St Patrick’s Day: The Craic in our Destinations

Once again it’s time to paint the town green – wherever you are. A tradition that’s long since left Ireland to take over the world; the date March 17th is now a universal call to party. We look at the best places to make merry in a few of our fantastic destinations…



North London is heralded by many as the place to go for ‘proper’ Irish pubs and The Auld Shillelagh is one of its warmest and friendliest. On Paddy’s Day, things kick off early with traditional Irish music and there’s boiled bacon and cabbage if you get peckish.



Coach and Horses, Covent Garden by Ewan-M on Flickr

Coach and Horses, Covent Garden by Ewan-M on Flickr


If you’re in town early enough, skip past the multitude of Irish theme pubs and head for the Coach & Horses in Wellington Street, at the heart of theatre land. Renowned for having the best Guinness in London – it’s imported from Dublin. If you’re not into the black stuff, don’t worry, the selection of Irish whiskeys is vast. Impromptu entertainment is likely too.

Nearby, The Porterhouse is the Covent Garden branch of an Irish brewery, known for its traditional Sunday ‘seisiuns’, Irish ales and own-brewed award winners. The Hungry Grass Band will provide the sounds until 1AM.

If you want something quieter or would at least like to line your stomach before all that drinking, Lutyens in Fleet St is having an Irish Week. The restaurant’s Irish head chef has made over the menu to reflect his own heritage and there are also special cocktails and Irish oysters on offer in the bar.


New York City

With one of the oldest and largest parades in the world, New York is the place where virtually everyone becomes Irish for the day. But where do you go when the procession is over?


Pretty much every bar in Manhattan will be going green and most will be packed to the rafters, but if you want the real deal and a genuine pub atmosphere, The Ginger Man on East 36th St is the one. The beer selection is unrivalled anywhere in the city and there are plenty of stouts on tap.


Ginger Man New York by flickr4jazz on Flickr

Ginger Man New York by flickr4jazz on Flickr


The other way to get an authentic taste of the old country is to head off the island to Eamonn’s in Brooklyn Heights, where a vast array of Irish fare is on offer all day. Alternatively, head uptown to the Rambling House in Woodlawn at the north end of the Bronx for all-day revelry and traditional jig-inducing vibes from Jameson’s Revenge later in the evening.



As the Irish centre of America, Boston sensibly saves its huge (600,000 strong!) parade until after St Patrick’s and this year it falls on Saturday 20th. In the meantime you’re going to want a drink, aren’t you?


Naturally, you’ll be spoilt for choice, but as with New York, many of the best places are to be found slightly off the beaten track. Downtown in the Jamaica Plain neighbourhood sits the Brendan Behan Pub. The four-time winner of Boston’s best Irish pub is even lauded back home and with no TV or arcade games, it’s all about the beer and the chat.


Corrib Pub in Brighton, Boston

Corrib Pub in Brighton, Boston © Corrib Pub


For more kitsch-free craic, James’s Gate in the same district, is a place of two halves: A real restaurant with great grub and a pub with very reasonably priced stouts and ales, plus a roaring fire. Cosy.

Over in Brighton, an area known for its population of Western Irish settlers, the Corrib Pub is a proper local favourite, serves a mean traditional platter and has a bona fide beer menu: “Like home, but with more taps.”


Cape Town

The Dubliner © The Dubliner Cape Town

The Dubliner © The Dubliner Cape Town


With Table Mountain turning green for the occasion, Cape Town really goes for it on St Patrick’s Day. You’ll want something more than just scenery though. For raucous shenanigans, Long Street’s The Dubliner will be the place to head (early). Live Irish music, green beer and giveaways.

For craic with a slightly smaller crowd, O’Driscoll’s also has bands and Guinness-related prizes, while ‘natural beer’ emporium Mitchell’s Brewery on the Waterfront will be offering specials on its Irish style drinks. Beef and Guinness pies and an interesting  (if rather less authentic) black pudding pizza are on the food menu.


Other destinations

Even if you’ve spent the day with Mickey in Orlando, you can get a true taste of the Emerald Isle – food, beer and music – at the Irish-owned Raglan Road. Hong Kong revellers meanwhile, will find the best Guinness at The Dublin Jack. If you’re in Sydney, The Rocks has plenty of Irish pubs in which to grab a pint ahead of Saturday’s parade, but Durty Nelly’s in Paddington is the place to be. The head chef is from Dublin, so you really can’t go wrong.


Thanks to Flickr photographers Ewan-M and flickr4Jazz. Header image of The Ginger Man interior also by flickr4Jazz.

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