History

A Thriving Chicago Tradition

Celebrating 84 Years

Kelly’s Pub is the one of Chicago’s oldest family-owned pubs, operated by the Kelly family since prohibition was repealed in 1933. The Pub is an integral part of the Lincoln Park landscape, well known to thousands of DePaul University alumni, students and staff over the years. Our rich history has been mentioned in numerous books, newspapers, magazine articles and television shows. (Not to mention a famous movie.)

Highlights include:

1933
Prohibition is repealed and Frank and Loretta Kelly open Kelly’s Pub on Chicago’s near-north side at 949 W. Webster.

1937
 John P. Kelly, second child to Loretta and Frank and future owner of Kelly’s Pub, is born.

1942
Kelly’s Pub serves the military—literally—when DePaul Academy is utilized for military training.



1957
Frank Kelly passes away, and son John Kelly takes over the operation of the pub.

1962
John Kelly meets future wife Polly Potteiger at Kelly’s.

1963
John Kelly and Polly Potteiger marry.

1982 and 1983
Kelly’s is an unofficial stop in the Chicago Marathon.

1986
Kelly’s is featured in “About Last Night,” starring Demi Moore, Rob Lowe and Jim Belushi.

1988
John Kelly joins Maguire University. Kelly’s Pub becomes official north-side campus and future official headquarters.

1995
John and Polly Kelly and Kelly’s Pub are featured in the PBS documentary, “Remembering Chicago Again.”

2000
Kelly’s Pub is featured in articles in both Bon Appétit and National Geographic.

2003
Kelly’s Pub history is documented in Chicago Tribune’s ‘Ye Olde Pubs”.

2008
ABC Eyewitness News of Memphis, Tennessee and The Wall Street Journal report on Maguire University’s famous history and annual pilgrimage to the “Final Five.

2008
Kelly’s Pub celebrates 75 years with 1930’s themed party

2010
Channel 5 and 7 do feature stories about Maguire University’s trip to the final four.

Notes of interest, historical and otherwise:

Visit the placid deck featured in the 1986 movie “About Last Night” which starred famed brat-packers Demi Moore and Rob Lowe and Second City’s very own Jim Belushi.

Kelly’s Pub is a favorite stop during the Sheffield Garden Walk, the 3rd weekend of July. Polly Kelly is one of the founders.

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, always the weekend before March 17th, and always a great party. The celebration continues on March 17th.

Infamous bank robber John Dillinger had a few drinks at Kelly’s Pub, before his untimely demise at the Biograph Theater a couple of blocks away. (Rumor has it that Loretta Kelly, the Kelly family matriarch, once shared a party-line with the Lady in Red, Dillenger’s girlfriend who ultimately gave him up to the G-men!) Click www.chicagohistory.org Lincoln Park Block by Block.