If you had to put a word to the cozy, jovial atmosphere at McNally's Irish Pub, the first one to come to mind probably wouldn't be "craic." That is, unless you're Irish. It's the term for the special kind of camaraderie for which Ireland's neighborhood pubs are known, encompassing everything from the quaint decor to the rounds of after-dinner drinks that keep gatherings rolling. At McNally's, that feeling is everywhere, from the sound of pubgoers clinking glasses of Guinness and Smithwick's to the familiar aroma of juicy corned beef and other Irish dishes. On weekdays, the good times start at lunch and carry on into the evening, with regular opportunities to participate in pub events or listen to live Irish music.
At the bar, there's something for just about everyone with a range of Scottish and Irish whiskeys and the Lurgan lager, made just for McNally's. Once everyone is in high spirits and starts to remember they haven't spoken to their plants yet that day, pubgoes leave for the evening, often coming back another time for one of the restaurant's traditional Irish breakfasts.
With a total of 15 locations throughout the Midwest and East Coast, Claddagh Irish Pub spreads the Emerald Isle’s charm via traditional dishes and drinks. Whether in Ohio or Pennsylvania, patrons can absorb the flavorful aroma of crispy fish 'n’ chips and succulently braised lamb shank as servers teasingly walk laps around the dining area before delivering plates to tables. The menu also boasts an assortment of draft and bottled beers, whiskeys, wines, and seasonal drinks. Each pub also regularly hosts numerous events—which vary by location—including trivia nights and traditional Irish music jam sessions by local artists.
Along with their music-inspired décor featuring murals of guitar player Jimi Hendrix and other rock legends, EvenFlow Music & Spirits brings in live jazz, rock, and blues bands to their full-sized stage. To fuel their patrons, the chefs cook a menu of upscale American fare—which has included dressing up grilled cheese sandwiches with short ribs and brioche bread and seared diver scallops with watermelon salsa.
A well-loved wooden bar dominates O'Brien's Pub & Grill's interior, but it isn't the only place to comfortably lounge. An outdoor patio takes advantage of Chicago's temperate summers by providing a breezy venue for diners to enjoy one of the many sandwiches named after an O'Brien family member. The views of downtown Batavia's well-preserved historic district remind patrons of another era, before the invention of cell phones or noisy children. Inside, murals of happy drinkers in green getups frolic across the walls above the wood paneling.
Hawthorne's Backyard's culinary architects animate the American fare, such as burgers, ribs, and roasts, depicted on the menu. An appetizer of loaded chili cheese fries, which swim in green onions and sour cream ($5.99), can prep palates for an appointment with a hearty entree. Momma's pot-roast sandwich, a pulled-pork tenderloin cooked in homemade barbecue sauce and set inside a hoagie bun, frolics across taste-bud territory ($8.50), and the backyard double cheeseburger dually satiates meat and dairy yearnings ($10.50). A full slab of signature baby-back ribs comes to tables drenched in barbecue sauce and, like a subpoena from a grandmother, is served with cinnamon apples and sweet-potato fries ($18.99).