In pubs across Ireland, the craic, which means enjoyable conversation and gossip, is everything. It's the same at The Curragh Irish Pub & Restaurant, with regular live music, Irish dancing, and live streaming of rugby and soccer matches from around the world. The Curragh's menu relies on its Irish ancestry, with traditional dishes such as corned beef and cabbage or chicken boxty. Beers follow suit, with dozens of Irish ales, including Smithwick's and Guinness, on tap. Whiskeys such as Jameson and Bushmills are also poured through tap-like spigots at the wood-paneled bar. In the summery months, The Curragh's patio radiates with warmth and conviviality, often humming with the cheer and snorted laughter of catered parties.
Sudsy drafts gush from foam-flecked taps at The Chubby Bullfrog, a neighborhood watering hole aglow with the flicker of televised Chicago sporting events. Gooey strings of cheese swing elastically, like a jazz clarinetist during his weekly yoga class, from thick slices of pizza studded with sausage or pepperoni. Boisterous cheers echo off the contours of golden pitchers filled with Miller Light, Blue Moon, or seasonal selections from Sam Adams, such as Winter Lager, Summer Ale, and White After Labor Day Stout.
Zanies Comedy Club presents established comics in Chicago, St. Charles, and Rosemont. Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, and Chelsea Handler are among the many comedic greats who have brought in crowds with jokes since the club opened in 1978.
A towering, 35-pound pile of Angus beef, American cheese, and bacon awaits those who accept the Da Big Hurt Challenge at Shoeless Joes Ale House & Grille, the 22-year-old sports bar that has won over Chicago diners and Channel 2 News alike. Diners who tackle the challenge are rewarded with a T-shirt and are automatically entered to win the next presidential election. Guests with smaller appetites can enjoy more reasonably sized selections from the sports bar's menu of 14 gourmet burgers, steak, ribs, and pizza. Meals pair with pours from an impressive wine list or the roster of more than 20 craft beers on tap. The restaurant's 36 flat-screen televisions beam sports into the pub throughout the week while guests shoot pool, and singers belt out karaoke tunes on Saturdays.
Anchored in the charming quarters of the 172-year-old Queen's Inn, these convivial eateries rouse patrons with a potpourri of upscale pub fare and a favourable lineup of draft beers. Bibbed partakers can abandon cutlery and white tuxedo jumpsuits in order to dig into Coppers Pub's Fat City burger, a handcrafted vessel of never-frozen meat draped in Canadian back bacon and a blanket of warm cheddar cheese ($10.99). Neighbouring patty aficionados at The Sports Tap and Grill can also summon the embrace of a toasted kaiser bun with a variety of Fat City protein fillers, including lean ground beef, tender ground turkey, all-natural chicken breast, and range-fed Wolfe Island bison. In addition to donning a classic triple crown of lettuce, tomato, and onion, the signature burger also musters the company of a complimentary french-fry brigade. Like the patient inventors of the bendy straw, a team of poised brew wizards eagerly awaits the verdicts of thirsty patrons and primes palates for smooth consumption at both watering holes with 20 ounces of Molson M, Creemore, and Murphy's stout ($5.52+, not included in this Groupon).