By Kristin Boza
Cork and Kerry, 10614 S. Western, pours the perfect pint for St. Patrick’s Day, South Side Irish Parade Day — and basically any other day of the year. The bar is always included in “Best Of…” lists, including “The 21 Best Irish Pubs in America,” and “Best Beer Gardens in Chicago.”
Mike Fitzpatrick and Bill Guide, co-owners of Cork and Kerry, met at Mount Carmel High School where they played baseball. “We’re lifelong friends and now have a great business partnership,” said Fitzpatrick. “We both always wanted to work for ourselves and work with each other. Bill’s family is in the bar business for over 30 years, so Bill was familiar with the business. It was something that he and I could do together.”
The beer garden is one feature that consistently draws crowds, both regular customers and newcomers. “What else can you say about it? We’ve got one of the best, if not the best, beer gardens in the city of Chicago,” Fitzpatrick said.
But a great space to enjoy a cold one isn’t the only reason people keep coming back.
“Bill and I are very big on customer service and care a lot about how our customers are treated,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think every one of our employees are friends outside of work, and it shows when they are working. They enjoy coming into work and they enjoy waiting on our customers, especially our regulars. Some customers even get a phone call if they haven’t stopped by in a few days!”
Between the beer garden and excellent waitstaff, Fitzpatrick loves the atmosphere at Cork and Kerry. “We give you a little taste of the Beverly neighborhood! We enjoy serving those who don’t live in the neighborhood who came to celebrate their Irish heritage, or just to be around people from the South Side who enjoy St. Patrick’s Day and the parade as much as we do.”
An important addition to the bar is the party room, which opened up in 2004. “At the time, there wasn’t anything like that in the neighborhood,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think we’re the king of first birthday parties on Western Avenue. It gives people in the neighborhood an option to not have to host in their home. I also think our employees enjoy having the kids around too.”
The party room is available any day of the week. Patrons can bring in their own food, or Cork and Kerry staff can organize a feast brought down from their Bridgeport location, Cork at the Park.
Fitzpatrick is a lifelong Beverly / Morgan Park resident who is very proud of his community and business at the heart of it. “There’s just something about this neighborhood; I love everything about it,” he said.