495 Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL — 60654
Book your next party with us at Emmit's. Treat your guests to Irish fare and drink on our balcony overlooking the main bar.
While there is beer and whiskey a plenty, don’t miss out on the hearty, traditional food at Emmit’s. Whether it’s the Shepherd’s pie paired with our expertly-poured Guinness or a glass of whiskey with our delicious Reuben, you’ll leave Emmit’s happy with both food and drink.
While its existence was relatively brief in the 1980's in Chicago's long bar history, O'Sullivan's Tavern, which presently is Emmit's Irish Pub, left a legacy of good times and wild times, including two shooting deaths of would-be robbers and the City Hall intervention to stop dwarf tossing at the bar.
The first floor of Emmit's Irish Pub became a bank during the Prohibition and reportedly housed the cash of many Chicago gangsters.
"I've heard the gangsters kept cash in a safe deposit box so they wouldn't leave a cash trail," said former owner Mike Johnson. Also, during the period when the building was a bank, tunnels were dug from the building to various other buildings in the neighborhood. Johnson said one could go from the bank all the way to Field Museum several miles southeast of the building; making the tunnels a possible hideaway or route for 1920s gangsters on the run.
When Prohibition ended in the 1930s the site became a tavern. However, as the years went on, the neighborhood, once a flourishing Italian community declined, and in 1981, three partners purchased O'Sullivans.
Over the next couple of years, O'Sullivans became a place for cops to hang out, and became a very safe place to go. However, in 1985, two armed robbers, unaware that O'Sullivan's was filled with Chicago's finest, attempted to rob the place.
"Two guys with shotguns, one in the front door and the other in the side door, told everyone in the bar not to move," Johnson said. "Well, everybody in the bar was a cop and the two guys were promptly shot to death, they obviously didn't do their homework you don't go around robbing cop bars."
O'Sullivans was also known by various Chicago barflies for dwarf tossing. This was a popular sport in Australia, but the mayor's office put a stop to the event before it could happen. The tossing consisted of wrapping a strap with a handle around a "professional" dwarf, swinging him around a few times, then tossing the little fellow.
In addition to the craziness, Emmit's seems to be a popular spot to shoot bar scenes for movies and television. Some films include Uncle Buck, Only the Lonely, Blink, Backdraft, two episodes of the Untouchables, Oceans Eleven, Oceans Twelve, U.S. Marshals and just recently Eagle Eye and Overcoat. Some TV shows include the CBS weekly drama Turks, Early Edition, and a new TV series Beast and a few Playboy shoots as well.
Today the old tavern has taken on a new life, yet still with the same spirit. Kevin Doherty and Ron Halvorsen (both firemen) re-opened the bar in July of 1996. With hard work, both renovating and becoming established, these gentlemen have brought back the nostalgia, creating a new Irish Pub with great spirit, great food and more wild times to come.