Restaurant Profile: This British-style pub will leave you believing you’re at the fanciest of gentlemen’s clubs, even though it’s set at a public golf course. Step inside the upscale clubhouse at Bowes Creek Golf Club.
With its oak floors, beamed tin ceilings and sweeping views of verdant hills, Porter’s Pub allows visitors to imagine they’re in the English countryside, perhaps outside London, at an old establishment for very fine gentlemen dressed in cravats. Instead, they’re at Bowes Creek Country Club in northwest Elgin, built just three years ago, where thoughts turn both to tea time and tee time, and the mood is anything but stuffy.
“It’s a friendly, casual atmosphere, and we want people to relax and have a good time here,” says Heather Weaver, manager of the dining room and pub, in the clubhouse at Bowes Creek Country Club, 1250 Bowes Creek Blvd. “When they first discover it, people just fall in love with the place.”
Little wonder. In the bar, which seats 65, visitors find brass-tacked, black leather club chairs, an intricately tiled floor, and a well-stocked, substantial bar made of rich wood. In the dining room, built to seat 125, the leather is cherry red, and potted palms accent sepia-colored walls trimmed with maps, historic documents and pastoral paintings. A private room for 30 stands ready to host private parties and business meetings.
Guests may start their visit by selecting one of several “Portinis,” such as Big Ben, made with SKYY dragon fruit vodka, or “Burrough’s Millionaire,” made with gin – Beefeater gin, of course.
Or, they may choose something from the extensive beer menu, heavy with German and English imports, like Morland’s Old Speckled Hen, brewed in Abingdon, England. (Hint: Tuesday night is an excellent time to test-drive luxury beers, since all beer is half price.)
Appetizers range from the expected to the unusual, like Mac N’ Cheese Golf Balls, rolled in parmesan breadcrumbs, fried and served with marinara sauce; or Cockney Cheese Curds, served with smoked tomato butter and grilled scallions.
As for entrées, there are distinct Italian notes among English and American favorites like fish n’ chips and chicken pot pie. That’s because Porter’s Pub is managed by Charlie and Joe Carlucci, of Carlucci’s Hospitality, who’ve imported a few customer favorites, like Chicken Marsala and Radiatore Rigatore, from the menu of Carlucci’s Restaurant & Bar in Downers Grove.
Immediately outside the long wall of large windows in the Porter’s Pub dining room is a stone terrace, with seating for al fresco dining and Adirondack chairs for relaxing. Beyond the terrace is a panorama of rolling hills, trees and creeks that provides a stunning backdrop for golfers. Bowes Creek Golf Course, designed by award-winning architect Rick Jacobson, is the focal point of this 616-acre residential country club community built by Toll Brothers. With five sets of tees offering distances ranging from 5,100 to 6,900 yards, the course accommodates every skill level. But you don’t have to play golf to enjoy Porter’s Pub.
“We welcome all kinds of diners, from golfers and families to business people,” Weaver says. “Being a part of this neighborhood is really nice, and people from other parts of Elgin and beyond are discovering what we offer – a friendly staff, beautiful atmosphere and great menu.”
Porter’s Pub also offers nightly specials. On Mondays, enjoy half-price pasta; on Tuesdays, the half-priced beers. Wednesdays mean $5 burgers with the purchase of a beverage; on Thursdays, sip a Portini for just $5. On Fridays, enjoy live music starting at 8 p.m., with no cover charge. Saturdays, pay a penny each for up to three glasses of wine, with the purchase of a dinner entrée. Sundays, kids 10 and under eat for free.
Porter’s Pub is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and until 2 a.m., Friday and Saturday. ❚