Irish Americans feel right at home in Chicago. Not only is there a bustling population of residents with an Irish background, but there are also lots of Irish bars to relax with friends. And as the best Irish bars are authentic, our recommendations all focus on this factor. Here are the best Irish bars in Chicago to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year. Cheers!
Cork & Kerry is almost as Irish as it gets, with a name that combines two of Ireland’s southern counties. It sits close to Chicago’s Irish South Side neighborhood, as well as the White Sox U.S. Cellular Field and is a great place to tailgate before a game. Did you know? It also used to be a speakeasy.
Emmit’s is an Irish bar that’s full of colorful history. It’s been a hangout for the mob, judges and firefighters, and now a more homogenous group of people who just want to get a drink. In recent history, it’s served as a backdrop for movies like Uncle Buck and Backdraft. The bar itself is very open and inviting, with multiple TVs to watch sports and enjoy traditional Irish favorites like Irish stew.
You’ll find Fado on a lot of different themed lists because it’s a great bar, and not just for someone looking to get drunk on St. Patrick’s Day at an Irish bar. Most of the servers have an authentic accent because they’re either here on an exchange from Ireland or are Irish expats living in Chicago. There’s plenty to do between various liquor-drinking themed events, live music, and trivia nights. There are so many great Irish beers on tap and available by the bottle. And you’ll get a great deal if you go during happy hour—make sure to give their greasy filling appetizers a try to ease your eventual hangover!
It can sometimes be hard to find your own comfortable space in a typically-crowded Irish bar in Chicago, but not at Galway Arms. It’s enough off the beaten path to make it possible to avoid congestion. Like Fado, you’ll enjoy the fact that it’s often staffed by people directly from Ireland. The food is also pretty good, and the kitchen is open late! The dark but inviting atmosphere gives an extra edge of authenticity.
Harrigan’s Pub serves cheap beer and simple bar food, but also gives patrons a chance to show off how drunk they are with 3 days of karaoke every week (Thursday – Saturday). Make it your last (or second to last) stop of the night for best results, as you probably won’t have much left in you after stopping here.
The Kerryman is another River North Irish bar staple. It’s a great place to go with a group, as there’s a ton of space on multiple levels. The owners hail from abroad and hired an Irish architectural firm to make sure the space felt just right with much attention to detail. You’ll love their satisfying Irish bar food that’s really a step up from most bar food choices.
O’Shaughnessy’s Public House is the definition of an awesome neighborhood bar that just so happens to be rooted in Irish culture. Their beer list is quite extensive, with plenty of Irish options, as well as a large selection of whiskey. Their kitchen stays open until 1am for a late night menu from Thursday through Saturday (perfect for St. Patrick’s Day drinking).
These bars will make you feel Irish, even if you aren’t. And remember, you don’t have to wait for March to drink a good Guinness—it’s available year long with the perfect pour at these establishments! Where will you be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago this year? Let us know in the comments below.