Celebrating St. Patrick's Day
Forgo the green beer in favor of some Guinness, Harp, and Smithwick's
"May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past." – P.B. Kerr
More and more restaurants and bars are getting into the game of St. Patrick's Day. Some have the best of intentions and an honest desire to throw a big Irish party. Others are just trying to sell green beer; not that we have anything against green beer, other than it tastes like it looks. Here we have an alphabetical listing of places with big hearts and a love of the Irish soul. These are places that pour Imperial pints, know the proper temperature for their beers, and probably have more whiskeys than just Jameson (God bless its soul!).
Blackfinn Ameripub (11410 Century Oaks Terrace in the Domain; 836-3466) will be offering a special Irish menu and lots of Guinness. This may be your best outpost that far north.
B.D. Riley's (204 E. Sixth; 494-1335) is always a fun place for St. Patrick's Day. Not only are they completely obsessive about the details of their pours (right glass, right temperature, and right technique), but they also make the best fish and chips you'll have between here and Galway. They'll open at 10am and have music until midnight, and there's no cover charge.
Dog and Duck Pub (406 W. 17th; 479-0598). They've been doing this for 23 years now, and they have it down perfect. You'll be able to hear music all day, including the incredible Shoulders, plus the ever-entertaining, two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Ian McLagan and his Bump Band. A great beer list, honest Irish (and British) food, and a celebrated Austin vibe all lead to one of the best deals in town. And admission is free!
Eleven Plates (3801 Capital of TX Hwy. N. Ste. C-200; 328-0110) will be making an all-day menu of corned beef, and, for those who can't get enough Guinness, they'll be making Guinness stew. Irish whiskeys and Guinness will be on sale.
Fadó (214 W. Fourth; 457-0172) throws the biggest St. Patrick's Day party in Austin, closing off the street in front and opening two stages for live music. They start at 9am with breakfast and go until late. This is one place you better wear green or diabolical things will happen to you. Admission is $10, which is a bargain. You'll feel like you're in a Disney version of Ireland.
The Ginger Man (301 Lavaca; 473-8801) will have music from 2-9pm, and the Guinness will be flowing. This is always a big blowout, and since it's close to Fadó, you're guaranteed to be in the middle of a party.
NXNW (10010 Capital of TX Hwy. N.; 467-6969) starts the party at 3pm when head brewer Kevin Roark will start pouring a special cask-conditioned Irish Stout, as well as his Irish Red Ale. NXNW's secret weapon is the ever-talented chef George Powell, who'll be cooking Irish stew and soda bread. There'll be music too.
Opal Divine's will be celebrating at three locations (700 W. Sixth; 3601 S. Congress; 12709 N. MoPac). All will have music from noon-10:30pm. Their motto is "No Green Beer here, just plenty of Texas Craft & Guinness on Draft!" Owner Michael Parker is one of Austin's most genial hosts and when he puts on a party, you can count on fun and great value, starting with the admission price: free!
St. Patrick's Day Austin is moving to the Shoal Creek Event Center this year (8611 N. MoPac; buy tickets online at www.stpatricks dayaustin.com). They'll have live music from noon-9pm and lots of family-friendly events all day. They'll be serving Guinness, Harp, and, our personal favorite, Smithwick's, and they've placed a lifelong ban on green beer, God bless 'em.