Irish pubs to hit up for St. Patrick’s Day
(or any other time you’re feeling Irish)
As the “Home of Glasgow Celtic Supporters Club,” this Irish pub boasts a dozen beers on tap and traditional fare like shepherd’s pie and corned beef. Performances from the Polkaholics and the Tossers keep things lively in the party room behind the spacious main bar. 5062 N Lincoln Ave (773-506-7090).
When two Irish-American musicians open a pub, you’d better believe they’ll pay attention to the tunes. Even aside from live Irish music on Sundays, you can usually count on sipping your stout to bagpipe-driven sounds. In nice weather, the massive back patio doubles the capacity, with towering hedges muffling the sounds of Elston Avenue. 3471 N Elston Ave, 773-583-3066.
Cork and Kerry Hang with the Beverly crowd at this Far South Side institution, where Irish brogues are the norm and the staff is among the friendliest in town. The fenced-in, wooden deck has a homey, antique decor (i.e., wagon wheels and hanging plants), along with two bars perfect for rooting on the Sox. 10614 S Western Ave (773-445-2675).
With the waitresses brandishing brogues along with the shepherd’s pie and Guinness pints, you know this Lakeview Irish pub is the real deal. Besides potpies and fish-and-chips, the bar offers char-grilled skirt-steak sandwiches, turkey-and-corned-beef Reubens, and Bass Ale–battered onion rings the size of your head. 3741 N Southport Ave (773-975-0600).
Harrigan’s Pub There’s an electronic countdown to St. Patrick’s Day and a bar made out of Irish pennies. Do we really need to spell out for you what this place is all about? On Sunday nights it’s as sleepy as an Irish hamlet, but on Fridays and Saturdays it’s as raucous as Dublin. 2816 N Halsted St (773-248-5933).
The Irish Oak Every Irish bar in the city claims maximum authenticity, but this one has the goods to prove it: The vibe is a nice mix of traditional and contemporary Irish pub culture, the bar was designed and built in Ireland, and most of the waitstaff are real live Irish folks (or just really good at faking accents). 3511 N Clark St (773-935-6669).
Keegan’s Pub Like the handcrafted wooden bar at this friendly South Side pub? Owner Bernard Callaghan built it himself. He’s also most likely the guy you’ll see pouring whiskey, Guinness or Magners for the Sox fans who belly up to said bar for a drink and idle chat. Weekends get packed with generations of freckle-faced locals, but a genuine smile should get you let into the family in no time. 10618 S Western Ave (773-233-6829).
O’Callaghan’s This is just your normal Irish pub with a few topless women carved into the wooden bar. But to anybody who’s looking for a clean, casual place to drink until 4am in River North, it’s an oasis of Jameson, Guinness and a late-night menu of jalapeño poppers and nachos. 29 W Hubbard St (312-527-1180).
Good thing bar owner Michael Finan’s pa came from the Emerald Isle, because he knew just which carpentry folks to call on for a custom-built wood bar that evokes an authentic Irish pub feel. The space sports a deep red exterior, exposed brick, warm lighting and a friendly staff, so take a comfy booth and some curry chips with your Guinness. 4557 N Ravenswood Ave (773-944-9896).
Representing the first-in, last-to-leave motto of Bridgeport’s diehard Irish-American population, the Shinnick clan has been slinging beer in this building since the day Prohibition ended. St. Pat’s Day and Sox games bring the crowds, but other times you’re likely to find a low-key gathering of locals or a fund-raiser for a sick kid with hefty medical bills. We’ll drink to that. 3758 S Union Ave (773-376-3525).