The Penny Road Pub, a live rock ‘n’ roll venue nestled among the trees of the Barrington area for nearly 50 years, will close at the end of January.
But general manager Kelly Cunningham said on Monday the shutdown may not be permanent. The relatively new owner of the building is hoping to gain time to work with Cook County on rezoning the property for any improvements he wants to make, she said.
If things go as planned, the Penny Road Pub could come back but even better, she said.
“There is hope,” Cunningham added. “He has great plans for this.”
The combination of a new owner with the loss of some of the acquired rights to the property, COVID-19 and the cost of planned improvements have created financial problems that make it easier to shut down and manage one thing at a time, said Cunningham.
The pub’s 4 a.m. liquor license is unlikely to return, as Cook County no longer distributes them, she added.
“It was our bread and butter, so to speak, for many years,” Cunningham said.
News of the impending closure was announced on social media on Sunday.
“All of the sponsors, groups, events, employees and people who have supported us all these years will be missed,” the management said on its Facebook page.
A “Farewell to Penny Road” concert is scheduled from 5:00 pm to 10:55 pm on Saturday, January 22, featuring the groups Bad Motor Scooter, Blizzard of Rhoads and Vicious Circle.
Former owner Dave Sanfilippo announced in 2015 that he was putting the Penny Road Pub up for sale. But this hoped-for change of ownership did not take place until the beginning of this year.
In an interview in 2003, Sanfilippo told the Daily Herald that the 1853 building his father bought and started operating at 545 Penny Road in 1972 had served as a pub for over a century.
“I think it’s been a gin factory since the late 1800s,” he said.
When his father first bought it, the Penny Road Pub consisted of one room – about a third of its current size – a small kitchen and a basement.
In the mid-90s, the family expanded the main bar and kitchen, added a rooftop beer garden, vaulted ceiling and skylights, and enlarged the basement.
“I thought it was time to grow up,” said Sanfilippo.