A great green reckoning descends upon the city today. The bars will flood with stumbling, shouting multitudes. Faces will flush red behind oversized shamrock glasses. People will fake accents. As an Irish kid from Boston, I know better than to venture into the city on St. Patrick’s Day. You stay at home, your mom makes corned beef and you drink your dad’s beer. Maybe your nine uncles come over and tell really long jokes. In the event, however, that you are determined to hit the streets, we’ve decided to make it a little easier on you. We’ve compiled a list of Irish pubs in the East Village and Lower East Side and judged them based on everything from the likelihood of getting corned beef to the likelihood of having a co-ed spill a neon-green cocktail on you.
Perfect for a non-St. Paddy’s Day St. Paddy’s Day.
This place is classy – all heavy wood, leather barstools and ornate mirrors. “We’re a good, old-fashioned Irish pub,” bartender Frances Hanlon replies when I ask about seeing a menu. In other words, they don’t usually serve food, but you can get brunch on the weekends. This Irish-owned and staffed pub has a huge selection of Irish whiskeys; a pint of Guinness goes for $7 – the same for a shot of Jameson. As far as St. Patrick’s Day goes, Hanlon was incredulous. “What do you mean a party? The door will be open.” 35 Clinton St., Lower East Side. The Sixth Ward
Best for some no-holds-barred revelry
Bartender Kevin Connelly is so amicable you’ll probably stumble out of here thinking you’ve known him your whole life. This authentic Irish pub is throwing an all-out celebration including a bagpipe band, drink specials and a traditional menu. The owner is pretty particular about his Guinness and the pour, so now’s probably the perfect time to start making your way to their wall of 100 Guinnesses – your name engraved and displayed on a plaque for all to admire after you’ve downed your hundredth pint. 191 Orchard St., Lower East Side.
An unpretentious place to fly under the radar
“Best Guinness in the city!” bartender Jim Donn claims in his Irish brogue – you can be the judge of that. They have a pretty solid Happy Hour from 4pm to 7pm and a full menu with basic pub food. St. Pat’s is going to pretty much be business as usual, with a DJ coming in earlier in the night. It’s a good place to get slowly sloshed in some forgiving lighting without missing the Knicks game. 61 Second Ave., East Village.
If you’re avoiding the Irish
According to bartender Danielle Click, this isn’t really an Irish bar at all. When the new owners bought the place, they decided to keep the name. It’s going to be business as usual on St. Pat’s Day, though they are one of the stops on a massive pub crawl. Finnerty’s caters to California transplants, so if you’re a Bay Area sports fan looking for a place to drink tomorrow, look no further. 221 Second Ave., East Village.
The early bird’s St. Pat’s Sanctuary
Sawdust floors, memorabilia abound and limited options – McSorely’s is one of the oldest bars in the city and they’ve got nothing to prove. This dive is Irish-owned and always has been, Steven “Pepe” Zweryczuk explains from his 40 year-old post behind the bar. No Guinness, no whiskey, just dark beer, light beer and cheap food (raw onions, sliced cheddar and saltines, anyone?). The 161-year-old institution opens at 8am on St. Paddy’s Day, “to get people off of the streets and keep our neighbors happy,” says Pepe. 15 E. 7th St., East Village.
St. Mark’s St. Pat’s
St. Dymphna is the patron saint of the mentally ill. Who better to spend your insanely drunk hours with? This little bar has the feel of an old Irish countryside pub (despite being American and Portuguese-owned), and they’ve been on St. Marks for 20 years as of last Monday. If you’re still not convinced, check out Dymphna’s grisly tale here and go pay some homage. 118 St. Marks Pl., East Village.
The Penny Farthing
Get your shamrock necklace here
One of the few places on our list that guarantees a full Irish-grub menu for St. Pat’s – complete with corned beef and cabbage- that should help soak up some of the booze. And if not, they are promising party favors, which should help justify your blood-alcohol levels. 103 Third Ave., East Village.
“Pandemonium,” Jack Crown promises, wide-eyed and grinning. This Irish-owned pub opens its doors at 9am and will have more food and drink than every one of your forty cousins could consume. The “Water of Life” punch, made with lemon sherbert, is just one of three special cocktails that will accompany the Irish menu and music all day (and night) long. 34 E. 4th St., East Village
For the beer lover
Though this pub doesn’t provide much in the way of an Irish menu (they tend toward sliders and quesadillas), they do have 24 beers on tap and are planning some Irish-themed cocktails for Tuesday. The place is loaded with seating – always a plus when you can hardly stand – so you can lean back with your pint brewed in Ireland and watch the shamrocks twirl above your head. 304 Bowery, East Village.
Late Late Bar
Your after-work Irish Car Bomb
This bar hasn’t been around long (it opened in June) but they’re expected a crowd for their St. Pat’s party. Luckily, they’ve got two floors to pack to the gills with their usual clientele – young professionals. In addition to drink specials, bartender Trina Sherlock promises an Irish menu from the moment the doors open. 159 East Houston, Lower East Side.
Avoid the drunken dart players
This unassuming pub covers the basics – pool, darts and Pac Man. “Guinness is the only food,” bartender Brendan Cregan offers, but you can always stumble down the block to Papaya King fuel if your game is a little off. 29 St. Marks Pl., East Village.
The final frontier
Shh! This may be the only place in lower Manhattan where you can enjoy a drink on St. Patrick’s Day in relative peace. This small, cozy basement bar doesn’t open till 2pm, and chances are that at that point your fellow revelers will be too sloshed to leave their posts at every other bar on this list. Bartender Francesca Falacco doesn’t expect nearly the swarm that most bars in the area get on St. Pat’s, so if you must go out but can’t stand to hear one more jig, this is the place for you. 209 E. 5th St., East Village.