It’s time to iron your greenest attire and dust off your drinking shoes. We’re highlighting the best bars for St. Patrick’s Day. Covid might’ve curtailed celebrations the last couple of years, but falling caseload numbers and rising optimism means we’ll be hoisting Guinness pints together on March 17—and many other days this month.
Depending on your comfort level, you can still sit back at home and livestream the annual Dropkick Murphys concert with several solid stouts. But if you feel like taking festivities beyond your front door, here are the best bars to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Feeling lucky yet?
Best Bars for St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations
1. The Dead Rabbit
Where: New York City
Twice named the world’s best bar, the Dead Rabbit sits at the southern tip of Manhattan. It’s an 1828 townhouse converted into a transportive drinking den that elegantly drops customers into the 19th century. Founders Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon are natives of Belfast, Ireland, and in the sawdust-strewn taproom you’ll find a peerless pint of Guinness and dozens of Irish whiskeys—served by a two-ounce pour, or added to cocktails including a warming and well-balanced take on the Irish coffee. Can’t hop over to the Rabbit? Try your hand at several cocktail recipes collected in the bar’s recently released book Paddy Drinks: The World of Modern Irish Whiskey Cocktails. St. Patrick’s Day highlights here will include numerous live Irish music “seisiuns” throughout the afternoon and evening—and a complimentary portion of Irish lamb stew upon arrival.
2. Guinness Open Gate Brewery
Where: Halethrope, MD
In 2018, the Irish brewing giant opened this $90 million Baltimore-area brewery that’s become its American post for innovative brewing. Throughout March, the facility is hosting four weekends of Irish-centered celebrations in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, including Irish-themed food tents, performances by the gypsy-rocking 19th Street Band and other musicians, and traditional Irish dancers from the McGrath Morgan Academy. Pints of Ireland-brewed Guinness Draught and Extra Stout will be flowing, and it’ll roll out special-release beers, including an amber ale inspired by Irish breakfast tea, a porter brewed with Irish barley, and a pineapple coconut stout.
3. Irish Channel Parade—New Orleans
There’s never a bad month to party in New Orleans, especially March. On the heels of Mardi Gras revelry, the Crescent City turns its attention to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, a tradition that supposedly started in 1809. On March 12, the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Parade rolls its floats through the city, launching beads, flowers, and even cabbages at onlookers. Make sure you pop by Parasol’s and Tracey’s, two old-school Irish channel bars specializing in po’ boys stuffed with sliced roast beef soaked in rich gravy. The bars, along with Irish pub Finn McCool’s, regularly host St. Patrick’s Day block parties. This year’s edition at Finn McCool’s features crawfish, cold beer, and a “wee parade” featuring the coronation of a king and queen of St. Patrick’s Day.
4. The Dubliner
Where: Washington, D.C.
Few pubs have more Irish bona fides than the Dubliner. It’s named after the James Joyce story collection Dubliners and situated in the Phoenix Park Hotel, a nod to the Dublin park. There are few finer places to celebrate Irish hospitality than this warm, wood-filled pub, where classic Irish ales are complemented by modern craft beers, including IPAs from Other Half and Auld Dubliner Amber ale, a house beer produced by DC Brau in the nation’s capital. There’s nightly live music, featuring a special musical lineup during the week of St. Patrick’s Day, plus house-made corned beef and a deep collection of vintage Irish whiskey.
5. McGinleys’ Golden Ace Inn
Where: Indianapolis, IN
Prohibition ended in America on December 5, 1933. About three months later, Irish immigrants Ann and John McGinley opened their namesake inn, still owned by the same family. This year, the oldest Irish pub in Indianapolis will host its 89th St. Patrick’s Day celebration, a rollicking outdoor tent party highlighted by performances from area Irish musicians and Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones—a legendary Irish balladeer. Fortify yourself for the day’s festivities with one of the pub’s celebrated cheeseburgers sizzled in a cast-iron skillet.
6. Ferment Brewing Company
Where: Hood River, OR
A key to a good Guinness pint is the gas, a blend of nitrogen and carbon dioxide that imparts a lustrous mouthfeel and cream-like foam cap. Of late, more and more American craft breweries are releasing roasty nitrogenated stouts that, like the Irish classic, drink dry and refreshing. Breckenridge Brewing makes the Nitro Irish Stout that’s packaged in cans, as is Left Hand Brewing’s Milk Stout Nitro—a more luscious beer thanks to the addition of lactose, a milk sugar. Ferment Brewing recently packaged its Dublin-inspired Nitro Dry Stout in 16-ounce cans. “This is my favorite recipe to brew, and it’s also my go-to shift beer,” says brewmaster Dan Peterson. At its taproom in Hood River, a wonderland for windsurfers, Ferment will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with pint specials and plenty of lamb stew and salt-and-vinegar fries.
7. Crooked Hammock Brewery
Where: Lewes, DE
This St. Patrick’s Day you can have your breakfast and drink it too at Crooked Hammock Brewery. The coastal Delaware brewery, which also has locations in Middletown and Myrtle Beach, SC, is releasing its second-annual version of Savagely Delicious, a potent triple IPA, that’s loaded with Lucky Charms cereal. Crooked Hammock amplifies the cereal character with additional marshmallows and vanilla beans, which complement the fruity scents of lemons and mangoes supplied by Citra and Lemondrop hops. Consider a four-pack a form of liquid gold.
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