When Peggy O'Hare Vance and her husband, Bill Vance, traveled to Ireland, they were amazed at the friendliness of everyone they met. Now they're bringing that strong sense of hospitality to Bartlett with O'Hare's Pub, which opened in November in the space formerly occupied by Sheep & Fiddle.
Motif: Fans of the Sheep & Fiddle will find the same Irish flair, but the space has become a more sports- and family-focused hangout. A large wooden bar topped with beer labels, postcards and pictures of motorcycles takes up the center of the spot, surrounded by six TVs tuned to sports. There are three TVs in the dining room, and the owners plan to bring in more before the start of football season.
O'Hare's Pub1085 W. Army Trail Road, Bartlett, (630) 372-8878, oharespub.com
Hours: 3 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday
There are plenty of Irish touches, with shamrock-decaled candles at every table, a banner with a leprechaun and rainbow on the door, Guinness flags outside and beer signs and an Irish flag on the walls. The bar added video gambling in May, with three games off to the side of the space.
Food: Reuben bites are the signature dish; the appetizer features deep-fried corned beef and cheese. The chef, who's from Northern Ireland, prepares a seasonally changing menu of classic Irish fare such as a boxty -- a potato pancake filled with chicken or steak -- plus fish and chips and shepherd's pie. Their half-pound Angus burgers, served on a pretzel roll, are also a hit. Daily specials bring flavors from around the world, such as Cuban sandwiches, hummus and shrimp po boys. The bar also offers deals, including a $15.95 Friday fish fry and 50-cent wings on Saturdays and Sundays.
Liquid consumption: O'Hare's Pub patrons like to drink Irish, with Smithwick's, Harp and Guinness on draft and ready to combine in a black and tan. A large selection of Irish whiskey is also available.
Crowd: The bar has already attracted a crowd of regulars, who are mostly around 40, though any age can be comfortable here. Many patrons are locals. Sports games bring out big crowds, with fans heckling each other across the bar, and the Friday night fish frys are so popular people often have some drinks at the bar while waiting for a table. The space also has hosted plenty of parties for all ages.
Service: We were quickly greeted by a friendly bartender who offered a beer or whiskey and chatted with us while we drank. The owners also make a point of trying to introduce themselves to patrons, especially if you're there solo.
Music: O'Hare's hosts karaoke on Tuesday and bring in acoustic acts about once a month, with the music always mellow enough that you can still easily have a conversation.
Parking: There are plenty of free spots in the strip mall parking lot.
Overall: It's easy to make new friends over a pint at O'Hare's Pub.