O’Donovan’s – North Center, Chicago

O'Donovan's in Chicago


Yesterday, I took my quinoa and kale-weary butt out for an early dinner.  I hopped the CTA Brown line up to the Irving Park ‘L’ stop in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood and walked 4  blocks over to O’Donovan’s.  Although, I am often in the North Center neighborhood, I was not aware of O’Donovan’s, until I read in the local paper that they offer a Monday meal deal of $2 1/2 lb. burgers and $1 off local draft beers.  (I know!)  What better day for me to satisfy my burger craving which has been taunting me for more months!


Irving Park 'L' stop near O'Donovan's

CTA Brown Line near O'Donovan's

Cross street near O'Donovan's in North Center

O'Donovan's in North Center in Chicago

O’Donovan’s (formerly known as Schulien’s for 100 years) is one of the oldest bars in Chicago and boasts one of the 3 oldest liquor licenses in the city following the end of the Prohibition.  There is an actual Prohibition-era dumbwaiter hidden behind an old-fashioned photo booth.  I love the layout of this place, too.  The front of the house has a long bar and several high-top tables.  There are also 2 other rooms which are adorned with great photos and other fun decorations.   Those rooms have a very cozy feel about them which reminds me of many pubs I visited in Ireland save for the many flatscreen TVs that are found on O’Donovan’s walls.  After all, this is a Chicago pub, and Chicagoans are serious about their sports!   Also, Frankie Zela, O’Donovan’s General Manager displays her lovely, hand-painted window pane artwork throughout the pub and those are for sale.

Schulien's in Chicago

O'Donovan's front bar area in Chicago

The bar at O'Donovan's in Chicago

Draft beer menu at O'Donovan's in Chicago

Dining room at O'Donovan's in Chicago

O'Donovan's decor in Chicago

O'Donovan's pub in Chicago

Flatbread menu at O'Donovan's pub in Chicago

Painted window panes at O'Donovan's in Chicago

Artwork at O'Donovan's restaurant in Chicago

Chicago's O'Donovan's pub


There is also a very inviting patio outside which has some tables as well as nice lounge seating.

O'Donovan's outdoor patio in Chicago

O'Donovan's patio in North Center neighborhood

O’Donovan’s is one of those rare, special neighborhood places where you feel instantly welcome and comfortable.  Chicago’s very own “Cheers” 🙂  I was not there 5 minutes and despite being there solo, I was greeted by some very friendly and colorful regular patrons, as well as the very gracious staff, including Jessica (Sica), the bartender and my very attentive waitress (Sorry darlin’, I never got your name).  Conversation was lively and flowed easily and this is not even my neighborhood!  Thank you, Chris, “The Greek” and “Green Bay” Chris for welcoming this South Loop gal to your inner sanctum!

Bartenders at O'Donovan's in Chicago

Jessica, O’Donovan’s bartender (right)

Back to my Monday meal deal.  I ordered the $2 1/2 lb. burger which came with lettuce, onions and pickles.  I also ordered a side of O’Donovan’s very tasty slaw which was oil and vinegar based rather than made with mayonnaise.  I should mention that slaw, fries and other sides are at an additional but nominal charge.  Finally, I made sure to wash it all down with a pint of  the $1 0ff Revolution  Brewing Anti-Hero IPA draft beer which was great.  I am a fan of the Revolution Brewing beers and I had not tried this one yet.  It was nice to do so with a discount 🙂

Burger specials at O'Donovan's in Chicago

O'Donovan's burgers in Chicago

The Monday burger special at O’Donovan’s begins at 4pm.  It also includes turkey and veggie burgers for $4.  There are also specials every day of the week including a Wednesday special of $2 bourbon, $2 domestic bottles, $2 tacos and Bingo with DJ Joey.  My burger and beer deal “hit the spot” without breaking my wallet which is a good thing because I dine out quite a bit.

O'Donovan's summer specials in Chicago

O'Donovan's Restaurant and Pub in Chicago

O'Donovan's Restaurant and Pub menu

I will definitely be returning to O’Donovan’s to check out their other cool daily specials, the rest of their menu options and the warm and fun neighborhood people who dine and work there.  I highly recommend that you do the same.  If you can, I suggest you leave your car at home and ride the CTA Brown line to the Irving Park ‘L’ stop.  Save on gas, don’t worry about traffic or parking, don’t drink and drive!

O’Donovan’s is located at 2100 W. Irving Park Road.  You can learn more about them at www.odonovansbar.com.

In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Brown Line up to O’Donovan’s.  Save on gas.  Avoid traffic and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!