Is Glas Beoir Cac

No green beer here, a short list of pubs and eateries for an authentic St. Patty's Day

B.D. Riley's
B.D. Riley's (Photo by John Anderson)

St. Patrick's Day, March 17, is a perennial holiday favorite in Austin. Luckily, we have a cornucopia of places offering real Irish drinks and serious Irish music – places that understand a perfectly pulled Guinness and, over the last several years, have also demonstrated a satisfying surge of interest in Irish liquors. The yummy Jameson is still ubiquitous, but now you can also find delicious alternatives, like Bushmill's Black Bush, Knappogue Castle, or, my favorite of all, Midleton.

As for music, Austin's Celtic music makers will be out in force. Though there are happening joints all over town, the best strategy for those wanting maximally Irish charm would be to make a Downtown trek between Opal Divine's Freehouse, the Ginger Man, Fadó, B.D. Riley's, and the Dog & Duck Pub. That whole agenda would give you a total of about a half-hour of walking, just enough time to sober up between locations. And remember, is glas beoir cac (Irish for "green beer is crap").


Opal Divine's ( will have free music at all three locations (the Freehouse, 700 W. Sixth, 477-3308; Penn Field, 3601 S. Congress, 707-0237; Marina, 12709 MoPac, 733-5353) from noon until 10pm, and will focus not just on Guinness but what may be the largest selection of Texas craft-brewed beers in the state. Acts include Rich Brotherton & Ed Miller, Black Irish, Shootin' Pains, Silver Thistle Pipes & Drum, Poor Man's Fortune, Actin' the Maggot, Shootin' Pains, the Bedlam Bards, and the Robyn Ludwick Band. Also, owner Michael Parker is one of the smartest people around when it comes to Celtic liquors, so plan on finding a good selection at all locations, each of which will be open until 2am.

The Ginger Man (301 Lavaca, 473-8801, is a great place for beer lovers to congregate. As usual, for St. Pat­rick's Day, it will have music from 1pm to 1am and a great rundown of musicians, including Marques Toliver, Lydia Loveless, Eatliz, Jon Langford & the Skull Orchard, the Waco Bros, Ha Ha Tonka, Hoots & Hellmouth, Kingsley Flood, Ryan Schmidt, Cliff Hillis, Mean Creek, McAlister Drive, and Andy Friedman.

Fadó (214 W. Fourth, 457-0172, will offer music on its patio and on the temporarily closed Fourth Street. The bar will open at 6am (!), with music from 2pm to 1:45am, and a cover that varies from $10 to $15 based on the time of day, or $35 for any dedicated souls who want to spend the whole day. Acts include Eamonn O'Connor, Emerald Exiles, Sean Orr, Mysterious Ways, Think Lizzy, LC Rocks, and Irish dancers. As always, they're emphasizing both traditional and contemporary Irish food and drink.

B.D. Riley's Irish Pub (204 E. Sixth, 494-1335, serves Guinness, Harp, Smithwick's (my fave), and Kilkenny, and makes fish-and-chips equal to England's best. The free music will start at noon with Joe Gee, followed by Kenny Tweedy, Chuck Wright, Strayaway, and Jimmy Brown & the Belfast Balladeers (from Ireland). The evening ends with Spit & Tears with Sean Orr.

Dog & Duck Pub (406 W. 17th, 479-0598, has free live music that begins at noon with the Capitol City Highlanders, followed by Jeenna & the Band of Brothers, the Black Irish, Sean Orr & Black Dagger, Ed Miller and Rich Brotherton, Pete & the Pirates (UK), Piñata Protest, the Bremen Riot, the Minus Five, and Ian McLagan & the Bump Band. Some of the city's most colorful characters will be sampling the fine beers and the filling food from Ireland and England.

Farther afield

This year, the Austin St. Patrick's Day Festival returns to Cover 3 (2700 W. Anderson, 374-1121, There will be films, demonstrations, lots of kid-friendly games, and music from the Silver Thistle Pipes & Drums, Raising Jane, the Clickety Cloggers, Cass Academy of Irish Dance, Jeff Moore and Jonathan Milton, and the award-winning David Munnelly Band. Tickets are $8 online or $10 at the door; kids under 13 are free.

At North by Northwest Restaurant & Brewery (10010 Capital of TX Hwy. N., 467-6969,, Jeremy Steding & the Irish Curse Band will start at 6:30pm on the Beer Garden Pavilion, brewer Kevin Roark will tap a firkin cask of Irish Stout at the same time, and the always dependable chef George Powell will be serving Irish stew and soda bread all day.

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downtown Austin, St. Patrick's Day, Opal Divine's, The Ginger Man, Fado, B.D. Riley's Irish Pub, Dog & Duck Pub, Austin St. Patrick's Day Festival, North by Northwest Restaurant & Brewery

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