Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Pint at Peggy Kinnane's Irish Pub

Maybe I’m Nuts…But…every time I visit a new city, I like to find a local pub just to get a taste of the local flavor (and of course the local brew) as I find those small out of the way places to be a running tap of information. You also get a great feel for the people in the area as usually, only locals populate the place.

Go ahead and play the'll put you in the mood while you read on.

So…There I was, for the first time on the outskirts of Chicago when I happened upon Peggy Kinnane's Irish Pub. Being as it was late in the afternoon, I strode in and took up a seat at the bar. Irish music was playing and I ordered a pint and started to pepper the Barkeep (His name was Tommy) with questions regarding the best things to see…OFF the beaten I was to be in the area for just a day. Well, Tommy started in on the local night scene (while washing what looked like perfectly clean glasses) and telling me about places in the city that were not to be missed.


That’s when an average looking fellow came in and took a stool at the other end of the bar. He ordered a pint (Tommy seemed to know the man) and put it on his tab. Just as I suspect…a regular…a local. I could hear the two of them talking (as the music as low) and this new drinker had a thick Irish accent. Cool. Shortly, a second fellow joined in sitting only a couple of stools from the first and he TOO had the lilt in his voice.

The first guy (in that heavy accent) says to the second, “Sure enough reminds me of the pubs back home.” To which the second remarked, “Aye…ya be from Ireland too? Tender…another pint fer me friend and (with a slight sideways head nod toward me) one fer the gentleman at the end o the bar.”

Obviously…a find judge of character.

As a couple more folks came in to the place, these two fellow (both in their mid to upper 60’s it appeared) continued. The first saying, “Aye, I come from Dublin…grew up there, on O’Hurly street…er were it Avenue?” to which the second replied, “I meself is from Dublin too. I remember well it was O’Hurly Avenue where I was a lad.” At which point HE bought a round for all of us at the bar. As they talked, more and more folks came in and soon, all the bar stools were filled. The second of the Irishmen piped up stating his was a small house surrounded by a picket fence and the first (astounded by this) chimed in that he TOO used to live in a house with a fence around it…a white one. The two pooled their assets and bought a pint for everyone!

Well, by now, the pub was filled and Tommy was filling glasses left and right and the noise was elevating as these fellows continued to compare notes and speak (Irish accents and all) of their lives in the old country. It was fascinating! The second (now shouting a bit) said that, “Just a block er two down from me home, there were a church…St. Pats…as I remember.” The second (with a thoughtful look on his reddening face) said, “From me own childhood home, twas but a 5 minute stroll to the Cathedral of St. Patrick. Walked right passed it on me way to an’ from school!”

Yep…more pints…for the crowd.

Tommy kept having to increase the volume on the Irish music being that by now, the crowd, realizing there was free pints to be had, began to push and shove their way closer and closer to the reminiscing duo. There was shouting, cheering, jostling and beer spilling going on as pint after pint after pint was ordered and paid for by these two and I could tell that the crowd was so large that there were people OUTside trying just to get Inside.

As the first (now seemingly a little tipsy) hollered to the second that HE had come to America as a teen on a ship…and the second made it clear that HE had been but 17 when HE bought passage on an ocean liner to New York…and the mob anticipated another free round of drinks, that the phone in  Peggy Kinnane's Irish Pub began to ring. Tommy came down to the end of the bar, where I had already been knocked from my stool (because that’s where the phone was located) and picked it up. 

Tommy (Because of the noise) turned his back to the bar, pulled an old leather coat over his head (the cone of silence technique) and while holding the phone to his right ear, put his finger into his left ear, squinted his eyes (I have always found that eye squinting somehow assists the hearing in a loud situation) and shouted into the thing. 

“Sean…is that you?!?”

“Yeah…It’s Tommy”


“You need to speak up…I can barely hear you!!”

“A Fight??”

“A RIOT??”

“NO…Nothing like that!”

“Yeah, I’m fine…”


That’s when he said it…at least I THINK it’s what he said…it was so loud I can't be entirely certain. Tommy was leaning a little more towards me and I was leaning half over the bar on account of all the pushing by the inebriated patrons (trying to get yet another free round of pints)  but it sure did sound like…I mean...for all the WORLD it sounded like he said...


Or…Maybe I’m Nuts.

I’m Craig Andresen


  1. Very Good Story! You made me laugh. Happy St Paddy's Day to you and yours!

  2. Aye Lasse...Twas bein' serious I was. May ye find a pot o gold by day's end!