As much as most Irish bars claim to be authentic, most are just following the mold of what they think an Irish bar should be: cozy, low-key and full of dark wood and Guinness posters. But not Kerryman. The River North bar/restaurant strives to bring a touch of new school Ireland to Chicago. The bar features slightly more upscale decor and a higher-end menu than the typical Irish bar, though prices are still affordable and stand-bys like fish and chips and burgers can still be found.
The owners, natives of County Kerry whose families own bars and hotels in Ireland and England, brought in an Irish designer to design the three-tiered bar, which features mahogany paneled walls, two granite-topped bars, contemporary light fixtures and comfortable leather booths. The setup provides patrons with the best of both worlds: Hang out at the main floor bar to sip on a pint or wander up to the mezzanine level for a more intimate dining setting. With bars on each of the first two floors, as well as scattered tables winding around the three levels, there is plenty of room and enough options to make this bar your spot for the night.
Patrons tend to mostly be those looking to grab a few pints after work, though the menu, which features two seafood and steak options daily, also pulls in its fair share of beer drinkers looking for sophisticated pub food with an Irish twist. In addition to burgers and sandwiches, diners can choose from entrees like rack of lamb, curried chicken and filet mignon.
Centerstage Reviewer: Ann McDonald