Teehan’s, a ‘favorite watering hole’ in downtown Tinley Park, torn down; replica planned in its place

As the jaws of a giant machine tore into the roof and north wall of Teehan’s, an Irish tavern in downtown Tinley Park, Wednesday, you could almost hear the strains of “Danny Boy” being sung reverently.

Located for decades in a building put up long before Tinley Park was founded, Teehan’s was demolished to make way for a near-replica on the same site.

At the northeast corner of Oak Park Avenue and North Street, north of the Oak Park Avenue Metra station, it is in the footprint of the village’s planned Harmony Square development, which is to include a concert stage and splash pad.

Apartments are also planned nearby.

As the building was, in short order, reduced to rubble, it may have resembled an Irish wake, but the last respects had been paid earlier this month.

Longtime patrons and fans had bid farewell to Teehan’s March 3, during Tinley Park’s 24th annual Irish Parade and the final day of business for “old” Teehan’s.

Some people slowed down Wednesday as they drove along Oak Park Avenue, and a handful stood on the sidewalk on the west side of the street, their cameras taking in the final moments of Teehan’s.

Among them was Charlie Chappetto, who is now 61 and began popping into Teehan’s when he moved to Tinley Park when he was 24.

“It was just a favorite watering hole,” he said.

Chappetto said he and his wife, Jane, would frequent the tavern, and said his daughter met her husband there. They have been married a little more than a year.

“I was a newcomer when I first started going there,” he said. “I got to know a lot of people over the years.”

Tinley Park paid $200,000 for the property, including the intellectual and other property, which includes the names Teehan’s and Teehan’s Irish Bar as well as the phone numbers, email address and website.

Regis Teehan operated the bar for 34 years before retiring last September, and it was in her family since 1917.

Tom McAuliffe, owner of Durbin’s Pizza restaurants in the southwest suburbs, operated Teehan’s after her retirement, and will also operate the re-christened Teehan’s, under village plans. McAuliffe operated a Durbin’s for 16 years at 17265 S. Oak Park Ave., just to the north of Teehan’s.

The first business on the site was built in 1852 and called the Pacific Hotel, reflecting the owner’s hope the nearby railroad line would ultimately extend to the Pacific Ocean, according to a May 2003 Chicago Tribune article. It later became the Tinley Park Hotel.

Customers and others had tried to convince Tinley Park officials to repair and preserve the building, but were told the cost would be prohibitive.

The foundation is in poor shape and structural support beams in the basement are cracked and not sufficient to carry the weight of the building, they said.

“Everybody said ‘why can’t you repair it?'” Chappetto said. “It’s 170 years old, it’s beyond repair.”

Construction of the replacement is expected to take a little more than a year, according to the village.

Chappetto said he can’t be certain the new Teehan’s will have the same feel as the one he had grown accustomed to.

“You hope so,” he said. “It’s going to be brand new.”