St. Patrick's Day Toronto 2013
St. Patrick's day in Toronto is a special time when people in the city take time to reflect on the Feast of Saint Patrick, the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and to generally celebrate Irish culture. To mark the occasion, I propose an essay on the historical significance of the day and what it means to be Irish and to respect the traditions of the Emerald Isle. Just kidding! Here's a list of places you can go to wear green plastic crap and get shitfaced on Guinness and Jameson this weekend!
If you couldn't care less about specific events and are just looking to drink all day, here's a few helpful resources.
A popular spot on the Danforth at the best of times, you can bet that Allen's (and the adjoining Dora Keough) will be rammed on Sunday. All week long both venues will feature a menu showcasing contemporary and traditional Irish food and on Sunday live music kicks off at 2pm and will feature Dab Quigley and Patrick Ourceau, The Aideen O'Brien Band, The Julian Taylor Band, and The O'Mortleys.
The Annex Wreck Room
Billing itself as the biggest party in the Annex strip, the Wreck Room is hosting the "St. Patrick's Eve Rager!!" (two exclamation points!!) on Saturday March 16th. The party starts at 9pm and there will be music by DJ Rick Toxic and, one assumes, raging.
The good looking professionals of Liberty Village will be treated to a five full days of St. Paddy's day celebrations at their local with a Smithwick's tasting Wednesday, Kilkenny and fish and chips on Thursday, $5 Guinness and free oysters on Friday and $4 Caesars, live music, and midnight Guinness toast on Saturday, aka St. Practice day. As for the big day, Bar Manager Anton Arnaldo tells me the plan is simply to "open the doors and hang on for dear life."
The Foggy Dew, Murphy's Law, Ned Devine's, The Pour House, and Pogue Mahone
The entire FAB concepts line-up of Irish pubs will be stretching the St. Patrick's day festivities into five or six-day celebrations with a variety of events planned leading up to the big day (come on, this is kind of the day Irish pubs live for!). Some of the highlights include $4 Jager shots (because Ireland), a spot the Leprechaun contest, cheap pints of Guinness, free food, everyone's favourite culturally insensitive beverage, The Irish Car Bomb, and even a yes-we're-actually-doing-this green beaded necklace collecting competition. Check each location's website for details but basically expect heavy drinking and vaguely Irish festivities all week long with live music and wait times for the big day.
My pick for the best St. Patrick's day experience in town, Leslieville's best public house will be proudly hosting "St. Patrick's Shenanigans," five days of events including Industry Day Wednesday with Bushmills, cheap oysters, and live music; Irish Ex-Pat Thursday with Smithwick's, a Cellarman Competition, and traditional music; Matchmaking Friday with Kilkenny, Karaoke, and something called "Flirt in the Yurt;" and St. Practice Day Saturday with Harp, an oyster eating contest, and a limerick contest; and a itinerary of general debauchery and shenanigans on Sunday with Guinness, live music and dancers all day ($10 at the door).
Fynn's of Temple Bar
The King West after work hotspot is sure to be busy all week with a number of drink specials and tastings occuring Tuesday through Saturday, with a $5 cover charge for a number of festivities on Sunday that kick off with brunch, live music all day from Matt Morgan and Fiddlesticks, and even a magician and a cartoonist.
The Galway Arms
I wasn't going to include this one since it's technically in Etobicoke, but we're all amalgamated here so what the hell? Let's show a little love to Ford Country. Plus it would be a shame to leave off what many consider to be one of the best Irish pubs in the area. They've got great food, one of the best pints of Guinness you'll find, and they are guaranteed to be hopping this weekend. They've got live music Friday, Saturday, and Sunday but I'll forgo the details because let's be honest, if you live around The Galway that's where you're going for St. Patrick's Day. Get there early.
On both Friday and Saturday PJ's will have live entertainment from the appropriate-for-St. Patrick's day band The Irish Guys at 9:30pm as well as a Bushmills whiskey tasting. On Sunday the doors will open at 11am and festivities will kick off with the I-assume-at-this-point-very-tired band, The Irish Guys. Later on there will be music from Mike O 'Grady and all day there will be prizes, giveaways, and an authentic Irish menu. Reservations are accepted for a first seating at 12 noon. After that it is first come, first served.
St. Patrick's Day Club Crawl
If you're looking to spend Saturday evening with young 905ers or are otherwise interested in having what I imagine would be the worst St. Patrick's Day imaginable, why not grab a ticket for this "club crawl"? For just $20 you'll get to bypass the line at The London Tap House, Crocodile Rock, and Tequila Jacks. It's an evening that seems destined to include horrible music, vomiting, and weeping. And if you play your cards right, maybe all three!
Steam Whistle Brewery
What it's lacking in "authenticity," you can bet the Steam Whistle St. Patrick's Day Bash Saturday will more than make up for with two St. Paddy's mainstays: party people wearing green and copious amounts of beer. The party kicks off at 2pm on Saturday, goes to 11pm and costs $15 to get in. If you like your parties big, loud, and crowded (in the best way possible), you need to get down to the Roundhouse for some brewery-fresh Pilsner.
Stout Irish Pub
Things get started early Sunday at this great Cabbagetown pub with an 11am kickoff, and then there's a full day of activity including Irish Dancers at 2:00pm, a face painter (because what day of drinking is complete without face paint?) and live modern Celtic acoustic music from The Gurriers from 7:00pm to 1am.
Aside from requiring alcohol, I don't see the connection between bowling and the Irish, but nevertheless, The Ballroom has seen fit to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Go bowl and enjoy drink specials all weekend including $5 Rickards products, $4 Jameson, $5 Guinness, $4 Rails drinks, Irish fries and Shepard's Pie. Just wash your hands before you eat. Bowling balls are filthy. Seriously.
The Gladstone will feature not only a standard St. Paddy's Day celebration at 7pm with $5 pints, Guinness Poutine and live traditional Irish music, but also a family friendly brunch from 11am to 2pm featuring The Bellwoods Trinity who will bring Irish music and, yes, dancing puppets.
The Irish Embassy
Expect live music, Irish dancing and probably one or two pints of Guinness. Oh, and a whole bunch of rowdy dudes making lots of noise.
Watermark Irish Pub
This Harbourfront bar's St. Patrick's Day Festival starts Wednesday March 13th with a slew of vaguely-related drink specials like $5 Keiths on Wednesday, a Kilkenny tasting Thursday, $4 "Irish shots" on Friday, cheap Caesars and Rolling Rock (the bottle is green!) on Saturday, and a number of giveaways and events leading up to the main event Sunday.
Photos courtesy of Steam Whistle Brewing Company
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