Slainte! Chicago’s Authentic Irish Pubs

March 17, 2014


St. Patrick’s Day can mean different things to different people. For me, it’s not about shamrocks and leprechauns or green beer, but rather, about my hometown and its Irish heritage. Chicago’s history is an Irish history – a town built with the help of many immigrant hands hailing from the Emerald Isle.  To honor this Irish history on St. Patrick’s Day, let’s take a look at some of Chicago’s most authentic Irish pubs.

A large wave of immigrants came to our city just after the Great Potato Famine of 1845 and, by 1860, Chicago was the fourth largest Irish city in America.The 19th Century neighborhood bar was an important place for many of these early residents.  Irish pubs were special places. These public houses were more than just a locale to have a drink: they were social centers where you would take the time to sit and have a real conversation with a real person sitting in front of you.

That has always been a part of life in Ireland because nothing is more sacred than having a beer and exchanging news and stories with another human being.  The Irish have excelled in this capacity and pubs are truly a part of the fabric of Irish life.  So when I think about St. Patrick’s Day, my mind turns to Chicago history and tavern history.  We are fortunate to have such a wide variety of Irish bars in our great city of Chicago, but my favorites are those which do their best at capturing the true essence of the traditional Irish pub.

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