Best Pubs in Chicago

Cheers to the Best Irish, Scottish and English Pubs in Chicago

Who doesn't love a friendly local pub? Steeped in tradition and devoted to camaraderie, these neighborhood hangouts charm everyone. Chicago is dotted with comfortable pubs that serve hefty pints, savory pub grub and a constant dose of hospitality. Enjoy a glass of locally brewed craft beers (or your old favorites), a plate of fish and chips or a heaping burger and fries, and all the tall tales you can bear. Although Abbey Pub & Restaurant is a tradition in town, whether you favor Irish, Scottish or English, all of these Chicago pubs deliver a feel-good experience.

If you want a down and dirty place to watch a soccer/football game, head to The Globe in North Center. One of only two Scottish pubs in Chicago, The Duke of Perth may not have the high-end feel of its neighbor Owen and Engine but its impressive Scottish ales keeps fans returning. A funky, modern English pub with Indian food is found at Pub Royale.

Long-time favorites such as Timothy O’Toole’s delight diners, and it may be of no surprise that almost all of our selections have traditional pub food such as shepherd’s pie and fish and chips on their menus. To really make it on our list, though, each pub had to have an impressive beverage program and none of these top 10 disappoint. Whether you want to kick back with a cold pint of Guinness or fancy a Scottish ale, these pubs will make you feel like you’re in another world.


Timothy O' Toole's is a bustling sort of place that features a number of entertainment options: TV's, pool tables, dartboards, interactive trivia games, video games and of course, the drink menu that includes microbrews as well as domestic and imported beer both on tap and by the bottle. Fans love the craft beers here. Haven't ever tried Irish nachos? You can enjoy them here. While the pub also offers a great food menu, the appetizers are worth noting because they are excellent. Keep in mind this place stays rather busy. In fact, they've poured more than 4 million pints of beer and served more than 150 tons of wings since opening in 1992. Locals and visitors love the brunch option on weekends.

Recommended for Pubs because: While nestled in a somewhat touristy area, it's popular among locals, especially for its craft beers and variety of entertainment options.While nestled

Megy's expert tip: Try the Irish nachos.

Read more about Timothy O'Toole's Pub Chicago →

This River North hotspot offers authentic Irish pub atmosphere with food, drink and entertainment to match. Inside, you'll find quintessential dark-wood bar areas and plenty of "pub" ambiance though the place does tend to get packed quickly after the sun goes down. A patio towards the rear is a favorite hangout, no matter the season. Fadó features live music – dancing is always encouraged – as well as special events to celebrate soccer (football!) matches. To mark your visit to this Chicago favorite, be sure to stop by the gift shop and pick up a few things Irish. Located in the River North neighborhood, it's popular among downtown professionals, tourists and locals alike.

Recommended for Pubs because: Located in the River North neighborhood, it's popular among downtown professionals, tourists and locals.

Megy's expert tip: A good place to bring large groups.

Read more about Fadó Irish Pub →

Walk into Galway Arms and feel as if you've entered a cozy tavern in the Irish countryside. From the exposed brick, two fireplaces and creaky floors to the wooden tables and soft lights, the place has a lived-in feel yet it's just steps away from Lincoln Park. Scotch, whiskey, beer, wine are all on the drink menu while a full food menu offers Irish-style curry chips, Welsh crab cakes, Celtic mussels for appetizers, a Guinness burger or corned beef sandwich. Main entrees include traditional Irish dishes such as Shepherd's pie and Corned beef and cabbage. The soup is made fresh daily the entire menu is available as takeout.

Recommended for Pubs because: Enjoy authentic and traditional Irish dishes and a pint indoors next to the fireplace or outdoors in its large outdoor patio.

Megy's expert tip: The fireplace makes this cozy spot that much nicer to enjoy a pint.

Read more about Galway Arms →


This landmark, family-owned Irish pub opened in 1973, and got a makeover in 2011 while being featured on Spike TV's "Bar Rescue" show. Now, the Irish pub leans a little more toward rock-and-roll. It's part-restaurant, part-music club, and part-sports bar. It features a respectable whiskey list full menu of authentic Irish food (fish and chips, shepherd's pie and Irish sausage) as well as live music nightly in the back, known as the Green Room. The local, regional and national musical acts range from indie rock to bluegrass and traditional Celtic music. The interior features balcony seating, warm wood floors and stone walls.

Recommended for Pubs because: Besides being featured on Spike TV's, "Bar Rescue," Abbey Pub is a neighborhood favorite.

Jamie's expert tip: Stay for the live music in the back room, known as the Green Room.

Read more about Abbey Pub & Restaurant →

North Center

If you're a soccer fan who loves bar food, The Globe is for you. Since this is a place where fans hang out and enjoy the game while eating and drinking, servers come around regularly to make sure you're taken care of while not making you feel rushed. In case you don't follow soccer, a soccer schedule is pinned up on the bulletin board and frequently shared on Facebook and its website. It has a decent stock of hard liquor and its beer selection is solid and reasonably priced. Soccer scarves from all over the world line the walls to give you that international feeling. It also arranges a bus to Chicago Fire games so be sure to ask about it next time you come in for a drink or to watch the game.

Recommended for Pubs because: A true soccer bar, The Globe is a great place to watch the Champions League.

Megy's expert tip: Close to the Irving Park brown line stop.

Read more about The Globe →

Pub food here is delicious, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food, and you can enjoy it with a pint of beer or a class of whiskey, while sitting along stained glass windows and a warm fireplace. If you're ordering food, your meal will start with a loaf of moist, sweet, homemade Irish Soda Bread with caraway seeds and oatmeal. Among the menu favorites are Scotia eggs, meatloaf, lamb dishes, and of course, fish and chips with a side of mashed peas. The outdoor patio is a nice alternative to the dark wood bar, if the weather permits. Chief O'Neill's pints of Guinness are award-winning. But don't discount their impressive beer and spirit menu.

Recommended for Pubs because: It feels like Ireland inside, with Irish music and interior décor all imported from Ireland.

Jamie's expert tip: On Sunday nights, random people will bring their instruments and play Irish music in front of the fireplace.

Read more about Chief O'Neill's Pub →

Emmit's fulfills all the requirements for a textbook Irish pub - a great selection of Irish beer, whiskey and scotch, traditional grub like shepherd's pie and live Irish music on weekends. The professional 20-somethings who comprise most of the clientele don't seem to mind this distinct lack of trendiness. Instead, they revel in neighborhood ambiance, high-backed booths and touches of Celtic decor that make Emmit's such a welcoming place to have a pint or two of Guinness and some hot fish and chips. It also features nice flat screens to watch the games. The owner is usually at the entrance greeting his patrons as they arrive which adds to the warm feeling of this place.

Recommended for Pubs because: The beloved River West bar was featured in "Oceans Eleven."

Jamie's expert tip: Take the Blue line to Grand Avenue, since Emmit's is right at the stop.

Read more about Emmit's Irish Pub →

Diners at Owen & Engine's elegant yet rustic restaurant enjoy its British-inspired comfort food with real ales and a seven page carefully crafted beverage menu. Head upstairs if you want to feel like you're dining in someone's living room and downstairs if you prefer a more laid-back bistro or gastropub vibe. Owen and Engine prides itself on where its food comes from whether it's from local farms or Haddock (for the fish and chips) flown in daily from Georges Bank in the North Atlantic. Many restaurants have a hard time cooking scallops but Owen and Engine does it right with its seasonings and cooking time.

Recommended for Pubs because: An upscale English dining experience reminiscent of an exclusive old English hunting club but without the pretentiousness.

Megy's expert tip: Go for their Sunday brunch, when the menu features house-made crumpets and breakfast entrees like scotch eggs with stout mustard.

Read more about Owen and Engine →

As one of only two Scottish pubs in Chicago, the Duke of Perth is as authentic as it Scottish pubs go. Scotch. Heavy beer. Animal heads on the wall. And beers from around the world. Patrons love the crispy fish and chips and even more so on Wednesdays and Fridays when it's all-you-can-eat. The tattie skins, shepherd's pie and bangers mash are also popular. Vegetarians will be happy to note a few options for them on the menu as well. Some items on the menu are available for takeout. A quiet and quaint back garden patio is especially nice in this bustling neighborhood.

Recommended for Pubs because: As one of only two Scottish pubs, it offers a great assortment of unique Scottish ales and the city's largest collection of single malt whiskeys.

Megy's expert tip: Go for the all-you-can-eat fish fry on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Read more about The Duke of Perth →


Meet Jamie Bartosch

Jamie Bartosch is a lifelong Chicagoan who thinks her hometown is the greatest city in the world. She is an award-winning newspaper reporter, a freelance travel writer, and the mother of two great kids.