Grab a Guinness and settle in for a little history lesson: The Halligan bar is a multipurpose tool that firefighters use to break through locked doors. Invented in the 1940s by Hugh Halligan of the New York Fire Department, the tool combines a prying claw, a pick and an adze. Like its namesake, the Halligan Bar is multipurpose.
It's a firefighter-themed bar with axes and jackets on the walls and an old hydrant on the back bar. It's also an Irish bar: bottles of Jameson and Bushmills line the top shelves and Irish flags are everywhere. It rounds things out as a sports bar that claims to be "the home of Notre Dame and Marquette," with 11 televisions showing whatever game is on at the moment. And with a home on Lincoln Avenue, how can it not be a Lincoln Park bar, with daily specials that offer everything from martinis to Jameson shots and a music selection that ranges from Weezer to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Better still, it manages to be all of these things without seeming kitschy or contrived.
Guinness is just $3 everyday, and daily specials provide a pretty fiery bargain: Throw back a few $2 you-call-it cocktails on Wednesday, and soothe the pain of the night before with $4 bloody marys on Sunday.
The main room is a huge, open space of dark wood and mirrors, with high-backed, comfortable chairs at the bar and a stamped-tin ceiling high overhead. The walls are covered with photos of firefighters and posters modeling Guinness toucans. If all of this isn't manly enough for you, you can always go downstairs to what the bartender calls "the guy room". ("They tried to put flowers in there," she says, "but I told them that it wasn't working.") There's just enough room down there for a couch, a small bar and a restroom. It looks just like your buddy's finished basement…except, of course, for the ATM.
Centerstage Reviewer: Alan Simmons