Five Roses Pub opened in April as the first spot in the Park at Rosemont, a new dining and entertainment area centered on the Muvico movie theater. Named in honor of the late Donald E. Stephens’ five decades as mayor, the spot strives to be a gathering place where the community can enjoy the warmth of the Emerald Isle.
Motif: The space has an Old World feel, with thick red curtains, plush chairs and dark wood tables for both couples and large groups. Walls are lined with black-and-white photos of Ireland and Guinness ads. The low illumination comes from hanging bare bulbs and electric chandeliers. There are plenty of flat-screen TVs tuned to sports positioned around the bar, with a projector set above the stage in back. To keep the decor authentic, all of the ironwork and wood was made in Belfast.
Crowd: The bar has been drawing plenty of locals looking for dinner before catching a movie, with a younger crowd, including local hotel and restaurant workers, packing the pub late at night. Five Roses shows soccer games during brunch, which draws in many international travelers.
Service: Our server was very friendly, telling us the restaurant’s most popular items along with her personal favorites. When she didn’t know what a beer we were interested in was like, she stopped by the bar and brought us a sample.
Food: It’s not surprising that fish and chips is one of the Irish pub’s most popular items, but the popularity of their skillet-roasted mussels is a testament to their delicious taste. The appetizer could easily fill in as an entree, with a massive platter of the shellfish simply cooked with olive oil and salt to give them a smoky flavor. The Irish stew was also excellent, filled with chunks of lamb, carrots, potatoes and celery, cut small so you can get all the flavors in a spoonful. The potpie was the only disappointment. The top wasn’t browned enough, and the filling was too watery.
Five Roses has been experimenting with different food and drink specials and one that’s proven popular is the $1 oyster deal served Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m. until they run out.
Liquid consumption: Five Roses has a solid draft list, featuring Bell’s Two Hearted and Goose Island’s Honkers Ale and Green Line. But most people come to drink Irish, and Guinness outsells the rest of their beers combined.
Music: The bar hosts full bands Friday and Saturday night, Irish acoustic music Thursday and Irish jam sessions during Sunday brunch. When we were there Friday night, a band featuring a guitarist, bassist and cellist were playing a lively mix that included Mumford and Sons and Violent Femmes to the cheers of an enthusiastic crowd.
Parking: The pub has a free lot, though construction at the Park at Rosemont can make it difficult to get in and out.
Overall: For the full Irish experience, come to Five Roses for the food and stick around for drinks and music.