Head to some neighborhoods on the North Side and you can't go a half-block without passing an Irish bar. A majority of the time, these establishments are Irish in name only, having opened to capitalize on a certain neighborhood or post-ballgame foot traffic. Shinnick's Pub, located in Bridgeport, is the real deal. This is a classic Chicago Irish tavern, family-owned since 1938, with a history as a pub dating back to the late nineteenth century.
Patrons of Shinnick's need look no further than its back bar to see that history. The bar is an authentic Brunswick, circa 1890, made out of mahogany and alleged to have been a display at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. This work of art depicts Roman columns, ornate knurled designs, deep sturdy cabinets for stocking mass quantities of bottles and a wooden saloon-style cash register (from the same period) that must be seen to be believed. During Prohibition (before the Shinnick family took over) the bar used to serve as a speakeasy. Shinnick's has hosted four different mayors over the years, and, separately, Jimmy Hoffa, who used to hold unofficial Teamsters meetings in the comfortable back room.
Drinks at Shinnick's are your classic Irish bar standbys. Expect a wide variety of Irish whiskies, bourbons, scotches and Guinness on draft...plus plenty of cold beers to celebrate a White Sox win (the bar's just a few blocks from U.S. Cellular Field).
Centerstage Reviewer: Chuck Sudo