Events

How to (Still) Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Philadelphia

From whiskey tastings and live-streamed music to outdoor Irish feasts.

The bad news: For the second year in a row, the pandemic has forced the cancelation of the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The good news: The luck of the Irish is a state of mind and there are still plenty of ways to honor your Irish heritage (real or imagined) without standing shoulder to shoulder in a bar. Throw on your greenest attire and make the most of yet another pandemic St. Paddy’s Day.

Feast on Irish delicacies

For more food of the Irish persuasion, grab some grub from the city’s Irish pubs and bars. Old City’s The Plough and The Stars is open for indoor and outdoor dining, as well as carryout and delivery. Don’t miss their Shepherd’s Pie, Irish-style curries, and battered sausages. Center City hotspot Fado Irish Pub has an expanded patio area in addition to their indoor seating, and plenty of Irish coffee and Guinness. The recently reopened Fergie’s Pub in Center City is ready to pour beers and serve fish and chips for eager patrons in honor of the holiday. 

Just a few steps away, McGillin’s brings back their legendary green beer for St. Patrick’s Day, in addition to an Irish potato martini, shepherd’s pie and corned beef, and authentic Irish Stout. They’ll have both indoor and outdoor seating on a first-come, first-serve basis. Over in Rittenhouse Square, The Black Sheep Pub will serve up bangers and mash and fish and chips with plenty of Guinness and Smithwicks to wash it down. The newly reopened Bridget Foy’s will serve up Guinness beef stew, corned beef and cabbage, chocolate whiskey cake, and more the weekend leading up to the holiday on St. Patrick’s Day. Head out to Tacony for an outdoor feast of ham and cabbage, Guinness, and Jameson at Curran’s Irish Inn on Sunday, March 14. 

In Midtown Village, the trio of Finn McCool’s Ale House, BRU Craft & Wurst, and Tradesman’s will serve green beer, Irish coffee, bangers and mash, and more for both indoor and outdoor seating and takeout. Or maybe you want to start the festivities early with a hearty Irish brunch of eggs, bangers, bacon, black and white pudding, breakfast potatoes, grilled tomato and Irish baked beans. Hit up Con Murphy’s Pub in Logan Square. Or if NoLibs is more your jam, Jerry’s Bar is serving a brunch with Irish fare, cocktails, and drafts.

If you’re looking to take a little drive, out in King of Prussia, City Works Eatery & Pour House in King of Prussia has a special menu of corned beef reuben, shepherd’s pie, limited-time Guiness blends, and special green beer. Peddler’s Village celebrates the luck of the Irish all month long with food and drink specials—like a Shamrock Sour and seafood stew—at village restaurants.

Drink local in the name of St. Patrick

For two exclusive St. Patrick’s Day beers, Evil Genius releases Magically Delicious, a 7.2% hazy oatmeal IPA brewed with Lucky Charms cereal, Mosaic, and Chinook hops on March 12 and Ermahgerd Skurtles, a kettle sour brewed with sour Skittles and aged on Key lime and cherry puree, on March 23. Plus, on St. Paddy’s Day itself, swing by the taproom for quizzo and corned beef hash specials. 

If cocktails are more your thing, The Olde Bar is putting the Irish spin on happy hour from March 17-21. Between 4-6 pm, sip on beverages like Irish Tea Party (Jameson, absinthe, sweet green tea, sorrel leaf), beer and shot (2SP Baby Bob Stout and a shot of whiskey), and Cameron's Kick (Jameson, Grants, house made orgeat, lemon, Connemara peated whiskey).

Organize your own Irish whiskey tasting… 

Nothing says St. Paddy’s Day more than a DIY Irish whiskey tasting. Head to your local Fine Wine and Good Spirits (or order online) and pick up bottles of Jameson, Bushmills, Teeling, The Quiet Man, or any among the other dozens of options. Grab some of those plastic shot glasses and dole out tasting pours for you and your roomies.

…or taste-test all the Irish potatoes

If whiskey isn’t your thing, but cinnamon, coconut, and cream cheese are, then delight in the local delicacy of Irish potatoes. Pick up a box of the poppable treat at Shane Confectionery, Pennsylvania General Store, Lore’s Chocolates, Anthony’s Italian Coffee and Chocolate House, Termini Bros, or any area grocery store and do a blind taste test to see if you can discern one brand from another.

Celebrate the holiday by honoring the dead

Learn about the accomplishments and heritage of Irish locals buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery on a walking tour of the grounds on Saturday, March 13. Full of colorful stories and ornate headstones, tours are limited to 15 people per tour, so book early. Wear comfy shoes, warm clothes, and a mask.

Get lucky at a drag show

RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Ariel Versace hosts a St. Patrick’s Day-themed drag show at Cherry Hill restaurant and club Vera on Wednesday, March 17, complete with a lineup of local queens. Consider the night a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Livestream a performance straight from Dublin

For a bit of international fun, Irish whiskey distiller Bushmills hosts a livestream of Celtic punk band Flogging Molly, where they’ll perform live from Dublin music venue Whelan’s. The show starts at 3 pm on St. Patrick’s Day. It’ll be almost as good as the real thing!

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Allie Volpe is a writer based in Philadelphia. She hasn't slept in days. Follow her on Twitter: @allieevolpe.
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