tasty!
    Normalites
    Dined on 12/28/2013
    We both had a great sandwich here....a turkey wrap and a turkey club, and they were both very good! And the bar was very nicely decorated for the holidays, and the staff provided great service! And there were TVs everywhere so you could see any game you wanted to! This is a great place to go!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, late-night find, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Noisy noisy noisy
    ChazboVIP
    Dined on 12/7/2013
    Great for a beer and todays games but that's about it...did I mention it was noisy!!! Food was average and fries were cold; definitely not a place for foodies. Crowded game table style seating ..... A rather uncomfortable and disappointing experience. Way beyond energetic....
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Lively Venue with Rough Service
    Jill
    Dined on 11/23/2013
    Great food. Spinach artichoke dip was terrific! Good variety. Fun venue, reasonably priced. Unfortunately, we had incredibly bad service by our waitress. We weren't asked about drink orders. Appetizers came before our drink orders were even taken. We waited all dinner for ketchup to arrive. When we asked to order drinks, we clearly inconvenienced the waitress. When we'd look for her, we'd see her talking to other tables. Not sure if we were ignored because we were not ordering alcohol? Or because we were a younger group (with a reservation, money to spend, and the full check on one bill.) No one acknowledged our special event - not even a candle or brownie? POOR comm. between expediters and staff. Great busboy service saved the nite.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, kid-friendly, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Too noisy for conversation
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/19/2013
    I was looking for a relaxed atmosphere to take some business clients, however the music and tv sound was too high to communicate without shouting at the person next to you. The wings and nachos were very good however the rest of the food was bland. A good beer selection was available. This would be a good place to watch a game alone and have some snacks and beer.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Sunday Lunch
    BobLVIP
    Dined on 10/27/2013
    Stopped by for a quick lunch before the show. Was very loud in the restaurant. They had the football games blasting. Seemed a little chaotic in the restaurant but they were quick and efficient. Food was very good. We will go back.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice Place for Lunch
    PhillyChicagoVIP
    Dined on 10/8/2013
    Overall the food was really good; but there was a delay in getting a bottle of wine, took way too long. I think for the lunch hour, wait staff needs to be a little more attentive since most are on their lunch hour. But would definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Surprisingly good menu
    RiverNorthfan
    Dined on 7/19/2013
    I really enjoyed the food which surprised me given the bar scene. It was great for sharing and delicious. One of the best non-greasy, pub style food options in River North. Highly recommend for parties and groups. The service was horrible!! It took forever for the waitress to come by for our drink order, she was not familiar with the menu, gave no recommendations when asked and rarely stopped by. She was clearly distracted and I would say it was just her, but every waitress seemed more interested in chatting, wandering around or otherwise not doing their job. This was also not the first time that I've been here and experienced the same service. The food, atmosphere, and drinks keep me coming back... for now.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First time visit. Great looking
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/9/2013
    First time visit. Great looking restaurant inside. I was there for a weekday lunch meeting so not too busy or loud which worked well. Food and service very good. Lots of tv monitors to watch any sporting event. Would definitely recommend.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Noisy, fun environment
    fitfun71
    Dined on 6/24/2013
    JBC was a great first time experience. Servers are younger, but very attentive. Crowd is noisy & energetic- which I love. If you are looking for quiet convo, this is not the place. Good food and increduble drinks. JBC Punch is phenomenal, but dangerous. Very fun time.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fun atmosphere, slow service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/24/2013
    Granted I was there for a hawks play off game, but we felt ignored most of the night. We asked for the check with 5 minutes left in the game. 30 minutes after the game ended, our waitress was now behind the bar. Another fifteen minutes later, she finally shows up with our check. Earlier in the night, I told her we were ready to order. Thirty minutes later, after asking a busser to find our waitress and after my entire group of friends was scanning the crowd for her, we were able to place our order. Good luck getting food/drinks regularly. Also, they charged $0.50 for a side of ranch with my buffalo chicken wrap - thought that was pretty odd and petty.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Everything Great & More
    Luv2experienceitall
    Dined on 6/19/2013
    Loved the outdoor seating. Server was very polite and friendly. Food was delicious. Excellent menu choices. I will certainly return for a nice summer dinner. Thank you!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, scenic view, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food. Bad service
    Rnorth
    Dined on 6/14/2013
    Good food but service was poor. Waitress was focused on large group tables
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • after work drinks
    lauren
    Dined on 5/23/2013
    went for drinks after work.good atmosphere and great drinks.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The mother's day brunch was
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/12/2013
    The mother's day brunch was good, a ggod time was had by all.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for brunch, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Took a friend for a pre-theater
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 4/20/2013
    Took a friend for a pre-theater dinner on a saturday night. Hostess staff was dis-organized and even though the place was not busy she couldn't figure out where to take us. Ended up being taken to the totally empty 2nd floor where she stopped with us standing behind her waiting, to speak with several managers who were talking. I asked her if we were supposed to just choose a table or if she was still attempting to 'seat us' and she replied that no one had told her where to take us so she was trying to figure it out. Waitress said she had to "go downstairs" to get the beers we ordered and that it might take a while. Eventually the food arrived and it was ok. Not sure they are ready for prime time yet [it has only been open a few months
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Do not go here
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 4/7/2013
    One word...BRUTAL. Every aspect was horrible except for the physical space itself. First off, I showed up there with my buddy to wait for my fiancé and her friends coming from the Shamrock Shuffle and I sat at the bar and requested a Bloody Mary, and waited 10 minutes to be served. If it was packed, I would understand but there were 3 total customers sitting at the bar including me! The bartender took my order and just went to the other end of the bar and started to clean glasses!! Just plain lazy. Second, when finally all of the group showed up (group of 6) we got seated and from the start I knew this was going to be interesting. The waitress showed up 10 minutes after we got seated...would finish but not enough characters!
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • This is truly a sports bar/restaura
    Lakeside2LadyVIP
    Dined on 3/30/2013
    This is truly a sports bar/restaurant. We both had sandwiches which were very good. They have great t.v.'s for watching sports. It is very, very loud which is fine for watching games but not good for conversation.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We went for lunch during March
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002VIP
    Dined on 3/22/2013
    We went for lunch during March Madness. Huge place & fancier beers than I would have thought.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great place to meet a group
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 3/21/2013
    Great place to meet a group for drinks to watch a sporting event. The 2nd floor is great.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, good for groups, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We had a great time. Group
    VinceOVIP
    Dined on 3/15/2013
    We had a great time. Group of us to watch MSU game Friday night. The staff couldn't have been nicer. Waitress was great. Thanks.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, good for groups, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • This second location of the
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/6/2013
    This second location of the Lincoln Park favorite was acceptable in every way, but a disappointing follow up to the spot at Lincoln and Belden.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate