North Shore residents looking for an authentic Irish pub experience — on St. Patrick’s Day or any other day of the year for that matter — need look no further than The Celtic Knot Public House in Evanston.
This is no Irish-pub-in-a-box but the real deal run by husband and wife team Liz and Patrick Breslin. Boasting a dark wood decor, the pub has a cozy, warm atmosphere, just right to enjoy an assortment of European beers on tap, including Guinness, Smithwick’s and Kilkenny.
Patrick Breslin, originally from County Down, first opened the restaurant more than 12 yeas ago with partners and eventually took over full ownership with his wife in the past four years. “You can’t have a city or a town without a good Irish pub,” he told DailyNorthShore.
Breslin grew up in a small town where the pub was the center of the community. He went to the pub regularly with his family where anything that happened in the village occurred. Breslin’s goal was to recreate that same atmosphere at The Celtic Knot.
The pub has no televisions. Breslin noted that in Ireland a pub is where people go to socialize and engage with one another.
“There is always conversation or people are breaking into song,” he said. “It is a place you are naturally entertained by the company of other people,” he said.
All of the people hired at The Celtic Knot really want to work at the pub.
“We hire genuine people,” he remarked.
And of course there is the traditional Irish fare. Fish and chips is a best seller and corned beef and cabbage — interestingly an Irish American tradition — is also very popular. The pub serves bangers and mash, using traditional Irish sausages. On Sundays the pub serves up an authentic Irish breakfast that is sure to set you back: eggs, Irish sausages, tomatoes, Irish bacon, black and white pudding, mushrooms, baked beans and toast. “It’s a great way to start the day,” Breslin noted. On Wednesdays and Saturdays the pub serves up an afternoon tea with bottomless cups of Barry’s Irish tea, finger sandwiches, scones and tarts. “It’s good to take a break for an afternoon tea,” he said.
While the Breslins encourage lively conversation and engagement, they also offer plenty of entertainment of the Irish variety. There is live music four nights a week, which includes blue grass and traditional Irish music.
And what would be an Irish pub without a St. Patrick’s Day celebration? At The Celtic Knot they celebrate for an entire week, March 11-17. Breslin described the celebration as a hooley, essentially an Irish celebration that includes music, dancing, conversation, drinks and food. “In the Midwest I think St. Patrick’s Day is more of a celebration of the end of winter and the beginning of spring,” he remarked.
The Celtic Knot Public House is located at 626 Church Street, Evanston. For more information go to www.celticknotpub.com.