The map I use to have here was terrible. So here's a new one. Click on the shrunken map for a larger, printable version. I swear, one day this will all be hooked up with a Google map API, and whatever else they'll have in the future that will let you virtually walk in and drink. Until then, this is a current list, as far As I can tell
For years the only info on this site was for Northside Irish pubs but finally I've thrown together another map. My latest addition is a map of Irish Pubs in the River North/River East/Streeterville area. There's no shortage of good ones here, with walking distances that aren't too bad from pub to pub.
You'll note the map includes the chains Smith and Wollensky and Elephant & Castle. Elephant & Castle is a chain, but it's a British chain (with two more locations in the loop). Many will be politically upset that I include a British pub on this list, but it's along the way, and there isn't anywhere else nearby that serves as real an ale from the British Isles as E&C and it's worth the stop in for a bitter or London porter. Let's face it, I'm happy that I can now get a Smithwick's in any Irish Pub in the city and the pubs on this list all pour a great Guinness, but other good beer choices in these places are limited, so if you're a real beer geek, you'll want to make the exception.
Smith & Wollensky is a national Steak chain that might seem like a strange choice that certainly isn't Irish, but the all Irish bar staff makes it feel like it could be. It's also strategically located on State and the River if you need a stop on the walk west towards the River North pubs. You'll feel more comfortable if you're slightly more dressed up for this place though.
My recommendation for a good path would be to get off the Merchandise Mart CTA stop and walk up to Pepper Canister, then O'Leary's then Fado, then Kerryman, over to Brehon, back east to Garrett Ripley's and finishing up at Celtic Crossings. Close enough for a stumble home to the Chicago Redline stop.
If you're in the Loop or in a Streeterville hotel, hit whatever pub is closest to the hotel - Lizzy McNeill's, D4 or Elephant & Castle, then west to Celtic Crossing, Kerryman, Fado or Pepper Canister and you should still be able to stumble back and the doorman will still let you in.
Unless you've never seen an Irish pub, or these are in your way, you don't need to stop into O'Toole's or Houlihan's. O'Toole's is a fun place, but is a giant sprawling sports bar, not a pub. And Houlihan's is convenient if you're coming across the water, and has some nice big fish tanks to look at while you drink, but the name is the most Irish thing about it.
People will argue about Fado, and I agree it's a Disney-fied Irish pub, but most everything about it is imported, including the staff. It's worth a gander for the decorations and does do a fine pour.
Lizzy McNeill's feels like a hotel bar which is great for traveller's stories at the bar, but you probably won't meet too many locals.
Brehon and Shamrock Club are neighborhood bars, dominated by regulars. They're good choices to see what a real chicago bar is like.
Pepper Canister, Kerryman, D4 and Celtic Crossing are Irish owned, and you'll feel it on walking in, so these should be on your tour no matter what. Pepper Canister is sightly subdued and church-like (after it's namesake) while Kerryman seems perpetually crowded with raucous youngsters. Celtic Crossing is the definition of Irish Pub in this city - no TVs unless Ireland is playing in the Cup, quiet conversation for the after work crowd, building into a sometimes rowdy (in a friendly way) crowd of Irish regulars that sometimes burst into song. Later on, some of those regulars you may have seen working the other side of the bar in the other pubs, so keep that in mind when tipping through your travels.
It's now time to go home. Or as they say, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.
See my comments on some of the other bars in the area.
This site is in no way an endorsement of drinking, eating chips and gravy, or cheese and onion crisps. The establishments mentioned on these pages have not endorsed or sponsored this site. The creator of this site holds no responsibilty for anyone using this map with stupidity. Drink according to your limits and take CTA.
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