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Eat & Drink

St. Patrick's Day Toronto 2014

Posted by Ben Johnson / March 11, 2014

st patricks day torontoSt. Patrick's Day in Toronto tends to get a lot of flack. People like to call it amateur hour, and it's often lamented that the day has become simply an excuse to drink excessively and dress provocatively in green kitsch. And while there's some merit to that, people who love St. Patrick's Day would argue that the day is a great excuse to drink excessively and dress provocatively in green kitsch.

Both sides clearly have their points, and so to make everyone happy I've compiled this list of Toronto's top St. Patrick's Day parties, which take place both on and before the official March 17th date. You can either take note of them so as to avoid the throngs of party-goers wearing green plastic crap and getting shitfaced on Guinness and Jameson, or you can use this as your personal guide to the best places to wear green plastic crap while getting shitfaced on Guinness and Jameson! Sl√°inte!

For all your drinking needs, you might also want to check out these other handy resources:

PRE-ST. PATRICK'S DAY

St. Patrick's Day Loft and Laneway Party at 2nd Floor Events
Get a jumpstart on St. Patrick's Day at this loft and laneway party this Saturday March 15th. Expect a full day filled with classic festivities. Expect to hear sounds from some of Toronto's top local DJ's. Free ping pong will be offered from 2-6pm downstairs at Spin. Plus, there's food courtesy of Micha Kennedy Fries and Caplansky's Food Truck.

Steam Whistle Brewery
Regardless of the occasion, you can typically count on Steam Whistle's parties to provide two things: people dressed up and having a good time and copious amounts of beer. The party kicks off at 2pm on Saturday, goes to midnight and costs $20 to get in. There's entertainment from Brogue, Poor Angus, and the Woodgate-Shamrock Irish Dancers and some of the proceeds will help support the Toronto St. Patrick's Day Parade Society. Arguably the biggest, loudest, most crowded shindig on this list and undoubtedly your best bet for fresh, local beer.

MULTI-DAY CELEBRATIONS

Ceili Cottage
This year, Ceili cottage has five full days of events leading up to St. Patrick's day, beginning on Thursday the 13th with an Irish music jam session and a Guinness pouring contest in their yurt. On Friday there's a cocktail soiree where the appropriate attire is apparently "smoking jackets, Raybans, big hats, fascinators, and fabulous shoes." On Saturday there's a meet, greet and sampling with John Cashman of Cooley Irish Whiskey, and on Sunday there's the St. Patrick's Open Oyster Shucking Contest. On the big day, they'll open at 11am with live music and Irish dancing throughout the day.

An Sibin
In what seems like a good way to test your stomach's mettle, Friday at Au Sibin is "Black Friday" with $6 Guinness and $3 Jägermeister shots. Presumably, if you don't have too much of a "Black Saturday" as a result, you can head back to Au Sibin for live music all weekend, 32oz pitchers of Harp for $9.50 on Sunday and, for Monday, "Two floors of Madness!" including a live celtic jam session and $3.45 shots of Jameson.

PJ O'Brien
On Friday and Saturday night, PJ O'Brien's will feature music from Mike O'Grady, then on Sunday the bar opens at 11am and live music kicks off at 3pm with Mike O'Grady. On St Patrick's day, there's live music starting at 2pm with Amore and then from 6pm onwards it's (can you take a guess?) Mike O'Grady. There will also be Irish dancers on Sunday and Monday (no word on whether or not Mike O'Grady will also be dancing).

Stout Irish Pub
Cabbagetown's best pub gets the party started on Friday and features the ol' buy a litre of Steam Whistle and keep the leprechaun boot deal all weekend (presumably these are big leprechauns). On Sunday and Monday there's music from Celtic duo The Fair Wind, $5 jello shots all weekend, and a complimentary Jameson's sampling on Sunday between 5pm and 7pm. Plus there's face painting. Because Ireland.

Quinn's Steakhouse and Irish Bar
The Sheraton Centre's Irish bar (and sister pub to PJ O'Brien's and The Irish Embassy) will feature a similar lineup to the Embassy given that they too will feature the music of Rick and Bauer and Friends as well as The Wheelhouse Band between the 14th and 17th, but they're also throwing in a band called Raggle Taggle Gypsies Friday night, so there's that. Arguably the best place this weekend to find travelling business people drinking Irish drinks and making bad decisions.

WHERE TO GO ON MARCH 17TH

Allen's and Dora Keogh
Popular adjacent sister bars on the Danforth, Allen's and Dora will likely both be busy on Monday. Both venues will feature a menu showcasing contemporary and traditional Irish food and live music kicks off at 1pm. Dora will have Dab Quigley and Patrick Ourceau playing until 3pm. The Julian Taylor Band takes the stage at 3:30pm and from 8pm until closing there's music from The Gurriers. Next door at Allen's, traditional Irish music begins at 3:15pm, then The Aideen O'Brien Band takes the stage at 8pm. Admission to both bars is $10.

Mill Street's Brew Pub's St. Patrick's Day Brewmaster's Dinner
Join Joel Manning and the folks at Mill Street Brew pub on Friday for a five-course meal that incudes dubblin coddle, spicy pecan pub salad and Irish red jus corned beer colcannon. Naturally, each course is paired with a delicious Mill Street beer, including the brand-spanking-new (and thus far only available in Ottawa) Grapefruit League Imperial IPA. Tickets are $59.99

Mill Street Beer Hall
Next door to the brewpub, The Beer Hall will be celebrating with live music from The Steel City Rovers beginning at 5pm and they'll be serving beer flights featuring Cobblestone Stout, Vanilla Porter, Coffee Porter, and Valley Red Cream Ale. Additionally, there will be $10 stein specials on all day and complimentary appetizers at 5pm.

Brazen Head, The Foggy Dew, Murphy's Law, The Pour House, Pogue Mahone and Watermark
Let's be honest, for the entire FAB Concepts line-up of Irish pubs, St. Patrick's Day is basically Christmas. Their websites feature countdown clocks year-round and I imagine that March 17 usually accounts for a large chunk of their annual profits. In short, you can assume that all their locations will be a safe bet for raucous, vaguely-Irish overindulging on Monday and probably most of the weekend, too. And just to make sure you're wearing green, all of the FAB Concepts owned Irish pubs are offering a $15 St. Paddy's Day t-shirt that allows you to bypass the line at any of their locations on Monday. Binge-drinking guilt easement: $5 from every t-shirt sale goes toward Muscular Dystrophy. You're drinking for a cause!

The Galway Arms
Let's be honest, the details don't matter because if you live in Etobicoke and you're staying in your neighbourhood for St. Patirck's day, you're going to The Galway Arms. Ford Country's best bet for a well-poured Guinness is guaranteed to be busy on Monday (and probably all weekend, too). Get there early.

The Gladstone
The Gladstone will feature food and drink specials on Monday and has brought in two DJs to mark the occasion. There will be musical selections from DJs AJ Frick (of Abracadabra) and Christian Hamilton (of Dementia 13). The listing for the event is the only one I've seen that explicitly tells you NOT to bring your cat, so pet owners take note.

The Irish Embassy
The Irish Embassy is celebrating St. Patrick with a full line-up of Irish musicians, including Rick Bauer and Friends all weekend long and The Wheelhouse Band on Monday evening. There will also be Irish Dancers from the Doyle Academy and a menu that includes Irish stews and corned beef. There's no cover so you can probably expect the place to be rammed most of the weekend and in particular on Sunday before, after and during the St. Patrick's day parade.

The Roy
Currently celebrating their five year anniversary all week, The Roy is already offering up $5 specials March 10th-14th and they will roll the party right into St. Patrick's day celebrations on Monday with music from The Better Half from 3pm-8 pm and Irish Stew to soak up some of the booze.

Beau's All Natural and Rodney Dangerfood at The Drake
One of Ontario's favourite craft brewers is throwing a St. Patrick's Day party and everyone is invited. Join Ottawa's Beau's All Natural Brewing Company at The Drake on Monday where chef Jon Koplimae of Rodney Dangerfood will be serving up Hush Puppies made with Beau's Lugtread and Irish Stew Poutine. The soundtrack will be classic Irish Rovers and The Mahones and, to cover your "green beer" needs, there will be plenty of Beau's Tom Green Milk Stout. Get it?

FOR THE ANTI-ST PATRICK'S SET

$5 pints Mondays at barVolo
Since St. Patrick's day happens to fall on a Monday this year, I'll be taking refuge from the drunken throngs at this cozy Yonge Street craft beer institution where you'll find select pints available for just $5 every Monday. There won't be any green beer and, if you're out on your own stumbling, green-clad pub crawl, please don't join me.

Thanks to Alexander Keith's Galaxy Hop Ale for sponsoring this post.

Keiths Galaxy HopsBen Johnson also writes about beer over on Ben's Beer Blog. Follow him on twitter @Ben_T_Johnson.

Photo by PLTam on Flickr

Discussion

22 Comments

Tony / March 11, 2014 at 09:37 am
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When is St. Patrick's Day this year?
Linsmore Piss / March 11, 2014 at 09:41 am
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Amateur night.
sort of irish / March 11, 2014 at 09:41 am
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You missed the Ireland Funds St. Patrick's Day Lunch, which this year was held on March 7th at the MTCC. It claims status as the largest and longest St. Patrick's Day lunch in the world. Guzzling pints of Guinness with over a thousand Irish and would-be Irish. Damn good time.
Trish / March 11, 2014 at 10:49 am
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Wow the cover photo makes me NOT want to go out for St.Paddy's I don't enjoy an evening out with those clowns.
Hazel McCallion / March 11, 2014 at 10:53 am
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O my wattles! I'm going where Robbie F. is going and I'm taking my video camera!
4 Leafed Clover / March 11, 2014 at 11:41 am
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Honestly, what kind of dullard stick-in-the-mud could dream up complaints about a fun night out? Lord knows we need some celebrations to get over this cold winter. If you don't want to party with those clowns, stay at home.
No fun son replying to a comment from 4 Leafed Clover / March 11, 2014 at 11:57 am
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I can go out any night of the week and not have to deal with:

1) 19 year-olds
2) barf
3) People needing an excuse to get HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMERED.
4) lines to drink Coors Lite that's been dyed green
5) jerks wearing plastic shit from Dollarama.
Shane / March 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm
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I blame the media, it is a Saint's Day after all.
Badbhoy / March 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm
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How did yer plastic paddy pubs like Foggy Dew and Pogue Mahone make the list but no McVeigh's?
tall boy / March 11, 2014 at 02:02 pm
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Yup, it's just a fn excuse to get shit faced and party. This isn't Ireland this is Canada. Do we have a Jamaican day? No. Stupid people in Toronto man. Cha
Marcus Simpson / March 11, 2014 at 02:03 pm
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Second year in a row this list has sucked. I honestly do not believe they even research what is good and just google a few options. No Fionn MacCools and no McVeighs. Television stations had camera crews en masse at both of these locations for many years in a row. Get it together Ben
Michael Saggytets / March 11, 2014 at 02:11 pm
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@tall boy

You have Caribana. Not enough for you? Even though we get drunk its still a better day than Caribana. Less deaths too ;)
Jefferson / March 11, 2014 at 02:34 pm
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Drunk people fighting in bars...you can't get more irish than that
Kurt / March 11, 2014 at 03:31 pm
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If not the Gladstone, where CAN me & my cat get crunk on Monday???
Nick / March 11, 2014 at 05:08 pm
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Cant' wait for the St. Pat's day events this year. Most of them are actually 90% sold out (SPD, St. Party's on Saturday)

Wish this list came earlier

Everyone seems to be picking these up for St. Patrick's Day this year --> Green Onesies (http://www.unitysuit.com)
tall boy replying to a comment from Michael Saggytets / March 11, 2014 at 07:17 pm
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Hey saggy tets what u saying man? Sounds like u racist or something? U think people don'tget hurt atst Patrick's day celebrations dude? Wake up Toronto isn't all black people shooting it's all kinda people doing it people just wanna think it's all blacks fault. Plenty whites messing up the city!
Mike / March 12, 2014 at 04:52 pm
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Goddamnit Ben, get your shit together already.
Ian / March 12, 2014 at 07:48 pm
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OK the cover image is of some Hen holding a sign in front of a Delorean.

Not really something for the Irish to be proud of considering the cars were originally supposed to be built in Puerto Rico until the Ireland Development Agency gave £100 million pounds to the "failed company to have them built in Ireland instead even though it was well know the company had a 1-10 chance of success AND THEN it failed. The cars were manufactured in Ireland but only sold in the USA. Yeah IRELAND!!!!
DonnaDigital / March 12, 2014 at 07:51 pm
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Why am I seeing a French KFC display banner ad on this site? I'll take a screen shot and send to KFC digital. good job theTradeDesk serving me french ads.
seanm replying to a comment from Ian / March 12, 2014 at 11:14 pm
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Yeah, but, Back to the Future. Your comment is invalid.
Paddy O'shea / March 13, 2014 at 09:29 pm
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Hey tall boy I don't ever remember hearing reports of gun fire at the st Patrick's day parade. I do however recall several instances of this happening during caribana each year. If not at the parade itself you can always count on a shot or two going off at a caribana party in the entertainment district! sry bud but facts are facts. When was the last time someone unloaded their pistol at a Pub on st paddys day? As for being racist yes a lot of Irish people IN IRELAND are racist. Not against blacks or any specific race or culture but against everyone whom isn't IRISH. If you have a hard time understanding why this is, you sir, need a history lesson. Did you know that, back in the day, pubs in England used to have signs saying "No blacks, No Irish!" ? Why do you think there are so many damn micks all over the world? Our people were poor and oppressed and left home for search of a better life. Stop bitching,stay home, and let us have our day. Caribana celebrations last for almost the entire month nowadays, making the entire downtown core a no fly zone for paranoid racist white folk like us just saying.
Mike replying to a comment from tall boy / March 21, 2014 at 03:13 pm
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No, but it is mostly black on black shootings. Look at the pictures of the deceased in the last few years. Sometimes, stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. It's called "patterns"

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