Best Irish Pubs in Greater Peoria

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, we’d be remiss not to highlight our charming Irish pub scene. Just like in the Emerald Isle, the Irish pubs in Greater Peoria are more than a place to grab a pint. These beloved establishments offer a deep sense of camaraderie and friendship, honoring the spirit of Ireland and the warmth of Midwestern hospitality.

Unlike small-town taverns where regulars give the side eye if they don’t recognize you, patrons of Irish pubs are known for widening the circle to welcome all into the conversation. Irish culture has long been woven into the fabric of Greater Peoria’s social scene, celebrated through an array of authentic pubs — each providing a great deal of craic and its own unique atmosphere.

You might’ve noticed that word in green. It’s Irish jargon for “fun or entertainment.” We sprinkled some Irish slang throughout this article to help you impress your peers on St. Paddy’s Day. Reference the glossary at the end and see how to use each word in a sentence. Without further ado, here are the best Irish pubs in Greater Peoria.

Kelleher’s Irish Pub & Eatery

Location: Downtown Peoria

Kelleher’s is a one-of-a-kind Irish pub in the historic Warehouse District. Between the atmosphere, food and echoes of friendly banter, you might think you’re in the heart of Galway. They also throw the biggest St. Patrick’s Day party around — starting with a hearty breakfast at 9:30 a.m.

You Gotta Try: The Guinness Beef is lethal. Out-of-this-world delicious. It’ll have you leaving a 5-star Google review while you’re still chewing.

Donnelly’s Irish Pub

Location: Peoria

Since 1970, Donnelly’s has been serving up first-class hospitality, drinks and food to Central Illinois. If you’re looking for an authentic Irish experience, it’s a perfect spot to belly up with your muckers and wet your whistle. Be sure to come with an appetite because their menu is loaded.

You Gotta Try: They have a clatter of food options that’ll make your mouth water. Many claim Donnelly’s has the best wings in town. But if you opt for the Shamrock burger or Waterford chicken sandwich, you’ll leave with zero regrets.

Jimmy’s Bar

Location: West Peoria

If Norm Peterson lived in Peoria instead of Boston, he would’ve gone to Jimmy’s instead of Cheers. With welcoming vibes and a friendly staff that knows your name, Jimmy’s has been a local staple since 1982 — the same year Cheers premiered on NBC. Every day feels like St. Patrick’s Day at this legendary watering hole. No wonder it’s always jammers.

You Gotta Try: Since this is a blog about Irish pubs and fare, we’ll recommend the Irish sausage. But if you want to win over your table, have them fire up a Butch’s Premium Pizza, a 5-star frozen pizza founded from humble beginnings in P-town (also in 1982), now located in Morton.

Carrigan’s Pub

Location: East Peoria

If the walls at this pub could talk, they’d tell stories of the good times patrons have within them. Carrigan’s is a terrific Irish sports pub known for their excellent service, food and warm hospitality. Plus, they have a pool table, just in case you’re the competitive type.

You Gotta Try: Do yourself a favor and order their famous (and humongous) tenderloin sandwich, made with a homemade batter that’ll have you savoring each bite.

Kenny’s Westside Pub

Location: Downtown Peoria

Kenny’s Westside was born on St. Patrick’s Day 2013. And for the last 11 years, this Irish-inspired hangout has been serving up some of the best food, live music and craic in the entire region. Whether you’re a regular or just passing through for a swift one, Kenny’s never disappoints.

You Gotta Try: From the Irish nachos to Sean’s Dublin dip sandwich, the pub grub here will tantalize your taste buds. The best part? The kitchen’s open until 4:00 a.m.

W.E. Sullivan’s Irish Pub and Fare

Location: Peoria Heights

W.E. Sullivan’s is “a place where family and friends come together under a roof of dreams coming true.” Under that roof are some of the best recipes you won’t find anywhere else. From timeless Irish classics to new twists on traditional plates, their culinary team knows what they’re doing in the kitchen.

You Gotta Try: Whether you go with the shepherd’s pie or the bangers and mash, it’s promised to be some quare Irish fare. Don’t sleep on the Blarney burger, though.

Ulrich’s Rebellion Room

Location: Downtown Peoria

Locals and visitors alike rave about the cozy atmosphere, friendly service and delicious made-right-there fare at Ulrich’s. It’s a place where you may go to meet old friends, but you make new ones while you’re there. It’s everything you want in an Irish pub. From perfectly poured pints of black stuff to mouthwatering food, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

You Gotta Try: Ulrich’s bacon cheeseburger is off the charts, one of the best in town.

There you have it, the best Irish pubs in Greater Peoria. Fair play to all these fine establishments for bringing rich Irish culture, camaraderie and craic to our community. Don’t forget to check out the glossary below for some fun Irish vernacular. You’re on your own with the accent, though. Sláinte!

Images sourced from PJStar and social media of businesses listed.

☘️ Irish Slang Glossary ☘️

Black stuff
Definition: Guinness beer
Example: “I’m in the mood for a pint of black stuff. Meet me at Donnelly’s in an hour.”

Definition: A lot or large amount
Example: “I’m ravenous, you guys. I’m going to order a clatter of food at Ulrich’s.”

Definition: Fun or entertainment
Example: “You ever been to W.E. Sullivan’s in the Heights? It’s always great craic there.”

Fair play
Definition: Acknowledgment or approval of someone’s actions or achievement; Well done
Example: “For real? Peoria is a 4-time winner of the All-American City Award? Fair play to ‘em!”

Definition: Extremely crowded or full
Example: “You were at Kelleher’s last night?! I didn’t see you because it was so jammers.”

Definition: Excellent or amazing
Example: “The Irish nachos from Kenny’s Westside are lethal. I get them every time I go.”

Definition: A friend or companion
Example: “He’s been my mucker since college. We met at Jimmy’s Bar.”

Definition: Very or great
Example: “Want to golf today? It’s quare weather!”

Sláinte (pronounced “slawn-che”)
Definition: Cheers or good health
Example: “Let’s raise our glasses and toast to everyone in Greater Peoria — sláinte!”

Swift one
Definition: A quick drink
Example: “Who wants to swing by Carrigan’s for a swift one?”