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 in Stoke Newington 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.
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. Imported from Dublin, it’s renowned for having the best Guinness in London. 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 ‘seisiúns’, Irish ales and own-brewed award winners. Or if you want something quirkier, head to Waxy O’Connor’s with its amazing Gothic-style interior and four separate bars over six levels – they’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day all week, up to and including Sunday 19th March.
New York City
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 a good bet. The beer selection is a sight to behold and there are plenty of stouts on tap.
Another way to get an authentic taste of the old country is to head off the island to the historic Wicked Monk in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where a vast array of Irish and classic American 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 “New York’s thirstiest Irish band” Shilelagh Law (on Saturday 18th).
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 Sunday 19th. 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 multiple-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.
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.”
It might not be the first place that springs to mind for an Irish extravaganza, but Hong Kong celebrates St. Patrick’s day with gusto. In fact, the second annual outing of the Hong Kong and Macau Irish Festival runs for the entire month of March.
Highlights include oyster and Murphy’s Irish stout packages at the slick Sugar lounge on the 32nd floor of East Hotel until Sunday 19th, and the Irish Village at Delaney’s Cyberport on St. Patrick’s day itself, featuring a five-piece Irish band, a troupe of Irish dancers and a comedy show with Irish comedians. There’ll be plenty of Irish food and drink to wash it all down with, too. And of course, there’s the main event – Hong Kong’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which kicks off at 2pm by the observation wheel next to Central Pier 10 and finishes in Tamar Park.
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. San Francisco revellers meanwhile, will find the best Guinness at The Phoenix on Valencia Street in the Mission. If you’re in Los Angeles, Casey’s in Downtown is a good spot for whiskeys, while Finn McCool’s in Santa Monica offers draft beers and a great burger menu in a suitably authentic setting.