As much as I love drinking beer and whiskey, I’ve never been a fan of typical St. Patrick’s Day festivities. I’d rather stay home sipping Irish spirits and making Guinness chocolate cupcakes than hit the shitshow that is the local party-bar scene. I mean, the camaraderie I get, but the green beer? The sloppy drunken mass of celebrants? No, thank you. And it’s just perpetuating the stereotype that Irish people have a drinking problem. St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, probably wouldn’t have been cool with that.
And I’m not alone in my curmudgeonliness about the alcoholiday. “We all like a good party but drinking shitty lager full of food dye till they puke a torrent of green liquid surely does not qualify as ‘a good time’ and is definitely not a way to celebrate a Saint,” says Marcus Beer, opinionated Welshman, gaming journalist, and Irish Car Bomb cocktail opponent. Beer’s issue is that the American booze industry has highjacked what is actually a religious feast day in Ireland to “secure a bumper payday every March 17th.”
If you want to really celebrate the spirit of the holiday, Beer suggests that you get some friends together to cook an Irish meal and share some Guinness or Baileys. “Or if you want to celebrate the Saint, how about making up some batches of hot food to give out to the local homeless population? Sounds like a saintly thing to do in my opinion,” he says.
For those who would rather drink well on St. Patrick’s Day, holster your green food dye and drink like Chris Uhde, whiskey expert of Daily Pint. “I would have a three-whisky flight with a Guinness chaser. The first whisky would be a Jameson to symbolize the past and current strength of Irish whisky and to remember that basics about whisky an how it is for everyone,” he says. “The second whisky would be the Red Breast 12 yr to celebrate and remind myself of how closely related Irish whisky and Scotch whisky truly are. The third and final whisky would be a single Cask Irish Whisky From Exclusive Malts. It represents the future of Irish whisky.”
But for those who do want to brave the holiday in L.A., here are some grown-up options. No green face paint required.
Angel City Brewery will kick off its all-day festivities at 2 p.m. No cheap verdant brews here but rather special sippers like Jameson Ale (an Imperial Irish ale) and Rose McEly (an Irish red cask brewed with rose hips). Fill up on Irish nachos, corned beef tacos, and fish and chips from the Irish-themed food trucks and then dance it off with live music from The Vignes Rooftop Revival and Pretty Polly Band. At 9 p.m. the festivities continue with an Off the Ropes comedy show.
At Manhattan House in Manhattan Beach, nosh on head chef Diana Stavaridis’ limited-edition corned beef reuben made with housemade bread, Korean corned beef and kimchi. Drink specials include a shot of Jameson and draft beer for $10 and an Irish Mule (Jameson, ginger beer, and lime) for $8.
Thirty dollars at Golden Road Brewing will not only get you all the draft Irish Red and Irish Stout you can drink but unlimited access to the corned beef (or vegan corned leaf), cabbage and potatoes buffet. The Orange County taproom will have just the all-you-can-drink option for $20.
Find some really decent drink options at The Pikey’s 4th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration: $10 Guinness float or Irish coffee with Stumptown coffee and Guinness foam, a $12 Denver Mint Fizz (Jameson, mint, lemon, orange, club soda), and an $18 flight of four Irish whiskies. And naturally there’s an Irish-inspired menu by Chef Ralph Johnson featuring smoked salmon soda bread, cabbage and boiled bacon with horseradish cream, and black and white pudding with champs and mustard.
Since you’re not in college anymore, trade that Irish Car Bomb for the boilermakers at Everson Royce Bar downtown. For the holiday, the bar will be doing a $20 combo tasting flight and boilermaker featuring Teeling Irish whiskey, Irishman Founder’s Reserve Whiskey, Connemara Peated Irish Whiskey and a half-pine of Boomtown Magic Napper.