Earning reputation as a ‘community gathering place’
By Tim Hadac
Southwest Chicago Post
In its bid to become the Midway area’s go-to spot for good times in 2024 and beyond, Twisted Shamrock Pub appears to have a leg up on everyone else.
|Jon and Zen McHugh at the bar.
Under a new ownership and management mix, the pub at the northwest corner of 65th and Central has been turning heads since late fall. It staged a string of successful events that among other things allowed it to showcase the upgrades made to better serve the area.
“My goal is for this to be a community gathering space—not just a tavern, not just a sports bar, not just a neighborhood bar,” said co-owner Zenon McHugh. He hopes to use Twisted Shamrock Pub to build a better sense of community, “to get people out of their homes and have good times, face to face.”
To that end, Twisted Shamrock Pub continues to fill its calendars with pro and college sports “watch” parties (it serves as an unofficial South Side home for University of Michigan fans and will host a Super Bowl watch party next month), trivia and board game nights, holiday-themed parties and more.
|A night of fun at Twisted Shamrock Pub.
Additionally, Twisted Shamrock Pub has scheduled four comedy shows in 2024. First up is March 9. Details will be announced in the weeks ahead. McHugh describes comedy shows as a “passion project” for him and his team.
Another key attraction at Twisted Shamrock Pub is its schedule of Twisted Live Fridays, starting Jan. 19. McHugh and his team have booked acoustic solo and duo acts every Friday until June 28. A food truck will be at each Live Friday event.
McHugh has refurbished quite a bit to make the interior bright and inviting. He describes it as a place “where good times and Irish charm meet” and its visual appeal is consistent with that billing.
In terms of its target market, Twisted Shamrock is aiming at the solid center of the community. It definitely isn’t a shot-and-a-beer joint, yet it’s not a high-end place that puts on airs. It’s a comfortable pub serving an interesting and eclectic line-up of craft beers, as well as wine, champagne and mixed drinks that are consistent and enjoyable.
It also aims to attract a consistent share of visitors to Chicago—especially those who attend various functions at the booming Wintrust Sports Complex across the street in Bedford Park.
From the community, for the community
A Garfield Ridge native who still lives in the community, McHugh is a 2000 graduate of Hale School and a 2004 alumnus of St. Laurence High School. He went on to DePaul University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and the University of Illinois, where he earned a master’s degree in taxation.
While still a teen, McHugh began learning the ropes of the business world—meaning that while he is just 38 years old, he has some 20 years of B2B work under his belt. Since 2017 he has owned Chicago EA, the Garfield Ridge-based business he founded. The firm is known for delivering smart advice on taxation, as well as accounting and consulting services to its clients.
McHugh also serves as first vice president of the Midway Chamber of Commerce, working to help the area’s business community thrive.
McHugh’s family is no stranger to the hospitality business. Two of his grandmothers owned bars many years ago, one in Bridgeport. And one of his uncles, Jon, has worked as a bar back, bartender and general manager for more than 20 years. In fact, Jon McHugh is a familiar face at and a partner in Twisted Shamrock Pub.
Twisted Shamrock’s Pub’s hours of operation are 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays, and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sundays. Times are subject to change based on special events. Follow Twisted Shamrock Pub on Facebook or Instagram to stay up to date as the good times roll at 65th and Central.
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