Chicago’s rich Irish heritage goes beyond its big St. Patrick’s Day parade and the yearly tradition of dyeing its river green. For a true taste of the culture this holiday, visit the city’s authentic Emerald Isle eateries, which include everything from proper pubs to white-tablecloth restaurants:
At the top of the list is this handsome 300-seat restaurant in a stunning location across from Millennium Park. Situated in a historic building with a façade designed by Louis Sullivan, The Gage offers upscale takes on classics such as Guinness-battered fish and chips, roasted chicken and Scotch eggs. Over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, expect specials such as wood-fired Irish salmon, braised-lamb shepherd’s pie, corned beef and cabbage.
Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro
This intimate Irish bistro offers a menu of hearty comfort food such as beef and Guinness stew with roasted root vegetables, shepherd’s pie stuffed with tender lamb chunks and a fisherman’s stew made of shrimp, haddock, clams and mussels in a tomato-saffron broth. Through March 17, the North Center restaurant celebrates “17 Days of St. Patrick” with a festive special every day.
Named for a popular Dublin postal code, this modern Irish pub serves both brunch and classic tavern fare. On parade day (March 16), specials include Irish banger sandwiches and corned beef sandwiches. And throughout the week leading up to March 17, more substantial entrées are on special, such as Dublin lawyer (poached lobster in a spicy tomato-cream sauce), stuffed cabbage rolls, corned beef and cabbage and, for dessert, a housemade Jameson doughnut served warm with ice cream and Guinness-chocolate sauce.
The Fifth Province
Attached to the city’s Irish American Heritage Center, this authentic Irish pub offers nothing but the classics: fish and chips, country stew, shepherd’s pie and one of the best corned beef sandwiches in town. The setting, too, is welcoming and warm, the center of which is a handmade stone hearth fireplace where traditional music is performed every Friday and Saturday night. What’s more, bar staff is from Ireland and trained in the science of pouring the perfect pint of Guinness.
Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant
Guinness-infused meatloaf, Irish lamb stew, and bangers and mash are all on the menu year-round at this classic Irish haunt, which this month was named one of the top 10 Irish pubs in the world by readers of Ireland of the Welcomes magazine (the largest subscription-based Irish magazine in the world). Traditional live music is common in the evenings here, and the daytime hours will be extended for the holiday weekend.
Photos courtesy of Chief O’ Neill’s, D4, Fifth Province and The Gage