Events

The Best Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in DC

The District might as well be Dublin.

Guinness Open Gate Brewery
Guinness Open Gate Brewery | Courtesy of Plaid Photo
Guinness Open Gate Brewery | Courtesy of Plaid Photo
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Whether you’re actually Irish or are just planning to don a green ensemble for the day, the best way to celebrate what was once a simple religious holiday is with plenty of debauchery (in honor of Saint Patrick, of course). The District may be far from the rolling hills and rowdy taverns of the Irish homeland, but it has parties and pubs that are perfect for celebrating -- so get ready to guzzle Guinness, toss back shots of Jameson, and take in other staples of Irish culture.

What’s the deal with the parade?

DC doesn’t have street-filling extravaganzas like NYC or Boston for St. Patrick’s, but the District is going all out for the 50th iteration of its St. Patrick’s Day parade this year. The celebration will be held on Sunday, March 15 when starting at noon, marchers will take off from 7th Street and stretch down Constitution Avenue to 17th Street. After DC’s festivities wrap up and you retire your green until the big day, you can join a group from the parade on a bus trip up to NYC for Tuesday’s party.

Where should I say sláinte?

You can’t go wrong parking yourself at any old Irish pub or brewery on St. Patrick’s Day. But if you’re looking to score the best deals, you don’t need the luck of the Irish on your side -- we rounded up the best food and drinks specials all weekend for you right here.

Logan Tavern
Saturday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 17
Logan Circle
Some spots just can’t wait until Tuesday to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re part of that set, look no further than Logan Tavern. The bar will offer shots of Jameson or Tullamore Dew, tallboy cans of Guinness, and a green-hued version of its Stoly Doly cocktail with pineapple-infused vodka for $7.50 each alongside food specials like a hearty Guinness and beef stew and corned beef and cabbage. These specials will be available both Saturday and Tuesday, so there’s no excuse not to say sláinte.

Duffy’s Irish Pub
Saturday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 17
H Street Corridor
Saturday is St. Practice Day at Duffy’s Irish Pub. The bar is opening up at 9am to screen rugby games (including the Ireland vs. France match-up) and will offer discounted pours of Guinness. The pub will tap its green beer kegs once the games wrap up at 6pm and after the free toast, you can continue drinking the green brews for just $5 each. If you’re one of the first 30 through the door at Duffy’s Irish Pub on St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll be treated to a free corned beef, egg, and cheese breakfast burrito. If you miss out on that deal, don’t worry. You can spend the day drinking $5 green beer and watching music and dance performances.

Port City Brewing
Sunday, March 15

Alexandria
Port City Brewing’s celebration lasts from noon to 8pm with plenty of entertainment. You can start off the day participating in trivia with a team of six others from 2-4pm before enjoying performances by Morris Men and Irish Dancers. Hops N Shine, a local restaurant famous for slinging beer and moonshine, will serve Irish cuisine that you can enjoy with Port City brews all day long.

The Dubliner
Tuesday, March 17

Capitol Hill
Start counting your coins. At The Dubliner, you can get a pour of Guinness for just 46 cents from 9 to 10 am in honor of the number of years that The Dubliner has been running. Throughout the rest of the day there will be live music on two different stages, and you can continue toasting Saint Patrick at the oldest Irish pub in DC.

Red Derby
Tuesday, March 17

Columbia Heights
Red Derby isn’t offering green beer for the holiday, but you won’t miss it when you hear about the slate of specials the dive bar is offering instead. You can swap cheap beer for $5 shots of Tullamore Dew, $6 Guinnesses, $10 beer and shot combos, and $15 sets of two Irish car bombs.

Kirwan’s On The Wharf
Tuesday, March 17

Southwest Waterfront
As one of the sponsors of Ireland at the Wharf, Kirwan’s will be throwing down a huge St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Performers from the Boyle School of Irish Dance will show off their jigs during the day and live music from Irish natives Danny Burns Band will provide the soundtrack for the night.

Union Pub
Tuesday, March 17

Capitol Hill
It’s not all Irish at this sports bar on St. Patrick’s Day. Union Pub will be offering $15 buckets of Bud and Bud Light, $14 pitchers of the green version, and $13 buckets of Carlsburg. If you want to stay on theme (as you should!) you can toss back $6 shots of Slane Irish Whiskey or drop Slane Whiskey and Brady’s Irish Cream into a stout for $7 with the bar’s Irish Slammer.

Dacha Beer Garden
Tuesday, March 17

Shaw and Navy Yard
DC’s most popular beer garden is going green for St. Patrick’s Day. The bar is dyeing their Weihenstephaner Vitus, which they dub “the king of wheat beers,” bright green at both locations in the District in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. You can get a hearty .5L for just $12, and you don’t even need the luck of the Irish.

Guinness Brewery
Courtesy of Plaid Photo

What other events are going on?

Party all weekend at the only Guinness brewery in America
Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15

Guinness Open Gate Brewery
The trip to Halethorpe, Maryland is worth it to spend St. Patrick’s Day at the only Guinness brewery in the U.S. After a quick MARC train ride and a free shuttle, you’ll be transported to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration that includes more than 30 booths of Guinness beer, Irish food, and music and dance entertainment. In addition to the brand’s traditional stout, you can sample brews that were made especially for the event and can only be found at Open Gate Brewery while touring the facility and watching beer brewing right in front of you. For an extra $30, you can sit down to a full Irish breakfast to start off your day, and all attendees will get $15 off a Lyft ride home using the promo code “GuinnessGetHome.”
Cost: $20 in advance or $25 at the gate

Don’t limit yourself to just one bar by going to LepreCon
Saturday, March 14

Multiple bars
St. Patrick’s Day is practically synonymous with pub crawls. At LepreCon, you can hop between participating bars for a full 12 hours without running into cover charges. Your wristband will get you discounts, live entertainment, an opportunity to compete for cash prizes in the costume contest, and the chance to pose in professional photographs at every bar. Watch the event’s website for a full list of participating bars.
Cost: Tickets are $10-$20

Attend DC’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day Festival
Saturday, March 14

The Wharf
Ireland at The Wharf has it all. You can toss back Guiness drafts in the festival’s beer garden or sip on Irish whiskey all afternoon while being entertained by Irish dancers and live music from a local Celtic band and other performers. You’ll cover the bill for your food and drink but the rest of the festival is free, unless you upgrade to VIP status for exclusive barrel-aged beers from Guinness Open Gate Brewery, access to private balconies for performance viewing, and other perks.
Cost: Free (or VIP tickets are $75)

Decorate ‘big ass’ cookies at DC’s most beloved bakery
Tuesday, March 17

Baked and Wired
You can pick up St. Patrick’s Day sweets like green rice krispie treats and a chocolate cupcake with Jameson ganache and Bailey’s buttercream frosting. Or, simply take matters into your own hands at Baked and Wired’s cookie decorating event. You’ll get two giant cookies and all the materials (and expert advice) you need to make confections worthy of being sold in DC’s favorite cupcake spot.
Cost: $13

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Liz Provencher is an editorial assistant and former DC dweller, and she doesn’t need St. Patrick’s Day as an excuse to drink pints of Guinness. Talk to her at lprovencher@thrillist.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.