It’s that time of year again when heaping helpings of corned beef and cabbage are served and streams of stout beer and Irish whiskey flow. It’s the day to break out your green, lest you receive a pinch. Join in this weekend, with your fellow San Franciscans, to celebrate Ireland at all the happenings centered around St. Patrick’s Day.
Here in the Bay Area, there’s a decent sized Irish-American population, and almost everyone loves yet another reason to sip on a beer. There are bountiful options to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, who, according to legend, drove the snakes out of the Emerald Isle back in the fifth century.
The 168th Annual San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade, according to organizers, is the largest such event on the West Coast. Downtown and Civic Center will be inundated in a sea of green as thousands of people descend on Market Street to watch Ceili dancers, floats, musicians and more. There is post-parade festival in Civic Center Plaza with plenty of extra entertainment, exhibits, food, and of course, beverages.
Come for the drink, stay for the Craic
While any local watering hole can add green food coloring to a light beer and put up some temporary Guinness advertising, why not make a pilgrimage to one of San Francisco’s legitimate Irish bars? San Francisco has several fantastic venues where the entertainment and imbibing have mixed with enjoyable conversations for multiple generations.
One of the oldest—and best—is the Little Shamrock in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset, where they’ve been serving up drinks since 1893. Inside the cozy confines, you’ll find a variety of antique couches and tables, a dart room, and a fireplace to warm up in front of to stave off that cold Sunset fog. While sipping a drink, one can gaze at a series of vintage black-and-white photographs showing the front of the pub back when Lincoln was still a dirt road, and there’s a horse tied up out front.
The Irish Bank has its traditional St. Patrick’s Day Block Party on the 17th. If you want the party, beer drinking and music in the cool little downtown alley at 10 Mark Lane, this is the place for you.
Honorable Mentions: Ireland’s 32 (3920 Geary Blvd.), The Chieftain (198 Fifth Street), The Blarney Stone (5620 Geary Blvd.), and The Plough and Stars (116 Clement Street) will all be having a good time for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
If You’re Looking for More Irish Culture
Don’t stop the celebration after March 17th. The Irish-American Crossroads Festival runs through March; hosting various Irish cultural events, ranging from music, poetry and dance to lectures, workshops and exhibitions.
Another great resource for those looking to discover a little Irish culture is the United Irish Cultural Center of San Francisco. Located near Ocean Beach, they hold events related to Irish culture all year long.