St. Patrick's Day Revels
St. Patty's Day isn't all about the booze, but booze is good, too
Austin has been extraordinarily lucky over the years. Instead of having to face what the folks in Chicago, Boston, and NYC call "amateur night" (green beer and multitudes of rowdy drunks doing their best to get even drunker), we have serious Celtic music all over town to match up with honest Irish beers, stouts, and ales. So whether you're up for a lilting ballad from Ed Miller or a slam dance with the Black Irish, you'll never be far from a fresh Harp, Guinness, or Smithwick's.
The following locations take St. Patrick's Day very seriously, investing time, effort, and money into throwing a serious party. Each of the six locations (nine counting the three Opal Divine's) offers stellar pub grub with an Irish heart, and all know how to pull a proper Guinness. Music acts are still changing, so be sure to check the websites or call for the full details.
B.D. Riley's Irish Pub (204 E. Sixth, 494-1335, www.bdrileys.com) will be offering some of the best Irish music in town from 11am to 11pm, with no cover. The food is always great, especially the fish and chips ($12.95). Open from 10:30am to 2am.
Bull McCabe's (714 Red River, 472-1170, www.myspace.com/bullmccabesirishpub) isn't offering anything different than its usual honest Irish ambience. This is the place in town you are most likely to hear true Irish accents on both sides of the bar.
The biggest music party in town for St. Patrick's Day is at the Dog & Duck Pub (406 W. 17th, 479-0598, www.dogandduckpub.com). It is quickly approaching its 20th year in Austin, a landmark it's hit by offering great pub grub and by treating brewed beverages with reverence. Music will be from 11am to 11pm, capped off by some un-Irish music from Magic Christian (ex-members of Flamin' Groovies, the Plimsouls, and Blondie) and Austin's great treasure, Ian McLagan & the Bump Band (ex-members of the Small Faces, the Faces, the Rolling Stones, Spirit, Heart, Firefall, and on and on). The pub will be open until 2am.
Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant (214 W. Fourth, 457-0172, www.fadoirishpub.com/austin) will open at 6am for its traditional Irish breakfast. The block out front will be blocked off for pedestrian traffic, and the pub will offer music from 1pm to 2am.
The new place in town is Fiddler's Hearth (301 Barton Springs Rd., 535-5008, www.fiddlershearth.com). Owned by the Meehan family (all of Irish descent), the place is based on the amiable family pubs of rural Ireland. Its event is billed as "the Largest St. Patrick's Day Event in Central Texas." Most importantly, it's bringing in fiddlers of international renown such as Brian Conway, Kevin Burke, and Johnny Gimble (see www.stpatricksdayaustin.com for a full lineup). Tickets are $10, and the music will run from noon to 12mid.
Fancy getting your head shaved for charity? Then head to Mother Egan's Irish Pub (715 W. Sixth, 478-7747, www.motheregansirishpub.com) around 5pm. Otherwise, the music will be running from noon to 1am with a $5 cover. The crowds line up early and stay late, so plan on getting there at the beginning of the day or standing in line. Open until 2am.
All three Opal Divine's (www.opaldivines.com) will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day with generous musical offerings from noon to 10:30pm. Owner Michael Parker not only hires and trains some of the best bartenders in Austin; he also makes sure that each location is chock-full of great beers and top whiskeys from both Ireland and Scotland. All locations will be open until 2am: the Freehouse (700 W. Sixth, 477-3308), Penn Field (3601 S. Congress, 707-0237), Marina (12709 MoPac at Parmer, 733-5353).
These locations will be showing a wee bit of the shamrock spirit, albeit in a more modest manner:
Crown & Anchor Pub (2911 San Jacinto, 322-9168, www.myspace.com/crownandanchorpub)
Draught House Pub (4112 Medical Pkwy., 452-6258, www.draughthouse.com)
Sherlock's Baker St. Pub (9012 Research, 380-9443, www.sherlockspubco.com)
Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery (2701 Parker Rd. in Round Rock, 512/990-5063, www.tiltedkilt.com)