The Publican

4.7
5949 reviews
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$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
American
From the team behind Blackbird and avec comes this homage to beer, pork, and fish. Executive Chef Paul Kahan and Chef de Cuisine Dennis Bernard have developed a network of purveyors to supply the restaurant with hand-selected, sustainably-harvested fish and seafood as well as sustainably-raised heirloom pork to anchor a rustic menu of simple, eclectic fare. The extensive international beer list, developed by partners Eduard Seitan and Terry Alexander and now Beer Director Adam Vavrick, features 100 or so ales, lagers, stouts and ciders by the bottle, 12 of those available on tap. Like Blackbird and avec, The Publican is a design partnership from the James Beard Award-winning team of Thomas Schlesser and partner Donnie Madia.

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
8.6

The Publican is a Medieval styled mecca of all things beer, pork, and oysters. If that's not appealing, you can't sit with us.

Ratings 8.5-9.0:Now we’re in the range of absolutely excellent restaurants that you might go to more than once a year/lifetime. These restaurants tend to define a city, and make up the places that you absolutely cannot miss if you want to have any credibility as a restaurant-informed person in a major metropolis.
What 5949 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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j
Chicago
85 reviews
Dined 9 hours ago
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 1

lively restaurant; appreciated getting a 'quieter table,' being able to linger for a long time over the meal. The water/coffee wait staff was very pleasant and attentive. The waitress had an unpleasant attitude - clearly unhappy either with us or to be there. Why??
Bacon side dish was eagerly anticipated but was $8 of fat -- so disappointing!!! Good coffee, good orange cranberry roll, good omelette.
Would appreciate hearing back from management on the experience and other recommendations.

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OT
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined 11 hours ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service team as always. I had a sumac aperol cocktail that was very refreshing and perfect for brunch. We enjoyed the fried chicken and grits, the corned beef gruyere toast (was a favorite,) the johnnycake, and poached capicola eggs Benedict. The thick maple bacon is a must have appetizer.

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RS
Denver
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was great. Service was great. Music was TOO loud for conversation. We ate at three comparable restaurants during our annual stay in Chicago and this meal was very nice. It was memorable. The food was creative and well prepared. The service was well timed and the staff was very helpful with portion size guidance and pacing. We would definitely visit again!

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TR
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, drinks, atmosphere. Will definitely return when back in Chicago!

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OT
Indiana
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 4

The food was fantastic! However, our waitress forgot one of our entrees and didn’t realize it for over an hour.

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EA
Chicago
65 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The Publican is in our neighborhood, and we’re glad we tried it. Food is well-prepared, adventurous, and portions are made to be shared. The high noise level will make this restaurant less appealing to us in the future, but we won’t rule it out. Clearly geared for younger patrons than 60-somethings.

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OT
Chicago
13 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

The food and service was excellent. The noise level made having a conversation with anyone that was not right next to you near impossible.

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MR
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2food 1service 1ambience 3

Seems like the once great establishment is just coasting

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EJ
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

we made a reservation and they got us seated almost immediately upon arrival. The service was outstanding. And the food was such as great! We loved eating here. If felt like we went back in time!

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N
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Publican is an amazing restaurant. I had the best corn beef ever! The wait staff is superior. I appreciate their attention to allergies.

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A
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food is always yummy and I get some of the best oysters at The Publican.

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MM
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Quite simply, one of the best meals we've had in a long time. Completely worth the hype.

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P
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I had the best experience! Food was amazing and service was incredible. The guy in charge of the beer even approached us and recommended an awesome beer. The waitress was fantastic, she even got us to try a delicious dessert on her. She was so kind and cheerful and gave us the best recommendations on dinner. Will obviously be back!

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S
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Food was expensive and I left hungry. I would think for 150 dollars I wouldn't want a burger and fries after!

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HS
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love The Publican. It's our favorite go-to. The food is always inventive and fresh, the drinks beautifully curated, the staff friendly and real, and the soundscape a happy buzz. We'll be back again and again.

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DR
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 1

Loud, squeezed in, and small portions for the expense.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

It was a bit load in the beginning. Brunch was yummy.

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OT
Detroit
6 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Didn’t offer coffee refills. Had to ask. Soft scrambled really too runny.

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KE
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were there with 2 friends and from the minute our server greeted us until 2hours later when we left everything was amazing. The menu is great for sharing, so recommended to bring friends who like to eat, meat! We shared Pork rinds, fries and the bread and butter trio for apps and OMG!!! Simple but probably the best salter butter and house made bread ever! Dinner we shared the Selection of Hams, Pork Belly and Chicken, added the BBQ carrots and probably one of the best meals we’ve had. Topped it off with the Hot Apple cake and they brought us the cookies stuffed with Ice cream and we could barely move! The service was second to none! Our server Benny was AMAZING! On top of things, checked on us enough but not too much or disruptive. Suggested just enough food that we did not over order. We cannot wait to find more people we can go back and try the rest of the menu! Side note: Great music selection and the drinks were surpurb!

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

To be fair, we did order several dishes and there was room for confusion, but our drinks and food orders were mixed up or forgotten a few times. Some of the dishes, mainly the vegetable courses seemed overpriced but everything tasted great.

We would definitely consider returning but would order less for best value.

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c
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Coffee refills!! It’s not that hard :)

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a
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

The atmosphere was like an upscale cool cafeteria with the long dark-wooded communal tables. The decor fit the setting and the theme of the restaurant. The oysters were amazing and fresh with flavorful sauces. Try the pork rinds, you won't be disappointed. Don't expect the ham to come out sliced. It came out thinly shaved comparable to the way prociutto is served, but delicious. The lamb was the best entree we had with the skate wing being a little over-buttered and the capers made it salty. Overall, this place was wonderful and I can't wait to go back to try more items.

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RM
New England
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was everything we'd hoped for...and more! The only hiccups occured at the beginning when we arrived - There was no record of my phone call increasing the number of guests from 3 to 4, which caused some pushback and attitude...and at the end, when the front desk team seemed to misplace one of our coats, which they did eventually find.

The level of service at the bar and at the table was exemplary!

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ZR
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The meals are all shareable, and only two of us went so we didn't get to try the breadth of food a larger group would, and we're not big pork or oyster eaters, which is pretty much their reason for being. But, even with all those caveats, our meal was wonderful. We had the chicken, the mussels, the halibut and the Brussels sprouts and dessert, and all was wonderful (well, I don't love Brussels Spouts, but they were still pretty good for Brussels sprouts). You don't need a group to go, but if I went again, I'd bring friends.

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JH
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Staff was great, food was amazing, ambiance was great for an anniversary!

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JG
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brunch at the Publican was a great experience. The staff are very attentive and will quickly refill your coffee mug without having to wave or signal them. Will go back again.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love Publican! Food is always great

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j
San Francisco
40 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service!!! Wish they were in San Francisco

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WA
Naples
9 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

We were celebrating my brother in laws retirement. My sister & brother in law don’t dine in the same manner my husband and I do. This was a very special treat for them. We were lucky enough to have picked Restaurant Week and the chef specials were outstanding. My brother in law ordered the pork shank from the regular menu and it was superb. The cocktails were wonderful and the beer list was impressive. The best part for me was the fact that I could get Duxbury oysters in Chicago. They are my all time favorite and I’ve never had them anywhere but in the Boston, Baltimore area. What a treat. The only thing that wasn’t perfect, my brother in laws shank came out prior to the other 3 meals. We had to encourage him to eat while it was hot and don’t wait for ours. I expected better timing than that.

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MB
Dallas
8 reviews
Dined on January 30, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Food was decent but over rated

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OT
Cincinnati
6 reviews
Dined on January 29, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Food was progressive and tasty. Beverage menu was very European. The service put it over the top.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Noise level rather slightly 'Disturbing' than 'Energetic'

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NP
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a wonderful meal with another couple. Waitress did a wonderful job helping us navigate the menu and amount of food. Enjoyed everything we ordered. The BBQ carrots and Spare Ribs were definitely the standouts. It was a little loud but didn't detract from the evening. Will definitely try to come back.

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d
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Dined here during Restaurant Week 2019 and had the Prix Fixe dinners. By sharing all of the options we had 7 different items! The food is creative, flavorful, and visually well done. The room, with multiple options from ledge dining to small, semi-private "boxes, to communal long tables and high-tops. It a little weird getting used to another couple joining you at a 4-top, but it works. Our only comment is that seating at the 4-tops is a little ackward, high tall stools and limited knee space under the table. I frequently found myself needing a few more inches of clearance. The oddly configured wash basin in the restroom area works, but reminded me of attending Taste of Chicago or Lolla.

All in all, we will return for the items we did not experience, and for the great neighborhood that is the Fulton Market District / West Loop.

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LC
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food is so delicious and they have an extensive drink list! Service was great and love the ambiance.

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NS
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was excellent, we tried the Porchetta, which was a healthy potion of sliced pork over Brussels sprouts and red cabbage. All the front of house staff procedures phenomenal service and it was clear they all work as a team. We had probably three different people check up with us, but it was unobtrusive and our server was patient with our questions about the menu while also giving some great suggestions.

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c
Miami
2 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

I visited Publican for brunch with my sister, the food was amazing!!! Good vibes!

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JL
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service wonderful brunch. Coffee was great!!

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service.

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m
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

The food is absolutely astounding. Our waiter, Gio, was clearly extremely adept as his job, and was charming and gracious throughout the whole night. We had a lovely meal, and recommend the pork rinds and pork belly SO HARD. Everything was perfect.

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