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Galway Arms

Over the years, the people of Ireland have found a welcoming home in Chicago, a city governed by powerful mayors like the two Daleys and Jane Byrne, as well as politicians and aldermen like Foxy” Ed Cullerton and John Comiskey.


The impact of the Irish on the city has been profound, and nowhere is the influence of the Emerald Isle so clearly apparent as it is in the Irish restaurants and bars that dot the north and south sides of the city.


Quintessential St. Patrick’s Day food, at least in the United States, is corned beef, and there are many places in Chicago where you can find a world-class corned beef sandwich or any one of the other Irish and Irish-inspired food specialties that are as popular here as they are across the pond. There are also many bars that pride themselves on their selection of Irish beers and whiskies, as well as many that offer live, traditional Irish music (especially around St. Patrick’s Day).


Here are five of Chicago’s best Irish restaurant/bars, guaranteed to bring you a lucky lunch or dinner (maybe even breakfast) on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day.


Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro. Ireland is in the air at Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, which is not only a restaurant/bar but a grocery store where you can pick up Irish specialties to bring home. If you’re coming by for pickup, delivery or dining in, we recommend some deeply Irish delights like the Sausage Roll (a banger in puff pastry), Beef & Guinness Stew, or if you come early in the day, a full Irish breakfast with black and white pudding, bangers, tomatoes, the whole deal; it’s enough to keep you going until dinner.


The Deerpath Inn. Looking like it was pulled out of the countryside in Ireland (or England, or anywhere in the British Isles), the quaint Deerpath Inn houses the White Hart Pub, where you can enjoy all the classic Anglo-Irish dishes, including Bangers and Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, and Seared Diver Scallops with green pea puree. The White Hart Pub also offers a spectacular selection of brews on tap.


The Kerryman.  Perhaps the best known Irish Pub in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, The Kerry man offers some truly exceptional food. You’ve got to sample the Irish Stew (with leg o’ lamb, root veg, onion gravy and grilled Irish soda bread), the creamy Traditional Tomato Soup, and, of course, the Corned Beef Sandwich (with Swiss cheese and Jameson’s Mustard). And consider a side of Curry Chips. There is, no surprise, an incredibly good batch of brews available, including some lesser known varieties of Ireland’s favorite beverage.


Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro


Pleasant House Pub.  Beloved in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, the meat pie is a filling pastry, prepared at Pleasant House Pub in the traditional way with all the classic fillings. There’s Steak and Ale Pie, of course, with beef stew with ale, carrots, shallots, and herbs; Cold Pork Pie is pate in aspic, served cold; Chicken Balti Pie (our favorite) is chicken and tomato in a sauce of house curry spice.


Galway Arms.  Galway Arms serves up Irish sausage rolls and curried chips, but there are also more belly-filling options like Beer-Battered Fish and Chips (featuring flakey white Icelandic cod and hearty fried potato chunks), Traditional Shepherd’s Pie (sirloin in gravy with peas, carrots, and celery), and the perennial crowd-pleaser: Corned Beef and Cabbage. To drink, we’d suggest Manger’s Irish Cider and, maybe for dessert, Wells & Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. Erin go bragh!