Chicago’s Irish community has a storied history which really shows its pride during St. Patrick’s Day. On Saturday, March 11, Chicago will dye the river green, and bars all over town will get into the Irish spirit by putting out the corned beef and cabbage, pouring all the Guinness and the Jameson, and importing bagpipers and step dancers. But there are plenty of bars that celebrate Ireland all year round, where true connoisseurs of Guinness can grab a pint and watch football (that is, soccer) and rugby or listen to fiddle music in relative peace. Here are 15 of the best.Read More
Chicago’s Essential Irish Pubs
Where to find the best Guinness, shepherd’s pie, live music, and more
Named for the Irish playwright and co-founders of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, this comfy Andersonville pub makes patrons feel right at home with its spacious interior complete with a library and fireplace. The food menu offers comforting favorites such as chicken pot pie, meatloaf, and lobster mac and cheese as well as a selection of gluten-free items, while the drink list has everything fans of Irish booze need with 100 beers and more than 300 whiskeys. There’s also an Old Town location, known as LG’s Bar.
The Atlantic Bar & Grill
Soccer fanatics can catch all of the big matches every week at the Atlantic. It’s also the home for Tottenham Hotspur F.C. supporters, but on Friday nights, everyone is welcome for live music. There’s also excellent fish and chips and a full Irish breakfast.
Also featured in:
The Fifth Province
Head to the Irish American Heritage Center for some cultural history to go along with that pint of Guinness. Check out an art exhibit or pick up an Irish wool sweater in the gift shop before stopping into the Fifth Province, a traditional pub for folks to gather and enjoy live music and classic fare like corned beef and bangers & mash.
O'Shaughnessy's Public House
O’Shaughnessy’s is a relative upstart compared to the numerous pubs that have been around for decades, but it’s an Irish oasis for those living in Ravenswood, and the wood-accented bar gives the place an authentic feel. Visit on the weekend to soak up a hangover with a full Irish breakfast of bangers, rashers, black and white pudding, eggs, potatoes, baked beans, and toast.
Mrs Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro
Located in the heart of North Center since 2005 inside a formal funeral home, Mrs. Murphy & Sons serves Irish pub favorites including fish & chips, beef and Guinness stew, and bangers & mash alongside a selection of craft brews and more than 70 Irish whiskeys. The large space includes a grocery store and opens early on the weekends to welcome soccer and rugby fans with full Irish breakfasts. Make a reservation through Tock.
Chief O'Neill's Pub & Restaurant
Owned and run by two musicians, one Irish-born, the sounds of live tunes are just as vital as the food and drinks at Chief O’Neill’s. Guests can catch live acts several nights a week and also enjoy an all-you-can-eat Friday fish fry and Sunday brunch buffet. In the summer, the large back patio is a lively spot to kick back and relax over a cold beer and some Emerald Isle favorites such as braised lamb shank and Guinness-infused meatloaf.
The Wolfhound Bar and Kitchen
The latest entry in Chicago’s Irish pub scene opened in Avondale in 2021. Grab a pint of Guinness and try some of the food made using recipes from the owner’s Irish-born parents including brown breads and scones baked in house and a full Irish breakfast served all day. On Tuesdays, warm up by the fireplace and listen to Irish music starting at 7:30 p.m.
Also featured in:
River Shannon has been welcoming drinkers and their dogs to Lincoln Park since 1946. Get a free treat for the pooch and sip a Guinness or a local craft brew. With its green walls decked out with historic photos and stained glass, the space provides a hangout for watching either form of football or playing a board game and sharing a pizza. The bar has the same owners as Pippin’s Tavern and She-nannigans.
Open for more than two decades, this charming River North pub continues to thrive as the area continues to morph. The menu is a solid variety of American pub food from wings to burgers. A few Irish-inspired dishes, including Guinness brats, Guinness stew, and shepherd’s pie round out the menu. The tap list has plenty of local craft selections with the proper ingredients for a decent black and tan.
What was once the punk club O’Banion’s is now one of the city’s most popular Irish bars in River North. The owners are actual Kerrymen, though chef Damo Moloney hails from Limerick. Find fish and chips, steak and Guinness pie, and, in a concession to less traditional tastes, avocado toast at brunch. Make a reservation through Tock.
Also featured in:
Fado Irish Pub
Pronounced “f’doe,” this Irish pub has drawn soccer and rugby fans to River North for the past 25 years. The two-floor space has plenty of room for private parties and includes a bar reclaimed from a Dublin pub that’s more than 100 years old. The menu offers a large selection of Irish whiskeys to sip with corned beef and cabbage boxty or shepherd’s pie. Come Saturday for live music with no cover.
For a fancier Irish pub experience, visit this Michigan Avenue spot from Billy Lawless, an authentic Irishman. The menu offers the standard burgers and fish and chips, but also steak, prawn cocktail, and wild mushroom pappardelle, all of which can be accompanied by selections from the expansive wine cellar. Make a reservation through OpenTable.
A Bridgeport staple since 1938, Shinnick’s Pub is a neighborhood dive that’s withstood the test of time. Irish through and through, the bar has been run by three generations of the Shinnick family and is a popular spot for White Sox fans due to its close proximity to the ballpark. You won’t find any green beer here, but the heart and spirit of the South Side Irish live here.
Also featured in:
Porter Cullens Irish Pub & Restaurant
Founded in 2014 to serve the the South Side Irish community, Porter Cullens’s pride and joy is its steamed corned beef (it’s been known to serve 12,000 pounds in a year) and its perfectly poured pints of Guinness, praised by actual members of the Guinness family.
Cork & Kerry
This South Side institutions with locations in Bridgeport and Beverly is the place to be for White Sox games, especially the Beverly beer garden. Only the Bridgeport location serves food; the menu offers the usual lineup of pub fare with a few twists like Irish egg rolls (stuffed with corned beef, cabbage, and cheddar) and a South Side Irish burger (bacon, cheese, coleslaw, and egg).
Also featured in:
Barney Callaghan's Pub
This Beverly staple is known for its Guinness pours (sometimes with portraits of customers’ faces in the foam), though it also serves local brews and cocktails. Warm up near the fireplace and listen to live music or watch either form of football on the many TVs mounted on the long bar and brick walls.