I was raised the son of a Chicago Irish saloon keeper. I believed that everyone grew up the same way I did: always surrounded by a very large extended family… a traveling party if you will. Wonderful people were always around during holidays, birthdays, weekends, and vacations. As I grew older I realized I was not living the average life but a very unique one; one I wanted to carry on. I never dreamed of being anything but an Irish saloon keeper. I have always felt that it was my job in life to follow in my father’s footsteps and carry on his many wonderful traditions. Although, I think I will leave out the part where I fire my son at least a dozen times for crimes against humanity! All the firings and other traditional irish expressions of affection did not deter me; today I am my father’s son and living the legacy that is Butch McGuire’s. Butch taught me a great deal about this business and I often remember his words of advice. He also gave me the confidence to find my own way and that is the most valuable lesson of them all. To those of you have been coming here for the last 50+ years, I hope you find Butch McGuire’s as inviting as ever, and for those of you just discovering us, welcome to the world famous Butch McGuire’s, please come in and say hi. I am the big guy by the front door.
Butch Mcguire borrowed a little money from his mother and opened his "world famous" saloon in 1961. The legendary bar corridor of Rush and Division was born. Butch had the perfect hang-out for local gold coast and old town singles, most of whom happened to be his friends. In fact, through cocktails and conversation, it is believed that over 10,000 marriages have resulted from encounters throughout the decades. Butch, “the unofficial mayor of Division street”, took an active part in the community and took a great interest in his employee’s lives. Butch was always proud to claim that hundreds of men and women had paid for all or some of their educations while working at the saloon. Butch was also quite an advocate for women, being one of the first Chicago bar owners to hire female bartenders and managers. Back in the earlier days, only women were allowed a seat at the crowded bar, men would either give up their seats or be thrown out.
Ever the innovator, Butch is credited with the creation of the Harvey Wallbanger and Skip and Go Naked cocktails, as well as being the first to serve a Bloody Mary (still the best in town!) with a celery stick garnish. He also turned Christmas at butch mcguire’s into a Chicago tradition. What started out as a few balloons and homemade ornaments has now turned into a stunning array of lights, garland, quirky mobiles, and two double-decker trains that run throughout the main bar and antique room. Butch passed away in 2006 at the age of 76, through he lives on through the people he touched and the stories they love to recount about him. His saloon, still an icon of Chicago, continues to attract not only people from all around the globe, but also right around the corner. Butch McGuire’s continues to be family owned and operated after more than 54 years, and the tradition that have made the bar such a success still carry on today under the management of his son, Bobby McGuire. All of us here at Butch McGuire’s would like to thank all the friends who have helped create the story of Butch’s saloon, and we look forward to seeing the story continue…
Come in and see us and get a taste of the Legend of Division !