Any local cafe, restaurant, or bar that you step into this weekend will likely be acknowledging St. Patrick’s Day. After all, Baltimore’s food and drink scene is known for going all out with bar crawls, pints of green beer, and festive food specials (see: the green-and-orange swirled bagels at THB or the fancy shamrock sugar cookies at Atwater’s) around the big day in mid-March. But if you’re looking to take a more authentic route, you can’t beat a barstool at one of the area’s Irish pubs. At the warm, welcoming watering holes that we round up below, you can grab a Guinness, listen to real-deal tunes, and fill up on everything from classic corned beef and cabbage to hearty Shepherd’s pie while toasting the Emerald Isle.
An Poitin Stil: At this Timonium fixture, a jam-packed itinerary includes nightly food specials, drink deals, performances, and events leading up to the annual St. Patrick’s Day blowout. Starting at 9 a.m. on March 17, the pub will offer beat-the-clock specials on Guinness Blonde, Harp, Smithwick’s, and Tullamore Dew drinks; five for $25 beer buckets; and $12 32-oz. Crush and mule buckets. Outside, the live music tent will feature local Irish greats like Gaelic Mishap and The Shamrogues from 11 a.m.-1 a.m. 2323 York Road, 410-560-7900
Claddagh Pub: Head to Canton for the 28th-annual Meet in the Street bash at this fan favorite. The two-day celebration on O’Donnell Square will begin on Friday, March 17 and showcase six bands and two DJs throughout the weekend. Grab some food inside before sipping $6 rail drinks and sour bombs after 10 p.m. 2918 O’Donnell Street, 410-522-4220
Delia Foley’s: Throw on your green getup and a pair of sunnies for this annual block party in Federal Hill–where you can chow down on wings, grab a pint, and jam to live music both inside and outside March 17-18. A few important notes: a $10 cover will go into effect at 1 p.m. Friday and last throughout the weekend; the first 500 people through the door will receive a green koozie; and you can score a free drink if you register to become a member of the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association on site. 1439 S. Charles Street, 443-682-9141. $10
Guinness Open Gate Brewery: In true Guinness fashion, Halethorpe’s renowned beer behemoth is celebrating with all things brews and bagpipes every weekend this month. This Thursday through Sunday, enjoy the release of Guinness’ new Irish Barley porter and Honey Clover and Coffee Cream ale, plus trivia, traditional music sessions, and a live set by the 19th Street Band. Among the specials on the food menu will be a ticketed full Irish breakfast on March 17 and a four-course guided beer dinner on March 19. 5001 Washington Boulevard, 443-575-6893.
James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant: Can’t make it across the pond? Just head to James Joyce in Harbor East. Starting at 8 a.m. on March 17, fuel up for the day with a brunch buffet complete with scrambled eggs, bacon, breakfast potatoes, bread pudding French toast, and more. Then sip an Irish coffee before switching over to a smooth Guinness or spicy Jameson drink. The all-day live music lineup highlights performers Richard Osban and Ed Lauer, who will be rocking until 3 a.m. 616 President Street, 410-801-6596
Kelsey’s: Now in their 29th year, the shamrock shenanigans at this Ellicott City favorite just get better with age. Arrive early on the big day for kegs and eggs, plus $5 Guinness pints and Irish coffees, from 8-10 a.m. Then stick around for a special St. Pat’s menu and live music by Brandt Dunn and Mo Stringz all day long. The party will continue throughout the weekend, but don’t come on Monday, March 20. The bar has already planned a sick day to recuperate from the “Irish Flu.”
Mick O’Sheas: You might have already visited this Mt. Vernon stalwart to get a front-row seat to the St Patrick’s Day Parade last weekend. As always, the team is bringing the same energy for the big day on March 17, when the pub will open at 11 a.m. for a no-cover celebration featuring live music and food specials all day long. (Choose from comforting bangers and mash, fish and chips, Shepherds pie, corned beef Reubens, and more.) Be sure to stick around for Donegal X-Press to take the stage at 7 p.m. 328 North Charles Street, 410-539-7504
Quigley’s Half-Irish Pub: Located a stone’s throw from Camden Yards in Ridgely’s Delight, this welcoming pub is getting things started early with penny pints at 6 a.m. You can also look forward to a live DJ, $5 mini car bombs with Guiness, and Irish pub grub specials all day long.
Shannon’s Pub & Grille: This festively decorated Halethorpe hangout is getting the party started with breakfast at 9 a.m., followed by corned beef and cabbage on special at noon. Come decked out in your green and gold to line your stomach with everything from Shepherd’s pie to wings and crab cakes before ordering a pint.
Slainte Irish Pub and Restaurant: Regulars will be happy to hear that the annual 17 Days of St. Patrick shenanigans are, of course, back in full swing at this Fells Point haunt. Enjoy daily specials and fun activities leading up to the big day, when the bar will celebrate with live music by Mike Sharp, Guinness face-in-foam art, and specialty beer tastings beginning at 6 a.m. Another perk: on Saturday morning, Slainte is hosting a hangover brunch for those who get a little too lucky. 1700 Thames Street, 410-563-6600.
Ye Olde Emerald Tavern: Billed as “Baltimore’s St. Patrick’s Day headquarters,” this Parkville staple routinely hosts a multi-day bash featuring an outdoor live music tent and a ton of food specials. Come hungry to enjoy wings smothered in Guinness sauce, corned beef and cabbage with potatoes, Shepherd’s Pie, bangers and mash, and Irish potato soup March 17-18.