Those loyal customers who used to frequent Emmit’s Irish Pub in River West will now find a completely different space at 495 N. Milwaukee Ave where one of the best-known Irish bars in the country once resided.
After 26 years in River West, the beloved pub which was renowned for its St Patrick’s Day parties and high-profile movie appearances closed last year with owners Kevin Doherty and Ron Halvorsen citing a desire to leave the hospitality industry for personal reasons.
The down-to-earth, familiar feel of the old sports tavern has now been replaced with an elegant new bar that blends “the old-world elegance of the London cocktail scene with the modern sophistication of cocktail lounges in Chicago & NYC”.
The flags, jerseys, and Irish decor that covered walls and gave Emmit’s Irish Pub its iconic image have been replaced with floor-to-ceiling velvet drapes and gold trimmings. Below the drapes swanky dark velvet chairs and a long velvet bench are now situated where the booths once lined the right wall.
Old photos and news clippings have been taken down and golden mirrors, touches of floral wallpaper, and pictures channeling London’s sophisticated cocktail scene have gone up in their place.
The only elements still standing of the Irish pub, besides the layout, in fact, are the original wooden details of the interior bar that served as a stage for the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band for so many years. Though even this iconic, handmade wooden bar built by previous owner Ron Halvorsen has now been topped with black marble to integrate with the elegance of the surrounding features.
The extensive interior transformation was carried out by Kehoe Designs who have been behind plenty of stunning Chicago interior marvels such as the prismatic new Carnivale Restaurant and the verdant Alla Vita restaurant in West Loop.
Spearheaded by the co-founder of Boka Restaurant Group, Rob Katz, and business partner Matt Ruder, The Pearl Club offers guests “unique riffs” on classic cocktails courtesy of bartender Paolo Acuña of Lazy Bird and an exciting small menu from executive chef Isaac Blinn.
The Pearl Club officially opened on Saturday, April 15, 2023, and is now open Tuesday through Sunday from 4:30 pm until midnight or later.
At the time of writing the website was not offering any information on the drinks or the food available at the Pearl Club but we will be back with more as it becomes available.
You can stay tuned at pearlclubchicago.com or follow them on Instagram at @thepearlclubchicago.
[Featured image courtesy of The Pearl Club]