It’s St. Patrick’s Day… bring on the green beer!
You know that saying, “Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day?” Well, we’re taking it to heart this year, scoping the city for the best places to grab a pint, or feast on plates of Irish Stew, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Fish and Chips, and Bangers and Mash.
Of course, if you plan to raise a glass (or three) of green-tinged Guinness this St. Patty’s Day, it helps to know exactly why you’re celebrating. The holiday commemorates Ireland’s premier patron saint, St. Patrick, who was famously credited with driving all the snakes out of Ireland. Every year, it falls on March 17th, which is both St. Patrick’s religious feast day, as well as the anniversary of his death in the fifth century.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to take a reprieve from the restrictions of Lent by eating, drinking, parading, and partying, clad in all-green garb and plastic top hats covered with shamrocks. And you know what the best part is? St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, which means we get to be Irish all weekend long! Erin Go Bragh… Ireland Forever!
McSorley’s Old Ale House
What would St. Patty’s Day be without a trip to McSorley’s Old Ale House? Established in 1854, this East Village landmark is officially the oldest Irish bar in the city. And except for the policy banning women (thankfully lifted in the 1970’s), they’ve pretty much left well enough alone for over 150 years. Forget about fussy cocktails and artisan microbrews, McSorley’s menu remains limited to exactly two choices, Light and Dark House Ale (order a mug of each for $5). And you’d never mistake this no-frills, sawdust on the floors hangout for a gussied up gastropub. A small selection of snacks are unapologetically heavy on the raw onion, like in a Cheese Plate which comes with sliced cheddar, mustard, and a pack of Saltines, a Liverwurst Sandwich, as well as Corned Beef and Cabbage Hash.
The Landmark Tavern
Though hardly a spring chicken, this Hell’s Kitchen tavern missed out on being the “oldest bar in NYC” by 14 years (it opened in 1868). After falling into disrepair, the beloved pub was overhauled by new owner, Michael Young, back in 2005, who installed a tile floor, tin ceilings, beveled mirrors, and mahogany paneling. So grab a stool at the handsome bar (carved from one piece of wood) this St. Patrick’s Day and indulge in a single-malt whiskey. There are over a dozen selections to choose from, like Dalwhinnie 15 year, MacCallan 12 year, or Glenkinchie 10 year. Or, you can retire to the refurbished dining room for a traditional Irish meal of Corned Beef and Cabbage, Beer Battered Fish & Chips, or Irish Bangers & Mash, served with mashed potatoes, caramelized onions and green peas.
Courgette, a new Mediterranean bistro in the Midtown’s Dream Hotel, may not seem like the obvious spot for all things Irish. But on Saturday, March 16th, chef Andrey Korobyak will forgo his standard menu of Crispy Pork Belly with Truffle Honey and Rock Shrimp Ravioli in favor of “farm to table Irish fare.” Think Duck Shepherd’s Pie and Corned Beef & Cabbage with Pomme Puree. Even more celebratory is the “Saints and Serpents Happy Hour” from March 11th-16th, where guests can pay homage to the banished reptile with a slew of snake-inspired cocktails. How about a “Basilisk Martini” with Irish Whiskey, or a glass of “Anti-Venom” with Creme de Menthe and Chartreuse?
Here’s another rather off-the-beaten-path option for Sunday. Dinner at Siro’s, the Saratoga Springs transplant backed by Entourage stars, Kevin Connolly and Kevin Dillon. Though the regular menu at this midtown spot generally skews more Asian-Italian (think Linguine with White Clam Sauce and Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi with Shoyu), there’s a special St. Patrick’s Day feast, perfectly geared to the upcoming holiday. The $45 prix fixe will include Traditional Irish Stew, Smoked Haddock Soup, Braised Spiced Corned Beef, and a Butter Beer Dessert. And something tells us there might even be a green-tinged cocktail or two. Slainté (cheers)!
It’s hard to miss this Brooklyn bar. Painted a vibrant emerald green, it certainly sticks out amongst all the staid, seasonal American restaurants on Smith Street in Cobble Hill. And the menu is just as irreverent, featuring fun to eat fare, like Fresh Cut Chips with Bacon & Gravy, and hangover cure-alls, like a Full Irish Breakfast with black and white pudding, grilled tomato, and Batchelor’s Baked Beans. Add in a pint of Guinness and a pair of Irish fiddlers, and the Irish experience is everything you’d want on St. Patrick’s Day.
Cronin and Phelan’s
This good-natured Astoria bar and restaurant is entirely without pretense… the perfect place to unwind with a pint or tuck into a hearty bowl of Irish Lamb Stew. And the special St. Patty’s menu is just as straightforward and comforting. Start with Cream of Potato and Leek Soup, followed by a heaping plate of Corned Beef & Cabbage, Shepherds Pie, Fish and Chips, or Bangers and Mash. The Homemade Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie sounds mighty tempting for dessert, but you can always just order up another pint of Guinness. It’s considered to be a meal in a glass, you know.
The Long Room Bar and Restaurant
Modeled after the Long Room library at Trinity College in Dublin (which houses the famed Book of Kells, an illuminated Gospel manuscript), this Times Square gastropub is all about ambiance. Have a pint of Harp or Guinness at the vast marble bar, or relax with a Magners Cider or Kilkenny’s Irish Cream on one of the sofas, flanking a dramatic stone fireplace. There’s also an extensive menu of refined Irish eats, like Pan-Seared Shetland Isle Salmon with sweet corn cakes, Chicken Shepherd’s Pie with leeks, portobello mushrooms and Boursin mashed potatoes, and Dublin Coddle-Roasted Potatoes, and Mini Sausages topped with Fried Eggs. Come hungry because there’s a lot of worthwhile grub to eat!