Each Auld Dubliner location must meet the stringent level of authenticity required by co-owner and Gaelic strongdrinker David Copley. A native of Limerick, Ireland, Copley might share a dirty poem if you ask nicely, but he's more likely to tell you that every part of his pub's polished wood, brass décor, and menu of toothsome Erin edibles was designed and crafted in Ireland and transported piece by piece to its new American home. Tuck right into pub classics such as shepherd's pie with ground beef and lamb ($12.95) or the for-more-than-St.-Patty's-Day corned beef and cabbage ($12.95). Other fare that comes with a shamrock stamp of approval includes the traditional boxty (a potato pancake), stuffed with delights such as Irish bacon and melted cheddar ($13.95) or Atlantic salmon with shallots and tarragon ($15.95). For a finish as sweet as a "yes" from Molly Bloom, the Irish-whiskey crème brûlée adds a twist to the traditional dessert.
Brando's combines all the sports-soaked trappings of a neighborhood pub or sports bar with a traditional pizzeria, serving piping-hot Chicago-style pizzas ($12/$15), stromboli ($9.50), and ricotta-rich calzones ($10.50). Build a mozzarella-stick log cabin for deep-fried settlers ($6.50), or complement the glow emitted from TVs during March Madness with a hearty handful of homemade potato chips ($5). A savory steak salad piles on blue cheese and thinly sliced flat-iron steak ($10), and the italian sausage ($8.50) or italian beef sandwich, with hot giardiniera pepper ($8), deliver Windy City standbys. Brando's also dishes out build-your-own burgers ($8, $0.50 per added topping), pastas ($9), and a full omelette ($6, $0.50 per added topping), and a breakfast menu for those who wake up early to watch soccer, cricket, and European baseball, which is also know as American tennis.
Al's Garage serves a menu of pub fare within automotive-themed confines adorned by rims, spray-painted hot rod flames, and a bar backed by treaded metal. Wings come customized in choice of mild, spicy, or hot seasoning, accompanied by ranch or blue cheese for moderating heat and making swirly sauce patterns. After appetites ignite, mains such as fish tacos, in which flour or corn tortillas enfold golden chunks of cod ($9.95), hush the bellows of outspoken abdominals. Burgers include a 1/3 pound of ground beef, a chicken breast, or vegetarian patty, with interpretations such as the Hawaiian teriyaki burger, which layers gruyere cheese with a grilled pineapple ring, delights picky palates ($8.95). Postmain confections include a deep-fried Twinkie topped in hot chocolate sauce ($4.95), and the breakfast burrito of scrambled eggs, roasted peppers, and cheese fights hunger late into the night or early into the morning ($6.95). An outdoor patio lets diners revel outside, while inside custom black-and-red upholstered seating grants gazing upon seven plasma-screen TVs or comfortable navel-gazing 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Two years ago, pub-patriarch Doug MacDonald realized his dream of a Sinatra-themed time capsule when he created Daddy Mac’s. Gaming and dining mingle in the dusky interior, with daily gambler's specials and the menu's full house of rib-stickers, including Daddy Mac’s cheeseburger, a 12-ounce butter burger with lettuce, tomato, a pickle, and fries ($12), and a roulette wheel of pizzas on secret-recipe dough ($12–$14). Breakfast omelets ($7) and evening entrees such as linguine scampi ($14) all vie for face time with discerning diners.
Often, the two key ingredients for a fun social gathering are drinks and music. Gold Mine Tavern's staff keeps the libations—draft beer, bottled beer, cocktails—flowing and on most weekends pour live music over their guests as well. Those tunes might vibrate off the walls of a tent covering the outdoor patio. They might even seep into the main bar area and reverberate against exposed brick, solid-red walls, or the flat-screen TVs that hang from them. Three pool tables fight video poker games for attention, and ceiling fans cool off any heat generated from the eight ball clacking against the six ball at the speed of frustration. Although the tavern itself was established in 1965, it recently underwent a full remodel.