With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, there are many spots in Chicago to sit down and grab a pint of Guinness at to celebrate. But while almost every pub in Chicago has Guinness on tap, there are only a few spots that truly encapsulate the Irish atmosphere, Fadó Irish Pub is one of those spots.
Located at 100 West Grand Ave., Fadó sells itself as a pub you might stumble upon while walking the streets of Dublin. From the Celtic music to the beers on tap, or the televised soccer and Gaelic football coupled with a menu of food that goes well beyond “simple pub grub,” Fadó is easily one of the best Irish bars in the city.
The meaning behind the bar’s name is quite interesting in itself, as Fadó (pronounced f’doe) is Irish for “long ago,” and is usually used to start a story, much like the phrase “once upon a time.” The word represents the story of a few Irish entrepreneurs who immigrated to the United States in 1996 in hopes to bring the Dublin pub life to Chicago.
With Fadó just marking its twentieth-year anniversary in Chicago, the bar has shown no signs of its popularity slowing down, especially not around St. Patrick’s Day.
While the bar does get crowded on the weekends, the pub’s three levels are usually opened in the case of a busy night – always providing room for new customers. The dark wooden walls hung with a vastly different number of old pictures and paintings of Dublin along with vintage pictures of Chicago help establish a connection between the two cities, as well as give the customers something new to look at every visit.
Possibly the most popular aspect of the bar is the array of Irish beers provided on tap, from the infamous Guinness Draught to O’Hara’s Celtic Stout to Magners Irish Cider. If the beer doesn’t give you a taste of Ireland, than the food certainly will. Different from most Chicago Irish bars that mostly just serve basic pub food, Fadó’s fish and chips are some of the best in the city. With two boats operated specifically for the pub, the cod used are caught in the waters of the North Atlantic near Iceland, similar to that of food in Ireland.
And if you aren’t in the mood for Irish food or don’t find it particularly tasty, Fadó has a surprisingly diverse menu of Irish grub and American dishes along with many signature English appetizers.
Where Fadó fails to capitalize the most is in their music. While the Irish fiddle and tunes can certainly be heard throughout your time at the pub, on the weekends they do tend to mix it in with Billboard’s hottest pop songs of that week. Though that’s no different than any other Chicago bar, Fadó really has a chance to strengthen its authenticity by doing away with Katy Perry and Bleachers songs and incorporating a live band in instead.
But even if the music were to stay the same, Fadó still excels well over the rest of so-called Irish pubs in the city for reasons above food and drinks. It’s the environment itself that makes Fadó one of the best places to go to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day this month.
Whether it’s the owner walking up to every table to make sure his customers are having a good time, or the circled bar in the heart of the pub surrounded by paintings of Ireland, or the international soccer matches on the televisions, Fadó is as Irish as they come in Chicago.