Irish people love to go on vacation. The sun, the sea, the sand and of course the closest Irish pub we can find, it’s just a fact! Irish pubs across the globe offer the same thing, great food, great beer and above all else great craic (fun).
With that in mind we have decided to rundown the 10 best Irish pubs in Chicago according to Yelp.
Since being established in 1996, Emmit’s has become a staple in the vibrant Chicago pub scene. Previously known as O’Sullivan’s Tavern, this Irish pub has had quite a colourful history. The building itself has been around since the Prohition era of the 1930’s. It has been the scene of murders by would be robbers and was also once a place where you could take part in “dwarf tossing” before being outlawed.
Since its renovation in 1996 by the current owners, Kevin Doherty and Ron Halvorsen it has become a regular haunt for many Chicago natives as well as some celebrities. People may also recognize it from many major films including Uncle Buck, Only the Lonely, Blink, Backdraft, Ocean’s Eleven, Oceans Twelve and U.S. Marshalls.
“Good place, friendly waitresses and bartenders that pour a proper pint of Guinness (complete with the clover in the foam).”
“They filmed Backdraft here, which is sentimental to me cause it's the first movie over a PG that my uncle ever let me watch without permission from my mom. Many years, countless curse words, and plenty of nude scenes later, and I finally got a chance to check out the location that's now Emmit's Pub. Like the famous firefighter film, I'm giving it an R rating for Really Good Irish Pub.”
Fado (pronounced f’doe) is an Irish pub that takes inspiration from Ireland’s rich history, as well Dublin’s third oldest pub, The Purty Kitchen. This elegant Irish pub has been evolving since opening its doors for the first time in 1997. With three floors uniquely decorated this pub boasts both a modern and traditional feel, with the décor being both designed and constructed in Ireland.
“Up there as one of the best international Irish pubs I've been to (sorry rubbishy ones in Bangkok).”
“Great beer-check! Great service-check! Authentic Irish pub feel-check! Our waitress was even from the homeland and had an accent and everything. Neat little spot to hang out.”
Located in the North of Chicago, this Irish pub has been welcoming guests from around the world since 1999. It is dedicated to an Irish immigrant named Francis O’Neill who spent over 30 years working in the Chicago Police Department where he eventually became General Superintendent.
Chief O’Neill was an enthusiast of all things Irish especially traditional music. He is honoured with helping to revive his homelands musical flare, after the Great Famine forced millions to leave Ireland, publishing several works in the process. Most notable of these was his 1903 publication entitled, “O’ Neill’s Music of Ireland”. This piece of work contains 1,850 melodies and is the largest collection of Irish music ever printed.
The pub itself has a very authentic Irish feel and in 2013 it was awarded the “Top 10 Irish Pubs in the World”, by “Ireland of the Welcomes Magazine”.
“One of the best Irish Pubs in the entire world? They sure do make it tough to argue with that statement. This neighborhood haunt off of Elston is impressive from start to finish.”
“Had the 20oz burger with fried egg, bacon and blue cheese. Boy was it a challenge to finish this bad boy! It was very delicious and the fries are very good too.”
This pub may be in the heart of Chicago’s Downtown in the River North Neighbourhood but it certainly has its Irish heritage. Now owned by three Kerry natives this pub dates back to the Prohibition era when it was known as McGovern Saloon and was a regular gangster hangout, most notably of Dean O’Bannon of the North Side gang in Chicago.
In the 70’s this bar was a known as one of the “original” punk clubs and considered the “zenith of the original Chicago punk movement”. Now it dons a completely different feel offering all the intricacies from the Irish homeland.
“From top to bottom, inside and out, The Kerryman is a great restaurant and bar.”
“We had an absolute blast here!! My dear friend decided to move to OH so we assembled here to bid her adieu. What a great choice.”
Located in the south of Chicago on Roscoe between Sheffield and Clark, just a couple of blocks from Wrigley Field, Johnny O’Hagans has all the charm you would expect, with the interior décor typical to that of a traditional Irish pub.
Most of the furnishings and ornaments decorated around the pub were designed and built in Ireland, then imported into the US and reassembled in Chicago. It also features an authentic open stone fireplace that is sure to keep you warm during the cold nights.
“I came in here once at 10 AM already half drunk and they treated me and my friend like royalty. In you're in the area, definitely check this place out.”
“The atmosphere is great and everyone was so friendly - exactly what an Irish bar should be.
After downing some Guinness pints, we tried some delicious food.”
Everyone loves bacon right? If that’s true, then this could be your new favorite Irish pub. Not only does Paddy Long’s offer lots of different varieties of bacon, they also help you pair them with different beers. Kind of makes you feel like a bacon connoisseur of sorts.
Opening its doors for the first time in 2007, this makes Paddy Long’s relatively new in the large scheme of things but this hasn’t stopped them from getting acknowledged from major publications like Timeout Chicago, The Huffington Post and Draft Magazine. It was also featured in Aer Lingus’ inflight magazine Cara.
“As other Yelpers have already paved a trail of compliments, I will only echo praise to Paddy's homage to bacon, deliciously dangerous bar cuisine, and super-friendly service.”
“Things I love. Bacon. Beer. Sex. Paddy Long's does a really good job of taking care of 2 of those 3 (hint hint Paddy Long's).”
The Curragh Irish Pub is a premier location in the Northwest of Chicago. It isn’t your typical old school Irish pub, presenting itself as a more upscale modern bar with a large selection of craft beers and a state of the art draught beer system to pour the perfect pint.
The Curragh also offers a rewards programs which allows regulars, “Access to exclusive, members-only cash back offers and promotions to The Curragh as well as many other restaurants”. Quite a unique feature for an Irish pub to offer.
“It was half off bottle of wine night so obviously that's what we did. It paired with the fire just right!”
“Great little local Irish pub. The inside décor is warm, lots of wooden finishes, and a fireplace, which is great during cold winters. Often live music is playing, especially on weekends.”
After extensive renovations of the previous establishment The Grafton opened its doors for the first time in 2002. It is named after the famous street in Dublin City Centre. Famed for their burgers The Grafton offers more than just great Irish food. The abundant craft beer list changes frequently and they also offer over 90 varieties of whiskey from around the world.
“Our server was very nice and VERY energetic. We had a good time, and I highly recommend if you're in Lincoln Square.”
“Great selection on micro brews on tap and they have tons more of bottled beers behind the counter.”
This is certainly one of the oldest Irish pubs in the list being established over 20 years ago in 1991, and no it isn’t named after the Irish newspaper. County Galway owned since the beginning, this traditional Irish pub has evolved over its 25-year history.
New management took hold of the reigns in 2008 but the values stayed the same remaining faithful to their vision of the quintessentially “Irish” pub. Being “green” is a big part of this Irish pubs philosophy having an extensive recycling programme in place as well as promoting local craft beers and using locally grown produce throughout their cuisine.
“Absolutely love this place for dining. It's also a favorite of a couple know that turned us on to it. We've always been happy with the serving sizes, quality of the food, and prices.”
“Feelin' Irish? Go here. Even if you're not feelin' it, go here anyway.”
The theme of this Irish pub is certainly no mystery. Pictures, quotes and other works related to the great Irish playwright Oscar Wilde are positioned around the interior. It has an aesthetic feel of a library more than that of a traditional Irish pub but this only adds to its character.
“Beautifully comfortable library-like decor.”
“Lots of great seats. We chose to stay outside, but the inside is spacious with really cute different seating sections. My favorite is what looks like a mini library with a wall of bookshelf and tables right in front.”
If you think we have left any your favorite Irish pubs out of this list, please add them to the comments below.