Growing up in Chicago, Illinois St. Patrick’s Day was always a big deal. I grew up in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. The neighborhood was mainly Irish immigrants or first generation Irish Americans. Everyone wore green and the adults gathered at the corner pub and sang songs from the “ole sod.”
Today Chicago has a very diverse population, but on ST. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish. There are few corner pubs today, but it isn’t difficult to find a local pub that celebrates this holiday.
Through experience I have discovered that Irish pubs don’t plan special events for St. Patrick’s day. On this day the pubs are packed and there is hardly room to stand much have room for a band to play for the crowd. So I decided to concentrate on the food and brews offered by the pubs.
As I went from pub to pub they all had something in common. They have great food, what seems like an endless list of Irish beer and a down home atmosphere. I left each pub stuffed, slightly tipsy, and sure that I had found a new favorite watering hole as my dad used to call them. Any of these pubs are sure to make your celebration a day to remember.
Fado Irish Pub has been in Chicago since 1997. Their food is delicious. It was fun to learn that a boxty is a potato pancake and rashers are stripes of bacon that are served with many of the traditional Irish dishes. Like all Irish pubs Fado has a long list of Irish Beer. Of course they have Guinness, Stella Attios and Harp Larger. I loved the rich woodwork and old fashioned wood bar that reminded of the pubs in the neighborhood that I grew up in.
Timothy O’Tooles Pub opened their doors in 1992 and has been going strong ever since. Timothy’s has a traditional wood bar but bar has more of an American feel. I found their Nachos interesting. The fries were covered in melted cheese, bacon, scallions and served with sour cream on the side. I did love their Pub Fish and Chip. I liked the friendliness of the staff and the locals that frequent the pub.
Johnny O’Hagan’s Irish Pub is the newest addition to Chicago’s Irish pub and has only been open since 2009, however, they are as authentic as any of the other pubs that have been here for years. This pub has wonderful wood bar that was shipped from Ireland. I had decided to go to this pub for breakfast, because they had some interesting dishes on their menu. Johnny’s offers a traditional Irish breakfast of rashers, eggs, black and white pudding, batchelors beans, grilled tomatoes, fried spuds and toast.
Spuds are potatoes, batchelors beans are baked beans batchelors being a brand name. There was too much food for me to eat, but is was really good. I am glad that I didn’t know at the time that one of the ingredients in the black and white pudding was pig’s blood. Sometimes it is better if we don’t ask about food we are not familiar with. It reminds me of the time I was eating escarole and not aware that they were snails.
Fado Irish Pub
100 West Grand Avenue
Timothy O’Tooles Pub
622 North Fairbanks Court
Johnny O’Hagan’s Irish Pub
3374 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60657-1604
1 (773) 248-3600