While other Irish bars like fado, the Irish Oak, and even the Hidden Shamrock are more widely known, the Galway Bay Irish Pub rivals all of them. Galway Bay is one of those rare Irish pubs: one that actually feels Irish. This pub reminds me of one I visited while in Waterford, Ireland (where the famous crystal is made). It has a friendly atmosphere that attracts those from the Emerald Isle, as well as locals that are after a mean pint of Guinness.

On the outside, Galway Bay looks as much like an Irish pub as my little finger. Just allow the glowing Kelly green neon sign lure you down the stairs and into this little bit of old Eire. Architectural enthusiasts will note that the Galway is located in the historic landmark, The Brewster apartment building. Chicago drinking enthusiasts may know Galway Bay from its previous incarnation as Casey’s about which, the Official Chicago Bar Guide (1994) commented, “the charm begins one floor above.”

When you walk in, you will find a spacious bar with low ceilings, roughly hewn stone walls, and much to explore. The main bar is rather small but efficient, off to your left. Around the corner is an elevated seating area that looks more like a library or den with its several book cases and comfortable chairs. Peruse their collection, which includes such classics as The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck and Turn of the Screw by Henry James, and have a read if it suits you. If that doesn’t float your boat, check out the many paintings of sailing vessels, including a lamp made out of a model ship. Otherwise, have a go on one of their board games over in the enclosed area with large tan leather sofas. They are quite comfortable, but watch out for the groutless-tile floor. It’s a bit treacherous after a few Guinnei. Other items to take note of include a piano, several chests scattered throughout, a grandfather clock with books in it, and a Dick Turpin Inn sign that looks stolen from the old country. Additionally, dog walkers are welcome to bring in their pooch and have a pint.

For the competitive sort, the Galway sports a pool table and regulation dart board. For added advantage, here’s a tip: the pool table leans southward. That’s not enough for you? Well, try your luck on the video poker machine mounted on the tiny back bar. Feel a bit peckish? The Galway doesn’t serve food, but they’ve got plenty of popcorn to rival Yak-zies next door, and you can bring in your own food if you wish.

And what would an Irish pub be without entertainment? There is a trivia quiz on Tuesdays, karaoke on Wednesdays, and the Galway Ramblers play on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m.

Galway Bay not only has an authentic Irish pub feel to it, but simply is a fun place to hang out.