The Irish Oak, in the heart of Wrigleyville, offers traditional Irish pub atmosphere with some contemporary flair. Most of the wait staff is of Irish descent, as well as being charming and attentive. The menu is chock-full of time-honored Irish fare like shepherd's pie, fish and chips, and a full Irish breakfast (most items range $9-$12). The pub also boasts the best pint of Guinness in Chicago, though there are several other bars that make the same claim.
Irish Oak is owned and operated by the Lawless family, Galway natives. Everything in the bar, from the floors to the frames, is imported from the Emerald Isle. Its posters and worn, wooden bar give it some old-world charm, but even that's no match for Cubs fans. They tend to take over the place on game days, enjoying the six-foot big-screen TV, plus tons of food and drink specials. Sunday brunch is also a big hit.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Beth Dugan