Local Irish pubs are fun year-round, but on St. Patrick's Day they become celebration destinations. Adding to regular menus of Irish food and beer, these spots welcome revelers this weekend with music, dance performances, giveaways and more.
Ballydoyle, 28 W. New York St., (630) 844-0400, ballydoylepub.com: Doors open at 8 a.m. Friday for the bar's annual Kegs & Eggs Irish buffet. Festivities continue throughout the day with performances by the McNulty Irish Dancers along with music from John Arthur & Stephanie Tonnemacher, Reilly, American Rogues and Flatfoot 56.
Finn McCool's Irish Sports Pub, 1941 E. Algonquin Road, Schaumburg, (847) 303-5100, finnmccoolschicago.com: Kicking off at 5 p.m. daily Thursday through Saturday, the bar's St. Pat's Fest takes place in a giant heated tent and features corned beef sandwiches bagpipers, and performances by bands including 1980s hair rock tribute band Hairbangers Ball on Friday and Irish party band Red Rebel County on Saturday. Tickets are $7 Thursday, $10 Friday and Saturday, and $20 for a three-day pass.
McGonigal's Pub, 105 S. Cook St., Barrington, 847-277-7400, mcgonigalspub.com: The seventh annual Barrington Celtic Fest runs on both levels of the bar and in an outdoor tent on Park Avenue from March 16 to 18. Festivities include music by the The Ragged Rascals on Friday and Fast Eddie McAteer Saturday, plus Irish dance groups performing Friday and Saturday. A beer truck in the tent serves Guinness, Harp, Smithwick's and green Miller Lite, and you can enjoy a mix of Irish fare, festival favorites and kid-friendly food. Remember Charlotte's, which is expected to open in April, is using the occasion to sample its pizza. Admission is free, though donations to the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life are accepted.
McNally's Irish Pub, 109 W. Main St., St. Charles, (630) 513-6300, mcnallyspub.com: Come at 8 a.m. Friday for the pub's traditional St. Patrick's Day mass followed by breakfast and full lineup of entertainment featuring performances by Gavin Coyle and The O'Brien Family. If you're looking for a taste of Irish spirits, come Saturday for a sampling of O'Hara's Irish pale ale and Teeling Irish whiskey or Monday when you can try the new Guinness wheat beer.
Mickey Finn's Brewery, 345 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, (847) 362-6688, mickeyfinnsbrewery.com: Doors open at 7 a.m. Friday for the 13th annual live St. Patrick's Day broadcast of 95 WIIL ROCK's "The Tom and Emily Morning Show." The first 95 guests get a free T-shirt and everyone enjoys a free Irish breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. The brewery shows NCAA games throughout the day and offers corned beef and other Irish food specials along with St. Pat's Irish ale and Hackett Irish stout on tap. Fitz & the Celts performs at 7 p.m. with Hearthfire following at 10 p.m.
O'Hare's Pub and Restaurant, 207 S. Main St., Bartlett, (630) 372-8878, oharespub.com: The bar opens at 8 a.m. Thursday through Saturday to offer a breakfast buffet. It also serves green beer and a special menu all day. Bagpipers and Irish dancers perform on Friday.
O'Malley's Pub & Eatery, 701 Hill Ave., Aurora, (630) 898-8700, omalleysaurora.com: Start partying early Friday with a kegs 'n eggs breakfast at 9 a.m. Kids are welcome and there will be face painting from 5 to 8 p.m. plus performances from the Junkyard Groove Acoustic Duo, McNulty Irish Dancers, Irish bagpipers and The After Five Band. The bar will also be giving away party favors and Bulls tickets. Food and drink specials include $8.99 corned beef sandwiches, $11.99 corned beef and cabbage, $3 green beer and $4 Guinness pints.
Peggy Kinnane's Irish Restaurant & Pub, 8 N. Vail Ave., Arlington Heights, (847) 577-7733, peggykinnanes.com: Staff will be handing out T-shirts, hats and beads on Friday, with cover band Sean and Charlie playing from 4 to 11 p.m. and the McNulty Irish Dancers performing from 6 to 8 p.m. Cover is $5 starting at 3 p.m. and a special menu of Irish food and drinks will be served. On Sunday, bring the kids for the bar's annual St. Patrick's Day Family Celebration. They'll open at 11 a.m. for an Irish fry breakfast featuring Irish bacon, sausage, baked beans and potato pancakes. From noon to 6 p.m. there will be a face painter and magician and the McNulty Irish Dancers perform from 2 to 4 p.m. Reservations are strongly recommended. Irish soda bread will also be on sale throughout the weekend.