Erin go bar-hopping!
A shortlist of Irish pubs for St. Patrick's Day celebrations
Published: March 11, 2011
Bailey's Pub 22091 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-277-3212; 1777 Canton Center Rd., Canton; 734-844-1137; 1965 W. Maple, Troy; 248-435-3044: The Bailey's Pub triumvirate will be marking St. Patrick's Day in style this year. The Canton location will open at 9 a.m., ready to party. If your group maybe loves hoops about as much as corned beef, Bailey's could be the perfect place. In Canton, the 35 televisions, tuned to NCAA, will help bring out the man-cry, as will libations that include not just $3 green Bud Light, but 30-plus beers on tap and many more bottled brews. A reasonably priced menu of above-average food will help bring bingers back from the brink, and a DJ from 9 p.m. to close will keep the party going. The formula will be much the same in Dearborn, but with a live band from 2 to 7 p.m., the Duffy King Koalition. Expect green beer, Guinness, corned beef and cabbage, as well as Reuben sandwiches. In the lounge will be March Madness with the sound on, and DJ I-MiX from 9 to close. Up in Troy it will be even more sports-centric, with MSU societies cheering on college ballers. At all Bailey's locations there will be no cover this year.
The Blarney Stone 27253 Woodward Ave., Berkley; 248-541-1881: In typical St. Patrick's Day fashion, Blarney Stone, a cozy little den full of classic Irish pride conveniently located on Woodward Avenue, will have bagpipes blaring and the green beer flowing. There will be many liquor companies doing promotions — which means free liquor giveaways. This lively, impossibly cluttered little bar will be jam-packed, so one of the bar's two parking lots will be taken over by a massive, heated beer tent, lending comfort if it's cold. There are plenty of beers either on tap or in bottles, with Guinness drawn in the traditional manner, as the bartender permits some time to elapse before topping it off.
Callahan's Neighborhood Bar 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills, 248-858-9508: Callahan's will be celebrating St. Paddy's with live music from Tab Benoit, the "Cajun-Irishman." And there is never any shortage of Irish and American food at Callahan's. Don't worry, vegetarians: they offer a garden burger in case all the buffalo wings and steak sandwiches freak you out.
Claddagh Irish Pub 17800 Haggerty Rd., Livonia; 734-542-8141: Claddagh is the spot for those who like their St. Paddy's Day to begin way earlier than that of your average rookie: the joint will be opening at 7 a.m. After 3 p.m., there will be a cover charge of $5. Irish dancers and the "Guinness Girls" will be around to really set the mood.
Conor O'Neill's Traditional Irish Pub 318 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-665-2968: All day St. Patrick's Day — that is, from noon until closing — Conor O'Neill's will feature a full-on blast of Irish festivities, ranging from dancers to pipers to bands. Beyond that, there will be hourly drink specials.
Dick O'Dow's 160 W. Maple Rd., Birmingham; 248-642-1135: For the past 15 years, Dick O'Dow's has been Birmingham's most popular unpretentious watering hole. Created by the late Dick O'Connor, Peter Dow and Mitch Black in the central shopping district on Maple, the dimly lit pub, graced with simple wooden tables and chairs, faded wall murals from the Book of Kells, agricultural paraphernalia and a wide variety of Irish kitsch, is a surprisingly accurate re-creation of a rural local in the Ould Sod. In fact, much of the bar was constructed in Ireland and shipped to Birmingham by a Guinness subsidiary. With its wooden panels of deep, dark brown and its dimly-lit, atmospheric look, Dick O'Dow's is typically a prime locale for foamy beer as rich as the conversation that accompanies it. But on St. Patrick's Day, Dick's bursts with more than enough of the revelry that defines the holiday. It will be opening at 7 a.m.; three bands will be playing throughout the day. There is no cover charge. Be sure to ask about the Irish whiskey tasting.
Dooley's Tavern 32500 Gratiot Ave., Roseville; 586-296-2739; 12414 Hall Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-323-3501: Even though Dooley's celebrates St. Patrick's Day every month on the 17th, the actual St. Patrick's Day is their specialty. What else would you expect from a tavern whose website prominently displays the questions "Are You Ready?" under St. Paddy's date?
Duggan's Irish Pub 31501 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-549-3659: In addition to the normal dosages of Irish food and heavy Irish drinking, Duggan's — the multi-floor, Woodward Avenue bastion of spirits, darts, and sports-talk — will be the location of two radio broadcasts, one from 99.5-FM and the other from WOMC, during the day on St. Patrick's Day. Brothers of the Sea will give a live performance in the evening.
Foran's Irish Pub 612 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-3043: Foran's makes its home in the historic Grand Trunk Railroad Station on Woodward and Congress. In this historic space, they commonly offer special food, drink and entertainment on the big day. Stop in for their meatloaf that is covered in Jameson Whiskey gravy for only $8.75. Foran's beer selection is all "home-based." All beers on tap are from Michigan breweries; along with 30 other bottled Michigan beers. Call after 5 p.m. for details.
Gaelic League and Irish American Club 2068 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-964-8700: Wander in on an off-day and its no big whoop: a quiet, smoky private club with green-tinted sunlight streaming in. The barkeep might even joke self-deprecatingly that it's just a "shot-and-a-beer joint." But on the day of the St. Patrick's Day parade, nothing could be further from the truth. It's also darn lively on the day itself, even if it falls on a weekday. The bar doesn't look like much, with a small stage at the end, but step up into the carpeted lounge and it begins to resemble an early 20th century club, with rough plaster, dark, old wood split with age, old-fashioned lanterns on the wall, and even a fireplace flanked with bookcases. And that's not to mention the large hall in the rear where much of the action goes down on parade day. Come early because tents will be set up in the parking lot and live music will begin the celebration at noon. They'll offer beer, corned beef sandwiches, turkey sandwiches and Irish stew to member patrons. The Gaelic League is about a block west of the parade route, but there's always a huge scene there, both inside the club and out back. Members: free; non-members: $10. And it's a private club, so any shenanigans mean you'll be out on the street. Play nice.
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