Those of us with Irish blood, as well as those who just enjoy getting in on the festivities, will take to the streets of Chicago to celebrate the rich history and tradition associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Some will wear green clothing and pin shamrocks, while others will take it a step further by attending parties and parades. It is an undeniable aspect of this special day that some people will want to indulge in authentic Irish cuisine as well as spirits. If you fall into the latter group you may be wondering where the best places to accommodate this high-spirited form of celebration are in the Windy City. Mezlan Chicago is here to guide you on your journey as we count down the top-10 Irish pubs in Chicago, based on Yelp reviews. So may the luck of the Irish and the Mezlan style be with you as you prepare to paint the town green on this St. Patrick’s Day!
#10 – Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 N Lincoln, (773) 248-3905. We start our list with a restaurant known for exquisite Irish cuisine, as well as American eats, great drinks, and a beautifully decorated interior. The praises people lend to this best-kept-secret of Chicago seem to be endless. The Bistro offers a kind and attentive wait staff who serve up dishes such as the ribs that took first place in the Irving Park Rib Fest. The salmon is known to be flawless, the desserts decadent, and the whiskey flavored to perfection. The best part of all is that the underground reputation of this restaurant means you can usually show up without a reservation and get a table with little to no wait. If you haven’t been here yet, you are missing out.
#9 – The Grafton, 4530 N Lincoln Ave, (773) 271-9000. The Grafton has a jaw-dropping selection of Irish beers, as well as American and Belgian beers. A relaxed atmosphere, dimly set lighting, and perfectly balanced noise level all make for the perfect atmosphere for you and that special someone out on a casual date. The food, including an impressive array of burgers and sandwiches, will not disappoint. If you're planning on pairing a burger and beer, there aren't too many venues that can compete with The Grafton.
#8 – Clover, 722 W Grand Ave, (312) 344-1934. Clover is a laid-back bar frequented primarily by locals. The staff and drinks are exceptional, and vibrant surroundings make this a prime stop on your St. Patrick's Day journey. Located near La Scarola, Richard's Bar and Emmit's Irish Pub, this bar is known to have smaller crowds that accommodate those who yearn for a more relaxing experience than is offered by many of the other bars, pubs, and night clubs in Chicago. Clover offers patrons free popcorn and a jukebox that are sure to keep the ambiance right where it needs to be.
#7 – Johnny O’Hagan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, 3374 N Clark St, (773) 857-0944. This newly renovated bar is known for its live music and even livelier atmosphere. Patrons report feeling as if they've been transported to Ireland as soon as they walk through the door. In addition to the authentic Irish cuisine and drinks offered here, a few American favorites, such as hot wings, are offered. The staff is very friendly and the experience is definitely worth checking out this St. Patrick's Day.
#6 – The Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N Knox Ave, (773) 282-7035. The Irish American Heritage Center is a great place for history buffs, families, and just about anybody looking to get in on the action this St. Patrick's Day. On top of the great music, dancers, and educational exhibits at the IAHC, the center offers an authentic Irish pub. A library, museum, art gallery, and classrooms all mix with the more-spirited aspects of the center to make for an unparalleled experience. Be aware though that St. Paddy's Day makes for some huge crowds at the IAHC, so get there early if possible.
#5 – Chief O’Neill’s, 3471 N Elston Ave, (773) 583-3066. Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant cuts no corners when it comes to setting the perfect tone of an Irish neighborhood bar. Irish musicians, beautifully themed decorations, and a warm, friendly staff are just a few of the reasons that make this a great spot to bring a few buddies or the entire clan. The bar and its personnel are known for their accommodating nature, especially when dealing with large groups. If you're looking to drink a cold Guinness in a large Irish bar on St. Patrick's day, this spot is for you.
#4 – Paddy Long’s, 1028 W Diversey Pkwy, (773) 290-6988. How can you go wrong on St. Paddy's Day at a bar that shares a name with the holiday? This casual, relaxed bar is the exact reason you should never judge a book by its cover. The rather average-looking exterior conceals what most consider to be the pinnacle of authenticity when it comes to Irish bars. Run by native Irish owners, the bar offers a combination of live music and adult beverages that make for an unforgettable experience. Oh, and did we mention BEER AND BACON? You won't be disappointed.
#3 – Celtic Crossing, 751 N Clark St, (312) 337-1005. Patrons describe Celtic Crossing as a friendly bar with a good vibe. Although it has somewhat of a no-nonsense attitude, the Crossing's owner is known to frequent the bar and carry on conversations with his customers, adding a down-to-earth element to the bar. A cozy place with good beer, Irish whiskey, and darts makes this a definite stop on you St. Patrick's Day itinerary.
#2 – The Kerryman, 661 N Clark St Chicago, (312) 335-8121. Although the #2 Irish bar according to Yelp is actually a Scottish pub called the Duke of Perth, we decided to substitute The Kerryman in its place to keep with the Irish theme. The bar is renowned for its friendly atmosphere that accommodates out-of-towners as if they were regulars at this cozy spot. The décor is pristinely matched to the old style of building that houses the bar and visitors describe it as a home away from home, the exact way an Irish bar should be. If you're looking for a place to dance, chill, relax or enjoy some good company, The Kerryman is the place for you.
#1 – The Gage24 S Michigan Ave, (312) 372-4243. Topping our list is a prestigious Irish-themed restaurant and pub that sits along The Loop. A short stroll across Michigan Avenue from Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago, The Gage's premium location is surpassed only by the exquisite offerings that are crafted in the establishment's kitchen. Some of the sought-after entrees include the buffalo chicken and venison burgers, which, although not the most authentic examples of Irish cuisine, give the spot a splash of individuality. The whiskey sour comes highly recommended from the bar and The Gage's bottomless cup options ensure those looking to indulge in the spirits will not be disappointed. The pub normally requires reservations in advance due to its popularity, and on a day when everybody is looking to revel in Irish tradition... Let's just say you'd better have your 4-leaf clover ready if you're looking for walk-in service!