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sandi_travelnut Nov 9th, 2005 06:39 AM

Looking for Irish music in a pub in Chicago
My 17 yr old son and I are going to Chicago for the weekend of the 18th of Nov. He'll be interviewing at UIC. I'm researching some fun things to do, especially focusing on things that he'd really enjoy..since hopefully he'll be living there next year.
He loves traditional Irish music and I know there's a large Irish population, so I'm assuming there's some good pubs with music?

We're renting an apt. on E. Huron, but don't mind walking or taking the train. Any suggestions?

JJ5 Nov 9th, 2005 06:53 AM

There are Irish Pubs and Gaelic Park out by me in the Southern Burbs. This is nowhere near where you are going to be.

There are closer locations on the South side but you aren't near them either.

The neighborhood I grew up in was about 90% Irish (I am not) but because of this I took Irish dancing lessons until I was a teen-ager.

I know where most of the straight from Ireland live now, but I don't know that they have strongly active pubs of the type that would have the music that you are seeking.

Gaelic Park is in Oak Forest, IL.

Try for this designation. There are some Riley's Daughter? Mt.Greenwood? Teehan's in Tinley Park? There have got to be some downtown, but authentic??

sandi_travelnut Nov 9th, 2005 07:26 AM

Anyone else?

sandi_travelnut Nov 9th, 2005 08:51 AM

Has anyone been to Chief O'Neills Pub for music?

patg Nov 9th, 2005 09:17 AM

Check out Galway Arms (in Lincoln Park) on

Also, the Irish-American Heritage Center has regular acts in its Fifth Province Pub and more of a family atmosphere. It isn't downtown, but it is only a couple of blocks from the Wilson stop on the Blue Line El.

CAPH52 Nov 9th, 2005 10:47 AM

We really like Chief O'Neill's. We've only been there late afternoon/early evening on Sundays. They've had a "session" going every time we've been there. Sometimes more participants than others. But always enjoyable. Their food is very good and it's a very nice atmosphere. It's also very family friendly. At least on Sunday afternoon/early evening! You wouldn't have any problem taking a 17 year old. As a matter of fact, we've taken our son (15 the first time) twice. He really liked it.

WE also like the Grafton at 4530 N. Lincoln. They also have sessions on Sundays. We were amazed at the number of families with young children. There was even a young girl, maybe 11 or 12, playing a fiddle! Of course, I suspect that being so close to The Oldtown School of Music does wonders for their sessions!

Kitty O'Shea's in the Cbicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan, isn't at all bad for a pub in a hotel. And the location is easy to reach. But I've never been there for music. However, according to Metromix, they do have it after 9:30 Monday through Saturday.

CAPH52 Nov 9th, 2005 10:53 AM

That should be The Old Town School of Folk Music. Sorry! And you might want to check their schedule. You just might catch something interesting there. They have locations at 4544 N. Lincoln and 909 W Armitage.

CAPH52 Nov 9th, 2005 11:11 AM

You might also want to take a look at:

sandi_travelnut Nov 9th, 2005 12:32 PM

Great info, thanks. I also search previous threads here and got additional info. Thanks again.

flamingomonkey Nov 9th, 2005 08:34 PM

While I have no specific reccomendations (despite living on the southwest side, I'm not into the bar scene), Beverly and Mt. Greenwood on the southwest side have huge Irish populations and plenty of bars. Check out some of the sites like Metromix for ideas, then take the Metra Rock Island out to the southwest side.

JJ5 Nov 10th, 2005 07:14 AM

I agree, flamingomonkey, and also Chicago Ridge has a huge newly American Irish community. The Irish South Side parade is on Western Ave. into Beverly.

The new Irish immigrants are Southwest and in the areas mentioned by flamingomonkey primarily.

The others are much more established, generational Irish. Music and bars are different, is what I hear.

tuckerdc Nov 10th, 2005 07:40 AM

It's been a while for me, but perhaps someone else here knows whether The Abbey on Elston Ave would still be a good bet? Of course, it'd have to be a cab ride, not really handy for a visitor via public transportation....

aschie30 Nov 10th, 2005 12:05 PM

I've been to Chief O'Neill's for the music. Let me preface by saying that I'm not that into Irish "pubs" here on the North side of Chicago. Why? Because they're mocked and copied and imitated to the nth degree such that they bear no resemblance whatsoever to the essence of an Irish Pub.

Having said that, I LOVE Chief's. The owners are Irish and you will often find the owner himself playing Irish music in his pub. I think the food is good and the atmosphere is relaxed. One warning - it's a bit of a trek with no car. But you could cab it and ask the host to call you a cab on the way back. If you have access to a car, street parking around there is a cinch.

Chief's is located on the Northwest Side at 3471 N. Elston.

Or you can take the train/bus:

Another destination that easier to get to is Tommy Nevin's in Evanston. You can take the Purple Line there. Last time I checked they had Irish music on Sundays.

You will probably not find any authentic places downtown.

aschie30 Nov 10th, 2005 12:56 PM

Tommy Nevin's is at 1450 Sherman Ave. in Evanston.

This is from

On Sunday afternoons, the pub is a haven for fans of live Irish music sessions. Free performances start at 2:30 p.m. and stretch for hours.

To get there by train, from Chicago Avenue & Michigan, you want to walk a few blocks west on Chicago Ave. (away from the lake), get on the Red Line going North towards Howard (past Wrigley Field). Get off at Howard and change to the Purple Line and get off at Dempster.

sandi_travelnut Nov 14th, 2005 08:22 AM

Would you guys agree with the directions below that I rec'd from the tripsweb website? This is from the apartment at 35 E. Huron to Chief O'Neills at 3471 N. Elston:

Walk to Chicago & Wabash
Take CTA bus #66 Chaicgo westbound to Chicago and Milwaukee

Take Blue line train (to O'Hare) to Addison stop

Take Bus #152 Addison eastbound to Addison and Albany

Walk .2 miles to N. Elston

Is there a way to take the train all the way without taking a bus too?

aschie30 Nov 14th, 2005 09:51 AM

Sandi_travelnut- those are the directions that I received off the transitchicago website.

There is not a way to train without the bus because the train lets you off too far to the west. Be assured, though, that the Chicago bus system is very well signed (unlike many other cities) and the drivers are very helpful.

Some hints:

The #66 is my personal bus to and fro the Mag Mile, so I know it well. If I were you, I'd pick it up at the Michigan Ave./Chicago stop. You'll see one of those bus shelters on the same side of the street as the park on Michigan Ave & Chicago and across the street from Ralph Lauren/RL. The reason I suggest going to that stop is because the bus will stop at that stop first before it will stop at the Wabash/Chicago stop. There are usually a fair amount of people at the Michigan Ave/Chicago stop, which means that by the time the bus gets to the Wabash stop, you may not get a seat (don't worry too much- they'll free up pretty quickly). Also, this stop is probably the same distance walk to the Wabash stop, so you might as well maximize your time.

Second, it will feel like you're on the bus for awhile as it goes through the lights on Chicago. Once the bus hits the Halsted stop at the <b>big</b> Chicago Tribune distribution center (there's an automated P.A. system that announces the stops), the ride will go a lot faster. Your stop will be at the Blue Line at <b>Ogden and Milwaukee </b>(the PA system will announce all of this). It is about 3 stops after the Halsted stop. It is also a popular stop, so there will be a lot of people getting off and coming on.

Third- when you depart the bus, the stairs to go underground on the blue line will be right outside the bus stop.

Take the Blue Line towards <b>O'Hare</b>. Depart at Addison.

The bus to catch runs along Addison, going east. You should catch it <b>across the street</b> from where you will emerge from the Addison stop.

If you're feeling a little unsure, you can always tell the bus driver what stop you want and sit near the front. If you're spacing out and not listening to the announcements, he or she might alert you to your stop - they're usually that helpful.

When you exit @ Albany, you want to take that portion of Albany that is on the same side of the street as where the bus let's you off and head down it (you're now going south). The Chief's is on Elston, which Albany runs into.

When you're on Albany, you will be walking past houses - so don't be confused because it's a residential street. You will also get to see the types of homes that many Chicagoans live in and how the environs outside the Mag Mile/downtown area are configured. You'll have a busy main road (like Elston and Addison) and right off the main road, the streets are lined with houses and trees. Very nice.

The area around Chief's is still working class, a lot of families, but it is slowly gentrifying as the more yuppified areas due east near Wrigley Field stretch further and further west.

I know this route sounds complicated but I assure you, it's really not.

Also, once you get there, if you decide you want to take a cab instead, you can ask the establishment to call you one.

aschie30 Nov 14th, 2005 10:10 AM

Some hints on the <b>fare system</b>:

You will need exactly $2.00 (bills accepted on the bus). Ask the driver at the Chicago Ave./Michigan stop for a <b>transfer.</b> The driver will hand you a ticket that resembles a parking ticket with a magnetic stripe. Keep this. You will need it to get on the train and the bus.

The base fare for one ride on either the train or a single route bus ride is $1.75. If you want to transfer to another bus or train line (that does not offer a &quot;free&quot; transfer underground), then you need a &quot;transfer,&quot; which costs 25 cents. If you want to transfer again, within a 2 hour period after your ride began, then that additional transfer is free (when you request a transfer, the driver will time-code the magnetic stripe to reflect the time that you began your ride).

sandi_travelnut Nov 14th, 2005 10:27 AM

Thank you very much!

Rocky Nov 14th, 2005 11:35 AM

The Hidden Shamrock at 2723 N. Halsted also has music from 3 to 6 on Sunday. website is This location might be easier for you to get to with public transportation. Brownline (L) north to Diversey, two blocks east to Halsted. Whichever you choose... enjoy Chicago.

Vittrad Nov 14th, 2005 12:24 PM

aschie30 gave you good directions. As far as the neighborhood is concerned. I lived over there about 3 years ago and never had any problems during the day or at night, but I would exercise the standard caution you would in any neighborhood that isn't your own.

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