o the untrained eye, Poag Mahone’s comes across as a surprisingly authentic Irish pub where few but cheesy sports bars, over-priced lounges and old-school dive bars have feared to tread. Experienced night owls will recognize Poag Mahone’s for it’s true nature: part of the trader’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse that also includes nearby Cal’s Liquors, Cactus Bar & Grill and Alcock’s given their proximity to the Chicago Board of Trade. However, with its lauded burger, nicely appointed interior and a name that means “kiss my ass” in Gaelic (though spelled póg mo thóin), one can easily argue that Poag Mahone’s has them all beat (at least for insolence).
Since 2004, Poag Mahone’s has been located in the classic Insurance Exchange Building at the southeast corner of Wells and Jackson in the Loop. The main entrance is found midway along Wells between Jackson and Van Buren, through a sidewalk café that would be quite pleasant if it weren’t located right under the “L”. Step through the twin plate glass doors that bookend the entrance and you’ll find yourself smack dab amongst a series of wooden booths and low-slung tables. Past this area is the main barroom with another entrance from the lobby of the building housing the pub. Here, a 28-foot oak bar with backless barstools runs the length of the southern wall, across from a smattering of cocktail tables. Throughout Poag Mahone’s, you’ll also find historic Chicago touches, including a red-painted tin ceiling, flooring of brown ceramic tile accented in white and sepia photos of Chicago, as well as a bit of stained glass, pastoral scenes of Ireland and some humorous Irish quotes.