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Derby Moving Into Former Charlie's Ale House Space

When Charlie's Ale House on Webster shuttered a while back, it left a big hole in the neighborhood. But that space is about to get a boost from the Big Onion Tavern Group when it opens Derby later this summer. The restaurant group, which also owns 404 Wine Bar, Jack's Bar & Grill and The Irish Oak, is targeting an early August opening.

Derby, dubbed an American British Grill, will pull both culinary and aesthetic influences from English culture with a bit of American flair, most notable in the sports bar vibe. Ryan Marks, Big Onion's director of operations, said the space will have a lot of dark wood and leather, flat-screen TVs and a great sound system.

"We're trying to tie in the lifestyle of horse racing and that English type of lifestyle," Marks said. And that will be obvious in the menu, which will feature things like bubble and squeak, deviled eggs and chicken pot pie. But guests will also recognize some of Big Onion's signature dishes like apple pot pie a la mode and the Big Onion burger with cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions and onion rings.

The approximately 4,000 square-foot space is currently undergoing a complete gut rehab. Part of the outside beer garden will get enclosed to accommodate year-round seating. That space will get a separate bar and u-shaped booths. The rest of the patio area will remain open for an outdoor beer garden. Inside, the main room will see a new bar, raised booths along the side walls and windows that will open up onto the street. The new entrance will move to the center of the building and bathrooms will move downstairs. The entire space will have about 130 seats, including the patio.

Marks said they've also hit markets to source vintage horseracing and horse imagery as well as some vintage beer solicitations. One idea they're toying with is to lay cobblestone as the main floor to conjure the feeling of an old English street, but that's not, well, set in stone.


1224 W. Webster, Chicago, IL