St. Patrick's Day 2012 in Toronto is almost here. Just in time, too, because when else is it acceptable to wear those, 'Kiss Me, I'm Irish' t-shirts even though your only relation to the old country is some distant cousin? Yes, St. Patrick's Day means different things for different people, but the common thread these days is some good-natured indulgence in the drink. So here's a guide to keep you busy not only on the big day itself, but throughout the week as well.
EVENTS & LIVE MUSIC
- Dora Keogh's doesn't get all hokey on St. Patrick's Day, but you can bet the place will be packed with Guinness-slinging ex-pats. There will be live music all day on Saturday, so get in early if you hope to get in at all.
- Next door at Allen's they'll be doing pretty much the same thing, but it's sure to be busy, too.
- Ceili Cottage is making St. Patrick's Day into a whole week, with different events and specials happening every day, including dancers, karaoke, and live music.
- Festivities at The Irish Embassy start at noon on Saturday with Rick Baura & Friends taking the stage until 4 p.m. followed up by Wheel House, who'll play from 6 till 11 p.m.
- Sister pub P.J. O'Brien will be showing the Ireland versus England rugby game on Saturday at 1 p.m. ($20 cover). If rugby isn't your thing, the pub will have Irish dancers throughout the afternoon and live music courtesy of the Irish Guys play from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Their menu will include Beef and Guinness stew, Irish Sausage and Chips and Kilkenny Ale Fish and Chips.
- Steamwhistle, Toronto's green (bottled) beer is hosting its very own St. Patrick's Day Party at The Roundhouse. The event, which begins at 2 p.m. and lasts well into the evening (probably longer than any patron will) will include food provided by the Irish Embassy and Irish-themed entertainment. Proceeds from the event will go to the St. Patrick's Day Parade Society, those lovable folks who organize the annual Irish march down Yonge Street.
- Day drinks, anyone? Here's hoping that the weather stays unseasonably warm for St. Party's Day at St. Lawrence Market. A large tent will be set-up between King and Front and bands will be playing in the North Building of the market. It starts bright and early at 11 a.m.!
- Because hurling heavy balls around probably isn't a wise idea after a day of drinking, maybe hit The Ballroom's special St. Patrick's Day event before getting really deep into the stout. There will be drink specials, a special Irish-themed menu, and complimentary shoe rental until 6 p.m. Free shoes!
- Cut your 'Kiss Me I'm Irish' shirt into a crop-top, for the St. Patrick's Day Club Crawl. Buy a "Club Crawl" pass and have no-cover entry into four nightclubs and party bus transportation between them. Tickets must be bought beforehand and are selling fast.
- Get ready for a nasty hangover. The Pour House started its St. Patrick's Day celebrations earlier this week and they'll continue all the way to Sunday. Cheap eats (think 40 cent wings and a Pie and Pint deal for $15) will be available throughout the week and as of Friday, the Guinness is going for $6 — not a crazy deal, but it'll help if you have 10. The pub will also have a special menu for Saturday with Sunny Boy Mick providing live tunes.
- Along with The Pour House, The Brazen Head , The Foggy Dew,Murphy's Law, and Pogue Mahone are all having a seven day celebrations with special menus, live music.
- You could also, of course, just head to The Gallway Arms. They don't pull out all the bells and whistles for St. Patrick's Day, but you know they'll pour you a proper pint of Guinness.
THE BEST IRISH PUBS IN TORONTO
MORE PUBS AND BARS
From the upscale to the budget-friendly, Toronto is definitely not a city that's short on beer. For those who would just like to sit down and have a pint on this sacred day in a non-Irish bar, there's plenty of options too:
OTHER ST. PATRICK'S DAY EVENTS
Writing by Mariam Matti and Roxanne Hathway-Baxter