An institution in the far South Side Irish neighborhood of Beverly since 1988 by Scott & Chad Weiler, Cork & Kerry is named after two southwest counties in Ireland. Built in 1930 during Prohibition, there is a “silent pig” underneath the leafy and spacious beer garden where barrels fueling the speakeasy inside were hidden during federal raids. Cork & Kerry was almost destroyed in a 1999 blaze, but re-opened in 2003 by Mount Carmel-ites, Mike Fitzgerald and Bill Guide after 11 months of rebuilding the bar. For the holidays, the pub strings up over 7,000 lights and several animatronic displays, ala Butch McGuire’s. Cork & Kerry was a top spot during the annual South Side Irish Parade (canceled after 2008), though they locked you in for an hour afterwards while local prisoners swept up post-parade detritus. Cork & Kerry is a also favorite on the “Western Walk” (sometimes called the Irish Death March)—a rite of passage requiring a beer at every bar on the west side of Western (the east side is dry), between Sean’s Rhino Bar at 103rd and ending at McNally’s at 115th, though purists push it to Chandler’s Lounge at 118th. Cork & Kerry was also filmed in the movie, Chicago Overcoat (2009) about the Chicago Outfit organized crime syndicate (not to be confused with the Chicago roller derby team of the same name). For more information, check out the Cork & Kerry website.
“The Cork might have been ‘ala’ Butch McGuire’s during the Christmas season being that our family worked for Butch for many years. My father started in 1962, a year after Butch opened his saloon and I began my young career at the age of 13 working for Butch, which lasted eight years. The Cork was mentioned as one of the best places to visit during the Christmas season by USA Today… Butch taught us well.”– Chad Weiler, original owner of Cork & Kerry
(December 22, 2010)