A Thriving Chicago Tradition


Celebrating Over 90 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Kelly’s Pub is the one of Chicago’s oldest family-owned pubs, operated by the Kelly family since prohibition was repealed in 1933.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:

Prohibition is repealed and Frank and Loretta Kelly open Kelly’s Pub on Chicago’s near-north side at 949 W. Webster.

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

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

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

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

John Kelly and Polly Potteiger marry.

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

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



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



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



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



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



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.



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



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



John P. Kelly passes away after 62 years of running Kelly’s Pub.

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.