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© The Chicago Bar Project   Written by Sean Parnell

Finley Dunne's Tavern
3458 N. Lincoln Ave. (3400N, 1700W)
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 477-7311

Since 1997 Finley Dunne's has served as Roscoe Village's own Wrightwood Tap. "The Dunne's" offers decent pub grub, two big screen TVs, a satellite feed, several large spool-like tables, an ATM, plenty of wood paneling and exposed brick, and requisite Golden Tee machine. The old-fashioned wooden telephone and the bar itself were resurrected from the Amazing Grace Tavern, formerly located at Grace and Paulina. Perhaps due in part to being across the street from the Paulina Meat Market, Finley's attracts its fair share of post-Lincoln Park pretty boys and girls but still retains the friendly atmosphere so common in Roscoe Village.

Finley's serves up over 40 different beers, including Tetley's on tap. I am not sure if my palate was accurate or if it was the power of suggestion, but I would describe Tetley's as tasting like creamy beer tea and oddly satisfying. Along with Take Five, Finley's is one of the few places on Earth where you can still purchase Orange Whips (of John Candy–Blues Brothers infamy). The limited pub grub consists mostly of standard fare, with a notable standout called the "Ryan Burger." This secret to this meaty concoction is the garlic, along with a basket of fries and side of ranch dressing. Additional attractions include shuffle-puck bowling, free popcorn, tin ceiling, several large mirrored beer signs, and a Schlitz clock. Tall people will need to exercise caution as the low-hanging ductwork running through the center of the bar could cause a nasty bump on the noggin. Finley's sponsors softball and volleyball teams, hosts the annual Toys for Tots and West Side Sleigh Ride functions at Christmas, and even organizes an occasional outing. Teams supported by Finley's include an unlikely combination of University of Dayton, Indiana University, Boston College, the Blackhawks, and the Green Bay Packers.

The crowd at Finley Dunne's is very similar to the one you would find at Kincade's, McGee's, or Kelsey's: they're just slightly older on average, and live somewhat further north. Patrons are primarily in their twenties and thirties, rowdily cheer their teams, scope out each other thoroughly, and get fairly bombed. I once saw a girl fall backwards, ass over tit and taking her barstool with her at 7:00 p.m. one Saturday evening. Hmmm...

A curious note regarding the bartenders: for a fortunately brief period of time during a recent season of March Madness, Queen Latifah's talk show was seen on every TV in the bar. These same bartenders were strangely passive in ringing the brass bell following receipt of tips. Bartenders at Jake's Pub would surely scoff at this paltry display. And each time a Captain and Coke was served up for a friend, a different glass was produced ranging from a pint glass to a plastic cup (which appeared smaller than the pint but actually held more), to a pilsner glass, and then a small cocktail glass. Let it be known that this same friend accomplished something that not even yours truly can claim: he actually ate two full meals, both lunch and dinner, here at Finley's in the same day and was working his way up to a third before submitting to the siren's song of Burrito House across the street around 11:00pm... Additionally, when a waitress was asked for a pen later on, "Go ask them guys (gesturing to the bartenders)," was the response. Curious indeed.

These service abnormalities were quickly forgotten upon the Bud Light "Bubble Boy" hockey tournament sponsored by the bar. I had not played this unusual brand of hockey since I was a child at the YMCA. My partner and I proceeded to dominate what can only loosely be called "competition." As part of our quick road to victory, we were awarded a Bud Light t-shirt and hat. The appearance of "Bubble Boy" hockey inevitably led to talk of air hockey causing my friend to lose control and state, irretractably, "I'd like to get naked and just sit on one." Disturbing imagery.

"The Dunne's," as it is affectionately known, was named after Finley Peter Dunne. Dunne was was the first person baptized at old St. Pat's church (current host of the World's Largest Block Party) and became a Mike Royko-like columnist for the Chicago Evening Post in the 1890's. Dunne created the long-running character Mr. Dooley, an Irish saloon keeper whom would expound on social issues written in an Irish brogue. Mr. Dooley is the literal ancestor to Mike Royko's character, Slats Grobnik.

Does Finley's remind you of another bar? Look closely. Observant pub-going enthusiasts may recall where they have seen the light yellow, glaze-varnished wood of the tables and bar, exposed brick walls, and use of the word "tang" on the menus... Give up? Finley's used to be the Yak-zies Fish Shack & Grill up until 1996. They even still serve the Chicken Tang Sandwich, which can be found at either Yak-zies location.

"Post-Lincoln Parkers descend upon 'The Dunne's' from their new condos in the Pencil Factory or elsewhere in Roscoe Village. A sports theme dominates with support for Boston College, Dayton and other miscellaneous colleges. Golden Tee has succumbed to Silver lanes for entertainment, and decent pub-grub provides sustenance. The first baptized at Old St. Pat's, Finley Peter Dunne, would be proud."

– yours truly as featured in Time Out Chicago

Finley's is a great place to grab some grub, see a game, and maybe even pick up. And don't forget: euchre tournaments every Monday. But be careful, Finley's is located between the Augusta Medical Center and the Augusta Dental Center. Perhaps the availability of Orange Whips, beer, popcorn, and fried food was meant to create an ongoing revenue stream for the Augusta medical empire. Hmmm... Check out the Finley Dunne's website for further information, including updates on Indiana University, Boston College and University of Dayton alumni events. See you there, Ace.

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