Whenever another "authentic Irish bar" opens up somewhere in the city, offering Dubliner Chicken Wings and Jalapen-O'Poppers with Guinness specials, many people shudder. It's been so long since many people have been to anything resembling a real "Irish pub" that many of these low-key working-class drinking houses have been forgotten. (First hint: most real Irish pubs don't have a marketing budget.)
This is why it's nice to have a place like Claddagh Ring a few blocks from the heart of Lincoln Square. It's not an "Irish pub" per se, but a neighborhood joint that happens to be Irish. It's much easier to imagine a hard-working blue-collar Paddy cozying up to this bar and pulling a PBR and a Jameson, than him squeezing into one of those dance club meat markets with a "Mc" or an "O'" in front of their names and throwing back Irish car bombs (which is quite possibly the most ethnically offensive drink ever named).
Beers are cheap, darts games are a regular occurrence, the crowd is more mature than the early-20s backwards hat crowd, and Paddy can even plug in his MacBook and do some work with the provided wi-fi. An actual Claddagh Ring indicates that someone has stolen the wearer's heart – certainly the crowd of regulars can attest to that here.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Karl Klockars