Atlantic Bar & Grill
With a nautical theme in everything from the dishes to the decor, this charming Irish-American tavern caters to urbanites and pint-drinking skippers alike. Aside from hosting nights with live music and DJs, the Lincoln Square spot screens sporting events, including football from both sides of the pond.

"A welcome addition to the neighborhood--perfect spot for casual drinks during the week or late-night on the weekends. Excellent comfort food, especially the Friday fish special. Very friendly staff full of stories and personality; we will be back." --Matt and Katie

"A nice spot for a pint or two. Excellent bar food, good musical acts and a comfortable atmosphere with friendly bartenders. … Not too smoky either!" --Tobermory

Chief O'Neill's Pub
This festive Irish pub turns out top-quality Celtic fare; specialties include corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips. The bar features deep, dark wood booths, dim lighting and stenciled Celtic designs; the outdoor space is popular in warmer months.

"This is a great pub/restaurant. We had dinner last night and it was delicious. The draught beer menu was pretty good, featuring the regular Irish beers. The atmosphere was great--very neighborhood-like. There was smoking in the pub area where we ate, but that was the only drawback. Will go back again!" --Jason

"Super-nice people and great food! We got there and the kitchen had just closed, but they kept it open for us. … Outstanding service too!" --Christopher

Cullen's
Chicago has many bars that claim to be Irish, but at Cullen's you might hear an actual Irish brogue. Bartenders take care in pouring Guinness, filling a glass half-way, letting the brew settle and then finishing the pull. Stop in on a weeknight for homemade soups, sandwiches and traditional Irish dishes, or swing by on weekends when bands take the "stage" at the front of the bar.

"What a great crowd, and the manager (Adam) was a true delight. … The food was great and the pints were stellar. The girl who waited on us was adorable with her Irish accent." --Erica

"Stopped in for a bite to eat and we stayed all night for the pints and the band. We sat at the bar and the two bartenders were something out of a movie. … These guys were fast with the pint and quick with a hilarious story. My wife and I are making this one of our regular stops." --TJ

Emerald Loop
This recently opened pub from the guys behind Vaughn's Pub (2917 N. Sheffield Ave.) and Mystic Celt (3443 N. Southport Ave.) is located in the historic 35 East Wacker Drive Building. Its prime Loop location makes it a destination for professionals and tourists seeking breakfast, lunch or dinner.

"Great addition to the area. Has the feel of a nice neighborhood bar. The large windows in front give you the feeling of being outside." --David

"A little bit slow service for Friday, but overall great atmosphere." --Sally

"Went there for lunch and the carving station special was very reasonably priced, and the corned beef was excellent. Competent and friendly servers, bartenders and hostess." --CF

Grace O'Malley's Restaurant-Pub
This South Loop spot is named for the legendary Irish noblewoman turned chieftain and pirate. Look for pub favorites such as curry fries, fish and chips, and shepherd's pie; the menu also boasts more upscale fare and heartier entrees.

"Great restaurant/bar combo! Food's good; service is even better. The mixed drinks are a little strong, but that's OK with me." --Cassie "An excellent place to go--especially after a Bears game. … Great service, great food. I'm coming back!" --Amir

The Kerryman
Named in honor of legendary Kerryman St. Brendan, this is the first U.S. venture for the owners, who already own bars, clubs and hotels in Ireland, the U.K. and Spain. An Irish architectural firm designed the rich interior of mahogany, stone and leather, as well as the custom-made, granite-topped bars throughout the three-level space. The menu offers standards such as fish and chips, shepherd's pie and mac 'n'cheese.

"Best hot whiskeys in Chicago; I went in for one and ended up having five." --Sean

"I had the best time here on Friday night. … I want the recipe for the mac 'n' cheese." --Rachel

"I went here on a Monday night ... the bar was busy but not packed; I was easily able to get our drinks from the Irish bartender. … We tried the chili shrimp starter, which was fantastic, and then we had curry fries, which everyone should try. I was really impressed by the decor and I will return." --James

[ Reviews compiled from readers' postings on metromix.com ]
metromix@tribune.com

Originally published Feb. 16, 2007.