With health-bent Fado
and bistro-eclectic Garrett Ripley's
handling the neighborhood's Irish fare fusions, O'Leary's represents the no-nonsense pub front, where tater tots are slung in equal proportion to pints of Guinness. That said, it's not an authentic Irish pub, but rather a Lincoln Park sports bar dressed in Erin Go Bragh kitsch, that sits fine with its always packed happy hour set.
In the summer months, the beer garden keeps crowds diverse, as it is one of few bars in the area with over-the-pond drafts – Guinness, Harp, Murphy's, etc. – under $5 and a blue collar let-loose-ability. Otherwise the 10 or so televisions that are splayed arena-style around its saloon-esque insides are home to bartenders well versed in satire and mainly middle-aged men on a pit-stop between downtown and home.
A quick glance of the dust on the Golden Tee machine speaks volumes. But some recent menu changes are aiming to save grace with dinner crowds, highlighting treats like Irish stews, bubbling with Guinness-soaked beef and lamb, and various chopped salads for under $8.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Gavin Paul