A Touch of Blarney: Best Irish Pubs and Restaurants

What's New — By adamgauzza on January 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Chicago has an enormous Irish-American population, so whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day or a regular Tuesday, Irish pubs abound.  Get a bit of Blarney at some of our favorite Irish establishments.


Gourmet Burger at Fado

Celtic Crossings
Co-owned by three Irishmen, this River North bar stays true to its Dublin roots.  They’ve got thirteen Irish beers on tap and food that doesn’t “intrude on people’s conversation” according to co-owner John Phelan.  While Celtic Crossings is a lively spot to listen and dance to Irish bands on Saturday nights, most nights you’ll be able to enjoy conversation over a pint by the warm stone fireplace (made by George Nugent of County Clare).

5th Province Pub
For those interested in getting some history with your dinner, 5th Province Pub is located in the Irish American Heritage Center.  Here you’ll dine on Irish fare like fish and chips, corned beef sandwiches, and sausages, all extremely modestly priced.  In a diverse neighborhood, you’ll find a diverse clientele, many of whom come to enjoy the live music after 9:00pm.

Kitty O’Shea’s
Tucked inside the Chicago Hilton and Towers, Kitty O’Shea’s cozy interiors will warm even the toughest Irishmen’s hearts.  Most of the staff is from the Emerald Isle, and they work to keep the restaurant and bar as true to its County Cork inspiration.  You’ll note the wall of shillelaghs honoring some of Chicago’s finest citizens of Irish descent while you dine on traditional fare like shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, and lamb stew as well as American pub fare like cheese sticks.  Sip on Irish whiskeys and draught beers while challenging your friend to a game of darts.  You can expect a $15 cover on St. Patrick’s Day and the day of the parade.  In warmer months, the outdoor seating at Kitty’s comes highly recommended.

Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant
Fado translates to “long ago” in Gaelic, and Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant invokes that feeling with beautiful stone and woodwork decor brought directly from Ireland.  If you order the signature brew–20 oz. of Guiness–bartenders will carefully build the perfect pour, taking a full two minutes to complete the process.  Fado also has a seasonal drink menu with winter warmers, whiskey favorites, and seasonal bottles.  Favorites from the large menu include all-day Irish breakfast with eggs, Irish sausages, rashers, black and white pudding, and pan-fried potato bread and the Smithwick’s mini burgers topped with Guiness mayo, pickles, onions and melted cheese.

Lady Gregory’s

This lavishly decorated Andersonville restaurant is not your run of the mill Irish pub.  Named after famed Irish dramatist Isabella Augusta who co-founded the Abbey Theatre, Lady Gregory’s offers upscale pub fare like the bison burger with bourbon barbecue sauce, celery-apple slaw, and candied bacon.  The beer list is almost overwhelming with a selection of international, domestic, and local draughts and bottles.  Snack on truffle kettle corn and deviled eggs in the library or wind down the evening with a slice of Guiness chocolate cheesecake.  Lady Gregory’s also offers a great brunch on Saturdays and Sundays–a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s if you’re looking to keep your distance from downtown.