No one is likely to argue that Chicago needs yet another Irish pub, though you'd be hard-pressed to find someone arguing against it. Michael Finan certainly wouldn't. When Zephyr's gave up the ghost, Finan was there, with plans ready to bring a bit of Ireland to Chicago, literally; a good portion of the bar's interior is imported from the Emerald Isle, from the stained glass windows to the wood used to build the bar itself.
There were a few traditional Irish features left in the old country. Stepping inside, you won't be leaving any footprints in sawdust or hay on the floor: The space is immaculate to the point of actually being shiny. The flat-screen digital televisions (oddly out of place above a built-in dark wood fireplace) tuned to baseball remind you which side of the pond you're on. The decor is tasteful, but the density of the ornamentation makes one wonder if these are authentic pieces of an Irish family's history or if Leprechaun Depot exploded.
O'Shaughnessy's is a pub, but it feels more like a pub inside a restaurant. The social focus here seems to be on the food and the majority of the space is devoted to tables meant for dining. The prices are extremely reasonable: curry fries or Guinness-battered onion rings can be had for $3 apiece. Sandwiches aren't much more expensive, with burgers just $7. Or go traditional and use your Guinness or Magner's to wash down an all-day hearty Irish breakfast of toast, baked beans, bangers, white and black pudding, fried potatoes and Irish bacon.
One variable from pub to pub here in Chicago is the quality of the pour. Happily, O'Shaughnessy's knows how to serve a very tasty, cold pint of the black stuff. If you're looking for good value on Irish grub and a nice pint, this pub is a good place to start the evening.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman