Bonfire Night Chicago Style

Remember, remember the fifth of November | gunpowder, treason, and plot | I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot

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A distinctly English holiday, Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night, is a night to warm up by a fire, watch some fireworks, and remember that time someone tried to overthrow government and failed. I had the pleasure of being in London for Bonfire Night one year. We didn’t actually manage to find any fireworks or fire (the night did not go as planned) but was enjoyable all the same.

It’s this time of year that I find myself most missing the UK. It wasn’t long that I lived there but it was enough to make me want to call it home and seriously miss mulled wine, markets, and simply English living. Getting back there isn’t even remotely an option [yet] but I still try to do what I can to recreate those experiences to calm the wanderlust.

Cue the Red Lion Pub in Lincoln Park. I’ve been having a painfully hard time finding a pub that is at least a little bit close to the pubs in England. From their website, this place promised to be incredibly close. Their menu was [almost] spot on (what is it with Americans and their love affair with tartar sauce? Keep it away from your fish and chips. Seriously). And they had more English beer than I have seen in a single location! Color me excited.

Kentish Ale makes this anglophile very happy

Kentish Ale makes this anglophile very happy

The perfect excuse presented itself: Bonfire Night. Why not go have some drinks at an English pub and call it a day? We certainly don’t have a back yard for having a bonfire and nowhere in Chicago is going to be doing fireworks for the occasion. So keep it low key with some drinks and call it a night.

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The atmosphere was relatively close. Scarcely a TV in sight, plenty of places for sitting, plenty of friendly chatter at the bar. Nearly everything I’d want! I still really dislike table service at a pub- let me go order my food at the bar in my own time and tell you where I’m sitting. I would rate it an 8/10 in my quest for the perfect English pub in Chicago. I still don’t think a perfect 10 exists and, thus, this place works in the meantime.

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A little single malt scotch to top the evening off

A little single malt scotch to top the evening off


In my researching, I did manage to find another pub also in Chicago and also called the Red Lion, this one located in Lincoln Square. Anyone who serves their fish and chips with coleslaw automatically gets a suspicious side eye from me but I may try the place out all the same.