Before beer, bottles were used only to relate messages from castaways and slam the heads of fraternity pledges. Enjoy a cold one with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of pub fare and drinks at Blarney Stone in Oak Forest.
Blarney Stone’s culinary wizards lure patrons with a menu of pub favorites and a hefty selection of craft beers, including 40 selections on tap and more than 80 bottles, and 21 sports-streaming screens. Black olives and jalapeño garnish a mountain of chili, onions, cheese, and sour cream in the towering nachos el grande, allowing diners to share with friends or paw to the bottom in search of the illusive, Lincoln-shaped tortilla chip ($7.95). Mozzarella and cheddar cheese melt over mounds of ground beef on the cheeseburger pizza, which chefs craft from scratch (10”, $8.25; 16”, $15.25). The Reuben sandwich’s slices of rye conceal clandestine corned beef, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese ($6.50). On the beer menu, pints of Guinness stout hide under a creamy head ($4.50 for 16-oz. draft), and Goose Island 312 Urban wheat ale tantalizes blades with a crisp, fruity flavor ($3.50 for 16-oz. draft). Subtle malt flavors balance the Great Lakes Burning River pale ale’s assertive hops and burly firefighter bubbles ($4 for 12-oz. bottle).
In the spacious, high-ceilinged bar, low lights hang on the burnt umber walls decked with 18 flat-screen TVs, three 110-inch projector screens, and vintage pictures. A warm fire roars in a stone fireplace while guests relax at tables or along the wood-paneled bar. At special events, patrons dance the night away, expand beer palates, or enjoy live music. Boasting an affinity for obscure sports, Blarney Kitchen showcases such pastimes as kickball, dodgeball, fast-pitch wiffle ball, four square, and long-distance hop-scotching.
Blarney Stone Pub
Though its name suggests an old-fashioned Irish pub, Blarney Stone cares more about having fun than adhering to tradition. Sure, there’s Guinness on draft, but it shares the beer menu with 40 creative craft brews on tap and 80 more in bottles. Though this fixation on fun leads to a fair share of daily drink specials and private parties, it is best demonstrated by the various leagues of obscure sports that the pub organizes. When they aren’t munching on pizzas or sandwiches, aspiring athletes can sign up for whimsical games of softball, kickball, and wiffleball. Though the sports can be competitive, most regulars find that they are ideal—though unconventional—ways to socialize and settle disputes over whose pot of gold will go toward settling the bar tab.