Everybody tries to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day. But pounding a pint of Guinness at Bennigan's is hardly the way to go about it. Instead, wow the Celtic crowd with your knowledge of Irish history and folklore. Get the scoop on who's behind pub names, and you'll be sporting a "Kiss me, I'm Irish" button in no time.
Chief O'Neill's Pub
Sipowicz isn't the only sensitive, mustachioed cop out there. Avondale's most prominent Irish standby pays tribute to Francis O'Neill, Chicago's legendary 19th Century police chief who was also a performer of traditional Irish music. The tribute to O'Neill doesn't stop at the name--the pub regularly features Irish jam sessions each week. No word if "Bad Boys" will make the set list.
Mrs. O'Leary's Dubliner
This unassuming Beverly neighborhood tap pays homage to an esteemed local historic figure. For those unaware of Mrs. O'Leary's legacy (shame on you!), it was her cow that allegedly started the Great Chicago Fire. The bar does not serve food, so those expecting to get revenge by ordering a burger will be sadly disappointed--at least until their next pint is poured.
Peg Leg Sullivan's
Conspiracy theorists, unite! This Lakeview pub is dedicated to Daniel Sullivan--the one-legged carriage driver who supposedly started the Chicago Fire. Some believe that it was Sullivan passed out drunk inside O'Leary's barn with a lit pipe that sparked the blaze, not Mrs. O'Leary's bovine. Inside, you'll find photos of Sullivan and old Chicago scattered throughout.
Jeremy Lanigan's Irish Pub
Opened by a Galway native, this Mount Greenwood bar shares its name with the star of Irish folk song "Lanigan's Ball." The song's about drinking, dancing and fighting, which makes us wonder when Lil Jon will sample it for his new album. On the first Sunday of every month, Irish musicians literally get jiggy in the house at a traditional session. But the real star of the bar isn't Jeremy Lanigan, but 75-cent domestic drafts on Mondays.
The name of this Loop pub is actually Gaelic for "kiss my ass." However, this spot is named after the real-life bartender who earned the nickname "Poag Mahone" after an Abbott-and-Costello-like exchange with an angry customer in 1913. The nickname apparently stuck. Luckily, the customer went with a charming sounding Gaelic curse, otherwise you might instead be eating and drinking today at "Nancy Boy's" or "Bee-yotch's."
Rush and Division isn't immune to a little folk history--the name of this frat house bar descends from Fionn Mac Cumhail, a legendary Emerald Isle-style hero. The Irish equivalent of King Arthur, Cumhail wrestled with Scottish giants, created the Isle of Man and will even rise again during Ireland's greatest time of need. Or at least to grill up some late-night patty melts.