This isn't because it has great Irish food or the widest selection of Irish beers or even people speaking in unintelligible accents. In fact, it's awfully Americanized when it comes right down to it.
But the thing that really MAKES Irish pubs for me is the atmosphere, and Bridget McNeill's is perfect. With comfy arm chairs, small tables, and a sound level at which you can actually have an intelligible conversation, this pub exudes a cozy atmosphere that is perfect for just hanging out with friends. It also includes the requisite Irish beer list and to my personal delight Magner's cider.
That's where the Irish part stops, but the pub's American aspects actually add to the experience (gasp!). Their unique array of homemade pizzas provides a delectable meal as do the large selection of burgers, and the menu itself is quite sizable. Honestly, it has more and better options than many pubs in Ireland (let's face it, they were under British rule for a long time, and it did nothing good to their cuisine). Likewise, their drink menu is considerable and includes much more than beer and wine, leaving room for people with all sorts of tastes to get a good drink. To top it off, they have specials on food and/or alcohol everyday as well as trivia on Wednesdays. On the whole, this is a great bar, a fantastic pub, and a really nice place to sit down with friends for dinner, a few drinks, and some nice conversation.
420 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657