Irish gravies contain an array of fine ingredients to enhance savory meat dishes, and the soup is so thick with vegetables, you’ll be full after a bowl of it. So if it’s the Irish experience you’re after, get yourself to a local pub, order from the bar menu, and prepare to enjoy one of the finest meals this side of Killarney.
And, of course, if you’re not in need of a bite, there’s always the alternative—the great pint of Irish stout. You’ll find it’s not only the Irish brew or the delicious stick-to-your-ribs meals, it’s the music, the comraderie, and the good craic (Irish for conversation, fun) that rounds out the entire Irish experience.
Here are a few of my favorite places. Not an easy task, for there are over 100 great pubs in the Chicago area. So, find your favorites, take along some friends, and enjoy an evening of good craic and great music.
Related: Top 10 Bars in Chicago
Great Irish Pubs and Restaurants - Downtown ChicagoCeltic Crossings
751 North Clark Street
It’s tempting to dismiss this bar as not worthy of a visit; it doesn’t serve Irish food, but don’t let that get in the way. Traditional Irish music on the jukebox, best two-pour in town, enough Tato chips to satisfy your salt craving, and a cozy place to meet the Irish. If it’s a bit of the ‘ould sod’ you’re looking to experience, this is as close as you’ll get. There are no TVs and no food to distract you from the lively conversations and colorful characters you’re sure to encounter. A must visit for those seeking the Irish charm and wisdom.
D4 Irish Pub & Café
345 East Ohio Street
Check out this newer Dublin-inspired Irish pub situated in the heart of Streeterville. Don’t miss their weekend brunch from 10:00 to 2:00 P.M. You’ll be served a full Irish breakfast along with a variety of American favorites. Enjoy lunch and dinner selections off their daily menu. After you’ve eaten your fill and satisfied your thirst, check out the rare copy of the Book of Kells on display; D4 proudly promotes the culture and heritage of Ireland.
Great Irish Pubs and Restaurants - North/Northwest SideMrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro
3905 North Lincoln Avenue
Everything about this restaurant is first class from the delectable array of menu items to the professional wait staff. You’ll find delicious contemporary Irish cuisine including boxty potato cakes and other old country favorites. Be sure to check out their Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett Skillet brunch specials offered every Sunday.
3374 North Clark Street
Great family pub offering extensive menu items, including Irish fare. Big screen TVs adorn the walls of this cozy Lakeview neighborhood gathering place. Don’t worry about missing your favorite sporting event, there are enough big screen TVs to satisify everyone’s fanbase. You might just see the owners busy in the kitchen or behind the bar, and there’s always plenty of lively conversation and good craic. Excellent place to settle in after a Cubs game.
Fifth Province Pub
Irish American Heritage Center
4626 North Knox Avenue
Irish Heritage American Center - Fast Facts
Housed in a former grade school, this authentic Irish pub serves food on Fridays from 4 P.M. to 12:30 A.M. and Saturdays from 6 P.M. to 12:30 A.M. Don’t let their limited weekend hours keep you away from this Irish gem on the Northwest side. Voted one of the top Irish bars in the city, you’ll find good pub grub along with a full bar selection of Irish Stout, Irish Whiskey, along with an assortment of other popular libations. You’ll enjoy the cozy atmosphere with their large hearth fireplace, circular bar, and pub tables, plus live music in the evenings. Menu items include the traditional fish & chips, onion rings, corned beef sandwiches (I can personally vouch that this is the tastiest corned beef in town), and Irish sausage. If you truly wish to soak in Irish culture and heritage then come during the week or any week night. Better yet, visit their website for offerings. Free parking available.
Grealy’s Pub & Grill
5001 West Lawrence Avenue
This crowd is all Irish and as welcoming as only the Irish can be. One of my favorite places for a good home-cooked meal, the daily specials include a delicious boiled bacon and cabbage served with parsnips and smashed carrots, baked chicken with all the trimmings, homemade soup and stew, and much more. You’ll think you died and went to Ireland. You’ll not want to miss their full Irish breakfast offered every Sunday. They’ve included white and black pudding, but before you venture that taste experience, find out what’s in it; it’s not for the faint of heart. Oh, and yes, the brew is mighty and the prices amazingly affordable. Great neighborhood pub.
Great Irish Pubs and Restaurants - South/Southwest SideSchaller’s Pump
3714 South Halsted Street
Strictly casual attire for this Bridgeport family-owned bar and gathering place. You’ll not be disappointed in their delicious pub grub, not to mention the variety of alcoholic beverages to help wash it all down. White Sox fans will feel most comfortable; this is their home away from home. Enjoy a pint or two while enjoying an evening of good craic with friends and neighbors.