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14 Best Bars In Chicago To Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Bars and Chicago skyline
Bars and Chicago skyline - Static Media / Instagram / Shutterstock

No one does St. Patrick's Day like Chicago. The city that's been dyeing its river green since 1962 offers endless ways to honor the holiday. For the uninitiated, Chicago celebrates St. Patrick's Day on the Saturday before March 17. The Loop is the epicenter of festivities hosting the parade and Chicago River dyeing, and the party stretches to nearly every bar in the city.

Is your St. Paddy's Day style seeking out Irish car bombs or traditional music? You can find it all in Chicago's pubs stretching from Mount Greenwood to Norwood Park. This list, based on my partial Irish heritage and more than a decade of drinking around the city is your guide to the best places to say sláinte. Whether you want to slam green beers steps from the newly emerald river or sip a Guinness far from the fray, here are the best bars to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Chicago.

Read more: The 27 Best Bourbon Brands, Ranked

Chief O'Neill's Irish Pub

Bar with green decor
Bar with green decor - @chiefoneillspub / Instagram

Arguably the best Irish bar in Chicago, Chief O'Neill's in Avondale offers a cozy atmosphere, authentic Irish dishes, and live music. It's named for an Irish immigrant who served as the General Superintendent of Police in Chicago. In his free time, Chief O'Neill documented traditional Irish music, and he would surely approve of the melodies from his homeland that ring through the space today thanks to owners and musicians Brendan and Siobhan McKinney.

Chief O'Neill's offers several spaces to celebrate all things Irish. On St. Patrick's Day, walk-ins are welcome in the pub, dining room, and heated tent in the 300-person garden. It's one of Chicago's best restaurants with outdoor dining, and you'll need a reservation to enjoy the Irish Favorites Buffet, an hour-and-a-half seated meal in "Mrs. O'Neill's Parlor" that includes classic dishes like shepherd's pie, and bangers and mash. The music kicks off a 9 a.m. with a lineup of Irish players, traditional dance schools, and pipe bands.

chiefoneillspub.com

(773) 583-3066

3471 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Cork & Kerry

Cork N Kerry bar exterior
Cork N Kerry bar exterior - @corkandkerry / Instagram

Cork & Kerry is a South Side staple with locations in two historically Irish neighborhoods. While the Bridgeport bar located next to Guaranteed Rate Field is an ideal place to pregame before rooting on the White Sox, you can't beat the Beverly bar's Western Avenue address on the South Side Irish Parade route.

Cork & Kerry has more than two decades of experience quenching Beverly's thirst with a side of Irish pride. The neighborhood's South Side Irish Parade steps off on the day after Chicago's Saturday downtown parade. In 2024, this happens to be on March 17, so you can bet the draughts will be flowing. Cork & Kerry offers 20 beers on tap to choose from, and 40 beers in bottles or cans. You might as well order two drinks at a time because the 300-person beer garden is going to be a sea of green. Chicago accents, and maybe a few Irish brogues, come free of charge.

corkandkerrybeverly.com

(773) 445-2675

10614 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60643

The Kerryman

The Kerryman bar exterior
The Kerryman bar exterior - @kerrymanchicago / Instagram

This elegant Irish gastropub may look tame with its plant-lined sidewalk patio and sleek interior. However, the multi-level River North bar has a rowdy history as a hangout for gangsters, strippers, and punk rockers, and it's just as lively today.

The Kerryman's Irish history dates back to the building's days as McGovern's Saloon, the home base for North Side Irish gang bosses Dion O'Banion and Bugs Moran. It spent the next few decades serving as a strip club, gay bar, and punk rock club where the Dead Kennedys and Hüsker Dü shredded. Today, the building is back in Irish hands with three co-owners who hail from County Kerry. With multiple levels and more than 20 Irish whiskey brands to sip, the Kerryman is a beacon for Éire enthusiasts on St. Patrick's Day. Order a round of Jameson, but keep the Midleton Very Rare and award-winning Redbreast for yourself. Just be sure to start the day with the Kerryman's Irish breakfast before you begin imbibing.

thekerrymanchicago.com

(312) 335-8121

661 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

The Fifth Province

Fireplace in a bar
Fireplace in a bar - @ band.ironwood / Instagram

What would the Irish American Heritage Center be without a secret bar inside? If it feels like you're pulling up to have a pint in class, that's because the building is a former school. Yet tucked into the south wing you'll find the Fifth Province. Take a look at the bar that your ale is resting on — it's made from the school's upcycled chalkboards. A stone hearth serves as the backdrop for musicians every weekend.

The Irish American Heritage Center will host a ticketed St. Patrick's Day Fest following the parade downtown. The family-friendly event includes live Irish music and dance, food and drink, and a craft fair. If the Wiggleworms aren't your thing, you can still retreat into the Fifth Province's cozy confines. In addition to Guinness, it pours a long list of Irish whiskies and Fifth Province Ale, a mild Irish red ale brewed in collaboration with Lake Effect Brewing Company.

irish-american.org/fifth-province

(773) 282-7035

4626 N Knox Ave, Chicago, IL 60630

Emerald Loop Bar & Grill

wooden bar interior
wooden bar interior - @emeraldloopbarandgrill / Instagram

The main draw of this Loop watering hole is its location just steps from the Riverwalk. After you watch the Chicago Plumbers Union transform the Chicago River from its usual murky jade hue to an electric green, you'll only need to stumble one block to the Emerald Loop Bar & Grill.

The Emerald Loop opens early at 8 a.m. on March 16 and 17 so that you can get into the holiday spirit with a lineup of Irish music, step dancers, and bagpipers. The green beer will be flowing, but once you've taken that selfie, check out its Irish whiskey cocktails. The Jameson Green River cocktail stays on theme with ginger ale, lime juice, and ginger beer. Are you feeling sluggish after an early wake-up? Keep the party going with a Jameson Irish Coffee. Just don't forget to balance it out with a Winston Irish sausage roll or corned beef sliders.

emeraldloop.com

(312) 263-0200

216 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60601

D4 Irish Pub & Cafe

D4 Irish Pub & Cafe interior
D4 Irish Pub & Cafe interior - @d4irishpub / Instagram

D4 is named for a posh zip code in Dublin, making it a perfect fit for its posh Streeterville neighborhood. A contender for Chicago's prettiest Irish pub, D4's design is modeled after a Dublin townhome. Its glowing wood bar, tiled floors, and red leather chairs are appealing without being fussy. If you're looking for a really warm welcome, huddle up to its two fireplaces.

Once you've battled the throng of folks in green in the Loop, stop here for a more civilized yet still jovial time. The pub comes complete with Irish hospitality courtesy of co-owner Brendan McNeill who previously opened both Lizzie McNeill's and Bridget McNeill's. First, give yourself a base with a taste of the old country like shepherd's pie or fish & chips. Then, go on a "Tour of Ireland" from your bar stool with samples of Glendalough Double Barrel, Slane Triple Casked, and Redbreast 12 Year for $26.

d4pub.com

(312) 624-8385

345 East Ohio Street, Chicago, IL 60611

Butch McGuire's

Green decor in a bar
Green decor in a bar - @butchmcguires / Instagram

You'll literally be seeing green when you walk into Butch McGuire's on St. Patrick's Day. Assuming you survive the wait in line outside, you'll be greeted by the green glow of string lights and hundreds of decorations lining the ceiling and walls. The bar has provided a casual, party atmosphere since 1961, especially with its famous Christmas and St. Patrick's Day decorations.

The vibe is young, loud, and ready to have fun until the early morning hours. If you have the stamina, you can extend your St. Patrick's Day until March 17 proper, as Butch McGuire's stays open until 5 a.m. on Saturdays. Expect the Gold Coast bar to be standing room only, or plan ahead and reserve a six-person booth for three hours for $500. This fee includes your bar cover, breakfast buffet before 11 a.m., and a dedicated server. It does not include any alcohol package or a hangover cure.

butchmcguires.com

(312) 787-4318

20 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60610

Mrs. Murphy's & Sons Irish Bistro

Pint of Guinness
Pint of Guinness - @irishbistro / Instagram

Once you retreat from the downtown revelers, head to this North Center staple to get a taste of some traditional Irish dishes you need to try at least once. Mrs. Murphy's & Sons Irish Bistro has a Chicago pedigree, coming from the family behind Murphy's Bleachers. Jim Murphy built it in the image of the pubs he loved in Ireland. The two-story pub has plenty of space to stretch out and fill your stomach. If you want Guinness on your plate, as well as in your pint glass on St. Patrick's Day, order the Guinness mac & cheese, Guinness onion soup, or beef & Guinness stew.

Walk-ins are welcome on St. Patrick's Day, but make a reservation for a guaranteed seat upstairs. Starting at noon, live music from Cul an Ti and Larry Nugent, Frank Quinn, and Barry Bulger will fill the room with Irish conviviality. With over 20 Irish whiskies to choose from, you can taste your way across the Emerald Isle via single-pot stills from Kilbeggan to Glendalough.

irishbistro.com

(773) 248-3905

3905 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

Guinness Open Gate Brewery

Decorative bar interior
Decorative bar interior - @bob_reey / Instagram

Chicago welcomed Guinness' second U.S. location to the West Loop in 2023. The Irish brewery transformed a massive 15,000-square-foot former rail depot to include a 10-barrel brewhouse, restaurant, and Guinness' first bakery. The taproom has been pouring pints of Guinness beers like the classic draught, brewed in Dublin, alongside locally brewed beers like the Kinzie Street Pale Ale and Corn Maize Cream Ale, brewed with corn grown in Illinois.

Ireland's most famous brewery will mark St. Patrick's Day with a ticketed block party that includes limited-edition St. Patrick's Week Beers, live entertainment, and exclusive merch in the shop. Learn the best method to pour Guinness in six easy steps at the Perfect Pint Academy and personalize your pint with your own selfie on top of it. For a more exclusive experience, reserve a table for a three-hour time slot for four, six, or 12 people.

guinnessbrewerychicago.com

(312) 521-0900

901 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60607

Shinnick's Pub

Vintage wooden bar
Vintage wooden bar - @shinnicks_pub / Instagram

One of Chicago's oldest bars, Shinnick's got its start in the 1880s ahead of the 1893 World's Fair. The Shinnick family took over in 1938, and the third generation runs it today. The South Side staple is deeply rooted in the Bridgeport community. Its website even profiles regulars on the "Someone You Should Know" page and maintains a "Bartenders Hall of Fame" 90 names long. As its website states, "A neighborhood bar is a collection of faces and personalities that paint a picture." Many of those faces appear in historic photos that line the walls. In the neighborhood that gave Chicago five mayors so far, it's no surprise that this local bar earned the nickname "Little City Hall."

The unassuming Bridgeport bar is a typically low-key, even divey pub, that caters to crowds after White Sox games. Expect it to be filled with South Side Irish come St. Patrick's Day, and expect a Shinnick relative to be serving you from behind the original 1880s Brunswick bar. Don't forget to bring cash — some traditions never change.

shinnicks.com

(773) 376-3525

3758 S Union Ave, Chicago, IL 60609

Fadó Irish Pub

beer and fried food
beer and fried food - @fadoirishpub / Instagram

Yes, it's a chain, and its decor feels like a Disney adaptation of an Irish pub, but that doesn't stop merrymakers from filling the three-floor River North bar. Come St. Patrick's Day, expect a mix of die-hard sports fans arriving at 9 a.m. to watch English Premier League Soccer and 6 Nations Rugby, and die-hard day-drinking fans (some overlap is assumed). A $10 cover charge gets you access and live music all day from Kieran Byrne, Nappertandy, and the Chicago Irish Band.

Once inside, work your way through the Guinness and mixes menu which goes beyond the standard black and tan. The Black & Black adds a splash of black currant to your stout while the Local combines Guinness with Goose Island's Green Line. Irish brews even work their way into the food menu, including fish tacos battered in Harp and a chicken sandwich slathered with Guinness BBQ sauce.

fadoirishpub.com/chicago

(312) 836-0066

100 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654

Lizzie McNeill's Irish Pub

Bar with Guinness sign
Bar with Guinness sign - @lizzie.mcneills / Instagram

Most people couldn't tell you where McClurg Court is, but those who can know that Lizzie McNeil's boasts an enviable riverfront patio. The patio will be tented on St. Patrick's Day, so expect it to be bustling whatever the weather. Admission is first come first serve at the Streeterville pub, so arrive early for a front-seat view of the neon green river. Tent entry begins at 9 a.m., but you can begin lining up at 7 a.m. when the indoor bar opens.

Lizzie's menu of domestic and craft beers is made for drinking all day. If you're craving a different Irish stout, try Sullivan's Black Marble Stout hailing from Kilkenny. You'll find some classic Irish dishes amid the menu's pub grub, including some surprises. The Guinness bratwurst is given the Chicago-style treatment and served with grilled onions on a poppy seed bun. Pro tip: Don't miss the free popcorn to munch on while you're imbibing.

lizziemcneills.com

(312) 467-1992

400 N McClurg Ct, Chicago, IL 60611

Galway Arms

Bar sign and flowers
Bar sign and flowers - @galwayarms / Instagram

This Lincoln Park pub offers traditional Irish music most nights, so expect them to turn it up to eleven on St. Patrick's Day. Before she played banjo on Beyonce's "Texas Hold 'em" Rhiannon Giddens played at Galway Arms, so you never know who might you might hear at a session.

St. Patrick's Day whether in Chicago might call for taking advantage of the covered outdoor patio or taking cover by the roaring fireplace indoors. The Galway Arms offers your standard Smithwick's and Harp to sip, but don't overlook creative takes on Irish-inspired cocktails. Have you tried a Dublin Donkey? It's Jameson Orange whiskey, Crabbies ginger beer, and lime. Stay in the game with a coffee made with Jameson Cold Brew and Carolans Irish Cream. What's more comforting after a long day of honoring your favorite saint than digging into lamb stew with Guinness gravy or the salty satisfaction of corned beef and cabbage?

galwayarms.com

(773) 472-5555

2442 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

O'Shaughnessy's Public House

O'Shaughnessy's Public House exterior
O'Shaughnessy's Public House exterior - @oshaughnessyspub / Instagram

This Ravenswood pub is a safe distance from the boisterous party downtown, but you can still expect a full house come St. Patrick's Day. Housed in the Pickard Building dating from the 1890s, its warm brick and wood interior and stained glass accents offer a pleasant setting for gathering with friends until the wee hours.

If you're not one for Guinness at breakfast, try your luck with an Irish Mimosa made with blackcurrant or Irish Mule that uses Slane whiskey. O'Shaughnessy's makes an effort to support Irish-owned businesses like Galway Bakers and Diamond Sausage ensuring that the Irish dishes on the menu taste as authentic as you can find this side of the Atlantic. Case in point, the full Irish breakfast is complete with bangers, rashers, black and white puddings, tomato, potatoes, baked beans, eggs, and toast. Or maybe save that to nurse your hangover after St. Patrick's Day is over and the countdown begins again.

oshaughnessyschicago.com

(773) 944-9896

4557 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Methodology

Chicago River dyed green
Chicago River dyed green - vichie81/Shutterstock

There are as many ways to enjoy St. Patrick's Day as clovers in a field. To create this list, I considered a range of factors to suit all celebration styles. Sure, green beer isn't Irish, but who hasn't enjoyed the novelty of drinking it once per year? Others honor the day by seeking out a setting complete with drinks, dishes, and music straight from the Emerald Isle.

In Chicago, St. Patrick's Day festivities extend throughout the city. I sought to cover bars from the bustling banks of the green Chicago River to the cozy Irish pubs that are at the heart of so many neighborhoods based on my own personal experience in the city and additional research. Come St. Paddy's Day, follow the sound of the pipes and drums from one bar to another. In each, you'll find a warm environment and gathering of friends imported from Ireland's legendary pubs and recreated in the Windy City.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.