Irish Times celebrates 20 years in ‘County Brookfield’

Monday, November 14th, 2011

It was 20 years ago when Martin Cosgrove took a closed-down pizza parlor in Brookfield and turned it into a destination pub that pays tribute to The Old Sod.

Irish Times Pub & Restaurant, 8869 Burlington Ave., will celebrate its life of the partier this weekend with live Irish music and dancers, along with pints of Guinness, Harp and Smithwick’s at 1991 prices all week long.

Martin Lynch, nephew to the founder and a native of Athenry County, Ireland, purchased the property and business in 2008. The quintessential pub owner, he lives in an apartment above the corner pub.

Lynch has taken strides to make Irish Times even more authentic than when his uncle owned the business. Both he and his uncle never wanted to create a Disney-version of an Irish pub, but rather something authentic to what can be found in the Emerald Isles.

Aside from decorative fixtures and furnishings from Ireland, Lynch has a wide variety of Irish whiskeys, ales and beers behind the bar. Many of the Irish Times staff have the immediately recognizable accent.

Lynch first came to the U.S. in 1998 and bussed tables at his uncle Martin Cosgrove’s pub in Brookfield. It was school time for the future pub owner.

“He taught me everything,” Lynch said of his uncle. “I bartended here, did everything here, every summer on my holidays from college. I loved it. That’s why I wanted to come back. I was an engineer by trade. I worked in it for three years and was very unhappy with that work.

“I knew I was much happier being around people,” he added. “It all worked out pretty well.”

At Irish Times, green means more than the color associated with the land of Lynch’s birth.

“We’re trying to be a truly green pub,” he said. “We’ve got a big recycling program. We’re trying to get as much local produce as possible. We serve a lot of local beers from local breweries, craft breweries. We’ve made a big effort without electricity usage and gas usage, trying to be more efficient. We’ve got new equipment. We even went from single-phase to three-phase electricity, which makes a lot of sense.”

In June, Lynch purchased the vacant Cock Robin restaurant and originally planned to reopen it, but the building was condemned. Instead, Lynch is having the building “knocked” to make way for some much-needed parking.

Changes have been made in the kitchen, as well.

The menu’s Irish offerings are from family recipes that go way back, such as Shepherd’s Pie and the fish and chips, popular in Lynch’s seaside hometown.

Lynch said he’s accomplished what he set out to do.

“We are a true Irish pub. You feel at home here,” he said. “It goes back to the public house like at home. People would get in their car from Park Ridge or Oak Park and come here for dinner. I would say 50 percent of the people who come here have actually traveled here.”

Source: Joe Sinopoli,

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