St. Patrick's Day Toronto 2015
St. Patrick's Day in Toronto usually arrives with mixed feelings. It's either one of your favourite days of the year because you get to gear up in wacky green attire and drink to excess as virtually every bar in the city does something festive to toast the Emerald Isle, or it's one of the few days you don't hit the pub because your favourite, quiet watering hole is suddenly filled with green-beer sloshing amateurs.
Whatever your personal feelings might be, this list of some of the best spots to partake in St. Paddy's day revelry might serve as either your guide to getting your Irish on, or a list of places to avoid on Tuesday March 17th.
You might also want to check out these other handy resources for all your drinking needs.
TOP SPOTS AND EVENTS
Steam Whistle Brewery
Steam Whistle's claim that they do one thing really well is of course a reference to their beer, but the same might be said for their parties. Count on traditional Irish entertainment, people dressed up, and copious amounts of beer on Saturday March 14th. $20, doors open at 1pm, they'll provide the leprechaun boot to drink from.
As is previous years, Ceili cottage has a full week of events leading up to St. Patrick's day, including live music performances and a DJ on Saturday the 14th for "St. Practice Day," an early opening on Sunday for those taking in the parade, and a four-course Irish Whiskey Dinner in their Yurt on March 16th. On the big day, they'll open at 11am with live music and Irish dancing throughout the day. More details on their facebook page.
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 J채germeister shots. Presumably, if you don't have too much of a "Hangover 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, Irish Fry and Wings night Monday, and "Two floors of Madness!" on Tuesday the 17th including a live celtic jam session and $3.45 shots of Jameson.
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 Red Line Band 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
Stout is promising "Malarkey & Shenanigans" on both Saturday March 14th for St. Practice Day and on the day itself Tuesday. There will be $5 Jameson shots and $16 3oz rum cocktails--presumably to provide shenanigans--and Lucky Charm Lager, the requisite green beer--i.e. the malarkey. Open 8pm to 1m with live music and no cover, skip the gimmicky drinks and enjoy a thoroughly decent draught lineup of craft beer.
Allen's and Dora Keogh
Popular adjacent sister bars on the Danforth, both Allen's and Dora will be busy on St. Paddy's Day with live music provided by Deb Quigley and Patrick Ourceau at Allen's and Julian Taylor and The Gurriers at Dora. Dora will also have a full lineup of live music every night starting on March 11th with events planned for after the parade and a noon opening on the 17th. More details here.
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 Tuesday March 17th for a five-course meal paired with unique beers, live music, and a ceremonial cask-tapper who will be chosen from a contest they're running on social media. It could be you! I see you baby, tappin' that cask. Sorry. Tickets are $59.99
Mill Street Beer Hall
If you can't wait until nightfall to drink Mill Street beers, you might also take in lunch next door at their Beer Hall. They'll be hosting a two-course lunch served with Cobblestone Stout, putting up live music, and running contests all day. Plus the first 100 Guests Will Receive a Cobblestone Stout Gift Pack, so if you love carrying shit around while your day drunk turns to night, show up early! Details here
The Galway Arms
Do you plan on drinking in Etobicoke for St. Patrick's Day? Then you should go to The Galway Arms. Freshest pint o' Guinness this side of Ford-Nation, methinks. Get there early and leave your Escalade at home, please.
The Irish Embassy
There will be a full line-up of Irish musicians, including The Red Line and Andrew Fetterley, Rick Bauer and Friends, and The Wheelhouse Band all weekend long and on Tuesday evening at The Irish Embassy. There will also be Irish Dancers from the Doyle Academy. 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.
Currently celebrating their six year anniversary all week, The Roy is already offering up $6 pints of Guinness and $3 shots of Jameson from March 9th - 16th. They'll roll the festivities into St. Patrick's Day when Leslieville's Local will feature live music from The Better Half from 4pm-9pm.
St. Patrick's Day at Amsterdam Brewhouse
On Saturday, Amsterdam Brewhouse will open their doors from 11am-2am for live music, DJs, pancake breakfasts and, naturally, fresh beer. For the ballers among you, there's also the option to reserve $550.00 VIP seating overlooking the dance floor, which includes bypassing the line, two take-home growlers and a "bag of swag."
The party so cool they acronymized it, SPD's organizers boasted 4,000 attendees at last year's iteration and are hoping to surpass that this year when they dump green dye in their beer Saturday at Sound Academy to prepare for four live bands, six DJs, two outdoor parios, celtic dancers, and, naturally, VIP booths.
I'rish you were here
Going down at The Smiling Buddha on Tuesday, I'rish you were here seems like an awesome remedy to the usual St. Patrick's Day gong show. The event will feature Lucky Bingo, Human Snakes and Ladders, Beer Tasting (obviously), a Trivia Scavenger Hunt, and an Irish Jig Dance off.
St. Patrick's Day Loft Party at 99 Sudbury
If getting drunk with 1,000 people to the beats of electronic music sounds like your ideal St. Patrick's Day party, this is the spot for you. Don't expect quality Guinness to make an appearance.
A popular choice for an authentic St. Patrick's day experience, expect McVeigh's to be busy all day long with libe music from 1pm to closing.
Brazen Head, The Foggy Dew, Murphy's Law, The Pour House, Pogue Mahone and Watermark
Some people live for Christmas, but I'm willing to bet that the folks that own FAB concepts and the various Irish pubs under their corporate umbrella, St. Patrick's Day is the time of year that really gets their bells jingling. All of the pubs' websites feature countdown clocks year-round so you can assume that all their locations will be a safe bet for raucous, vaguely-Irish overindulging on Tuesday 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. Bonus: some proceeds from every t-shirt sale goes toward Second Harvest. You're drinking for a cause!
FOR THE ANTI-ST PATRICK'S SET
Buck-a-shuck oysters at Bar Hop
Since St. Patrick's day happens to fall on a Tuesday this year, I'll be hiding from the green-clad unwashed at this King Street craft beer institution where oysters a just a dollar on Tuesdays. And you won't find any green in your damn beer.
Photo of Steam Whistle's 2014 St. Paddy's bash by Zach Slootsky
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