Cruel, howling winds are just around the corner. The sleet's there, too, waiting like an assassin. In a month, even walking around will become a chore.

Cruel, howling winds are just around the corner. The sleet's there, too, waiting like an assassin. In a month, even walking around will become a chore.

At the top of your survival checklist should be to find a place where you and your friends can enjoy a hearty, face-warming pint. The Claddagh on Front Street has those and more, its legendary logo a symbol of the warmth and friendliness inside.

In fact, you could spend an entire glorious (albeit tipsy) day there without stepping out - Premier League games in the morning, dark drafts and corned beef for lunch and a local folk band picking until last call.

One of 15 locations spread through the Midwest, the Brewery District pub has some of the streamlined polish you might expect from regional chain restaurants. Authentic Old World flourishes make the place far more than an Applebee's serving Carlsberg.

The main bar towers above, with bold black accents and European soccer scarves hung lengthwise, adding a bit of color and signaling the bar's fever for football. Games are broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel, Setanta Sports USA, Setanta Sports Xtra, GolTV and MLS Direct Kick.

If there's a match you need to see, it'll likely be available.

While you're catching up with your favorite club, you can sample Guinness, Smithwick's, Strongbow, Old Speckled Hen and seasonals from several local brewpubs. Drafts run $5.50 for a 20-ounce pour, with $2.50 pints from 8 p.m. to close on Tuesdays.

To ease your buzz, try the excellent Corned Beef & Cabbage Rolls ($8) - several crisp egg rolls served atop a bed of field greens. Cap it off with the city's best bangers and mash ($12), a good number of traditional sausages plated atop creamy potatoes and a thick marinade.

The restaurant also offers its trademark 15-Minute Lunches, a selection of wraps, soups and salads. Late-night folk can sample from miniature appetizers from the Pub Bites Menu.

If you can't get to Ireland anytime soon, this is the next best thing. It's got everything but the peat fire.