for Gold Standard Guinness
Cork & Kerry
There's a saying in Ireland that "a proper pint of Guinness isn't poured, it's born," and the beer maker wants American pubs to take its stout just as seriously. Officially called the Gold Standard Award, the accolade recognizes places that pour to Guinness's intense specifications. In layman's terms, that means pulling pints in two stages, so a thick head floats above cascading layers of beer, and taking great care of the pouring system. It might sound simple, but only about 30 of Chicago's 480 Guinness-pouring pubs got the award, including this casual-but-classy South Side favorite. 10614 S Western Ave between 106th and 107th Sts (773-445-2675).
Co-owners Billy Lawless and Malcolm Molloy hail from Ireland, and their pub is supposed to remind them of home. "That's why we didn't name the place Mickey O'Mickey's," Lawless says. "You don't need an Irish name or lots of shillelaghs and leprechauns to be an Irish bar." Best of all, it also means lots of Gold Standard Guinness. At this sophisticated spot, Guinness outsells every other beer, three kegs to one. And don't let the $5.25 pint scare you. It's a fair price since it's a 20-ounce stout served in what the Irish call an "imperial pint." 4530 N Lincoln Ave between Wilson and Sunnyside Aves (773-271-9000).
The best bartenders are supposed to move quickly, but not when it comes to pouring Guinness. "We make sure our guys know that people who order Guinness want it poured right," says Tim Flynn, manager of this vintage bar. "That means they're in no hurry to get it." It also means most pints are finished off with some sleight of hand: a shamrock design in the head of the beer. For the record, the "beer art" has nothing to do with the bar's Gold Standard Award, and some Guinness purists hate it. But we take it as a sign of a beer poured with a little something extra. 495 N Milwaukee Ave at Grand Ave (312-563-9631).—Noah Isackson