5510 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, IL
Overall Score: D
Cost: C (for what you get)
A few years ago, I wrote a post about Das Bier Garden, the beer garden located in Hoffman Estates, IL. This beer garden was unique in that it brought together the long standing German tradition of having an outdoor area to drink and socialize, as well as serving genuine German Hofbräu beer. Many of us living in the area enjoyed the garden, whether it was to savor our German roots, drink great beer, or enjoy socializing outdoors. However, Das Bier Garden did not renew their lease for 2019. While Hoffman Estates still owns the land, the beer garden, renamed Hideaway Beer Garden, is now managed by the Sears Centre.
After one visit, is not a place I will return to.
Gone are the days of great brew, glass mugs, and German music. You could once close your eyes and feel like you were in an outdoor beer garden at Munich’s Oktoberfest. Now however, it’s simply a poor substitute for an outdoor bar.
The Hideaway Brew Garden & Bar is only open on Friday and Saturday afternoons until 11 pm. Parking is free, but if there is an event at the neighboring Sears Centre Arena, you may have to pay $20 to park or walk 1/2 mile from Cabela’s down the road. For information on parking, click here.
Hideaway Brew Garden & Bar serves about 18 varieties of draft beer, all in plastic cups. About 10 kinds of beer are available in a can, and their craft cocktails and ciders are also served in cans. Wine is served in a single serve plastic cup, with a manufactured seal. When it was Das Bier Garden, all alcoholic drinks were served properly in glasses, with a $5 deposit per glass that was returned to you when you returned the glassware. At Hideaway Brew Garden & Bar, everything is disposable and not environmentally friendly.
Since wine is my favorite alcoholic drink, I ordered the only red wine they had available, in the disposable container. Although it was wine, I still felt like I was back in elementary school, sitting down with my juice in a small plastic barrel, complete with foil seal. Not only was it bad wine, the container made it that much more disagreeable, with the foil seal and rough edge pressing against my lips. I wouldn’t pay more than $1 for this, and I’m slightly happy I don’t know how much was spent on this since my husband ordered for us.
As we arrived around 5 pm on a Saturday, Hideaway Brew Garden & Bar was already out of a few cocktails and wines to choose from. It’s hard to keep patrons happy when down to limited stock.
While the old German beer garden served mostly huge Bavarian pretzels, hot dogs, and brats, Hideaway Brew Garden has more food options. In addition to pretzels, brats, and hot dogs, Hideaway also serves street tacos, quesadillas, nachos, chips, and ice cream (with cheese quesadillas as the only vegetarian meal option).
However, when we visited Hideaway Brew Garden & Bar, there were a few food trucks parked nearby. Because of this, the beer garden was not serving food. “Eat at the food trucks,” they told us. However, a few minutes later a food truck pulled out and the others closed up right after.
Hideaway Beer Garden added onto the existing seating area of Das Bier Garden, by adding more tables as well as a few wooden booths, with roofs. There is also a stage now that faces the seating area. In addition, in the cooler months, you can sit next to a fire pit.
I certainly missed the German music, the sounds of the accordion, the clean environment, and friendly service. I don’t recall any music being played outside while I was visited. Tables were left full off garbage and old cups, as no one was clearing and cleaning tables.
Hoffman Estates appears to be attempting to draw more people to this area. In addition to Hideaway Brew Garden and the Sears Centre, there always seems to be something going on in the area on summer weekends-(festivals, carnivals, concerts). Because some kind of event had been going on that day, a dunk tank full of water sat just outside the seating area. A young employee decided to empty it directly onto the adjacent sidewalk, right next to the seating area of the brew garden, apparently clueless of the rest of us sitting there. Employees were all over the area, but none of them were walking around the garden, cleaning tables, picking up litter, or emptying garbages.
What really disappointed me at Hideaway Brew Garden were the restrooms. At the back of the main building, there are two restrooms with multiple stalls; these restrooms were open when the business was Das Bier Garden. However, they were closed and gated off when I visited. Our consolation prize was to use the port-a-potties nearby. However, both of these port-a-potties were completely FULL (with both waste and litter), out of toilet paper, and out of hand sanitizer. They were absolutely disgusting. No sinks were provided either. Is this where the employees of Hideaway Brew Garden “wash” their hands?
Hideaway is only open Friday and Saturday afternoons until 11 pm. Being open only on those two days simply means, in my opinion, that Hideaway Brew Garden is basically a ‘warm up’ for the Sears Centre. People come to the Brew Garden before an event, have a lot to drink, then walk over to the Sears Centre for their ticketed show or concert. Of course, this is just a hunch that I have, being that 95% of the patrons of Hideaway Brew Garden left just before a wrestling event at the Sears Centre on the day I visited. And yes, they were very drunk.
Considering that the management of the Sears Centre now also manages the beer garden, I would say my hunch is correct (something I learned while writing this post).
Of course, this could have been just my luck to visit on an incredibly busy and understaffed day. It’s hard to make a definitive judgement based on one visit. But isn’t that what restaurant critics and health inspectors do?
Needless to say, I was greatly disappointed in my visit. The service, the terrible pre-packaged wine, mediocre beer, the bathrooms, the environment, and the lack of food was definitely irritating.
I think the only positive change to come about is that Hideaway Brew Garden accepts credit cards. The old Das Bier Garden only accepted cash, something people carry less and less of these days.
When it was still Das Bier Garden (aka the Hoffman Estates Beer Garden), it was a personal business. The owner was almost always there when we visited and often sat and chatted with the patrons. You could tell there was a personal pride to the business. As Hideaway Brew Garden, that pride is lacking. It’s simply another money maker for the town and the Sears Centre, with no personal investment and desire to please customers. Das Bier Garden was a unique, authentic beer garden. Hideaway is just another outdoor bar that serves some food. No exceptional service, atmosphere, food or drink.
Not even good. Mediocre at best.
Have you been to Hideaway Brew Garden? What’d you think? Let me know in the comments.