by Lauren Sloat - 260 Reviews - 86 List
Dark wood, bar stools, Guinness and whiskey--these are just a few of the things that a good Irish pub requires. On St. Patrick's Day, however, expect D.C. Irish pubs to up the ante with bagpipes, Celtic bands, whiskey pairings, pint-pouring contests and corn beef sandwiches. So break out the green, brush up that brogue and get ready for some beer: Here's where to celebrate the Irish this year.
Updated: March 15, 2010
Though Mackey's is not an official sponsor, the annual St. Patty's bar crawl--known as the Leprechaun Lap--kicks off at this L Street Irish pub on March 6 at 1pm. Registration is $10 with two cans of food to donate to a local charity--$13 without--and includes entry and drink specials at several Dupont bars, including The Front page and Public Bar, among others. Drink specials will include $2 Coors Light, $3 Blue Moon and $5 Jameson and Absolut drinks in addition to food specials, green beads and a bag piper until 9pm.
Head to this U Street pub when it opens at noon on March 17--the first 200 people will receive free T-shirts and avoid the $5 cover, which begins at 3pm. A DJ will play traditional Irish tunes and the D.C. Fire Department Pipes & Drums Emerald Society (a kilt-wearing, bagpipe-playing band) will perform. To get in the spirit early, stop by on Sunday, March 14, following D.C.'s 39th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade; Duffy's will be offering a $10 brunch including all-you-can-eat shepherd's pie from noon to 4pm.
This family-run pub--opened by brothers who grew up above their parent's pub in County Cork Ireland--brings an authentic bit of the Emerald Isle to downtown D.C. Despite nods to New Orleans with some distinctly Cajun menu items, this place has all the things a good Irish bar should, including dark wood, lots of bar stools, bartenders with brogues and a large selection of Scotch and beers on tap. The brothers--who both graduated from Rockwell College Culinary school--present a menu of Irish specialties such as potato and leek soup, Irish sausage and shepherds' pie-stuffed potato skins. Combined with a day of free, live Irish music, a day at the bar will be one of the most believable Irish celebrations in town on March 17.
Already one of the more popular spots at Gallery Place, Fado is bound to be a packed destination on St. Patrick's Day, when crowds will be in search of extra-large pints to swig while listening to live bagpipers. For those who want to celebrate early (and avoid some of the crowds), the pub is hosting a number of spirited events leading up to the big day; the Perfect Pint Pouring Competition on March 7 pits bartenders from Irish pubs around D.C. against Fado staff in a challenge to pour two perfect pints and one "creative pint"; the event will be judged by actual Guinness employees. On March 9, partake in the Whiskey Dinner to pair different whiskeys with a variety of foods, and on March 14 following the D.C. St. Patrick's Day Parade--in which the pub has a float--it will celebrate with a party and live music from the Wild Rovers.
Get the party started early on St. Patrick's Day; Ireland's Four Fields--or 4P's, as it's more commonly known--will be opening at 10am, with live Celtic music from bands such as Burren Band, the Bagpipe Band and Atlantic Bridge starting at 11am. The party costs $10 and goes until 3am. The kitchen will be closed that day--they'll be busy serving beer--but they will have corn beef sandwiches to satiate cravings for hearty traditional fare.