Barrington wine bar evolves into restaurant
Denny McGonigal and his son Bryan at the Sept. 18 grand opening of their Barrington restaurant, The Annex. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 28, 2012 6:46AM
BARRINGTON — The Annex, a brand new restaurant in downtown Barrington, opened Sept. 21 with a menu that ranges from snacks to pasta, beer, martinis and cocktails.
Bryan McGonigal, owner of The Annex and the adjoining McGonigal’s Pub, explained that his family closed the Park Avenue Wine Bar in August to build the new restaurant.
“It’s more casual,” he said. “When it was the wine bar, it was a higher-end establishment. We wanted it to evolve into something that would fit the community.”
McGonigal described The Annex as a cocktail lounge with food.
While the restaurant kept some of the furniture from the wine bar, the interior has experienced a lot of change since the demolition, including a new staff. Also, McGonigal said, the restaurant has added televisions to the restaurant and plans to bring in live music.
“This is a much more casual atmosphere,” he said. “This will compliment the pub better.”
When The Annex was a wine bar, it was a separate entity from the pub, with a separate liquor license. Although the two establishments always shared a kitchen, many aspects of the business had to be conducted separately.
“We’re able to share resources now,” McGonigal said. “ We’re cross-utilizing more products. It makes it a lot easier to run the business.”
McGonigal said The Annex also will be much more affordable than the wine bar, with small and large portions of many of the menu items. The restaurant and the pub will share a kids menu, McGonigal added.
“It’s basically an extension of the pub,” he said. “They are distinct yet complimentary.”
Joel Brady, a Barrington resident and local carpenter, worked on the reconstruction, turning the wine bar into The Annex within weeks.
“It’s kind of a gem in my crown,” said Brady. “It’s nice to build something in Barrington that your friends are going to go to.”
McGonigal and his wife, Laura, are originally from Nebraska. In 2010, they opened McGonigal’s Pub and the Park Avenue Wine Bar. The recent transition is part of their evolution as business owners.
“We kind of got a gist after two and a half years in business,” McGonigal said. “The pub has a very distinct atmosphere. We wanted to bring that over here. We’re giving the town and the area a unique compliment to the pub.”
Prior to opening the pub in 2010, McGonigal worked with a medical supply company. He said he also previously had a marketing and communications company.
“I was a professional customer for 25 years,” McGonigal said. “Now, I’m on the other side.”