Erin go bar-hopping!
A shortlist of Irish pubs for St. Patrick's Day celebrations
Published: March 11, 2011
Gus O'Connor's Irish Pub 42875 Grand River Ave., Novi; 248-465-9670: Opens at 7 a.m., and no cover until 10 a.m. After that, a $10 cover gets you access to both floors on St. Patrick's Day only, a total of 10,000 square feet. Gus O'Connor's wants you to "drink like a champion" and will offer many drink specials, such as $4 domestic drafts, $5 imports, $6 Guinness 20-ouncers and $3 shots. Food choices include corned beef sandwiches, Guinness stew, house-made chips with onion dip, hot dogs and pizzas. Live radio broadcasters from 97.1-FM will join the fun from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Also expect live music, Irish dancers and bagpipers throughout the day.
Irish Tavern 4703 Elizabeth Lake Rd., Waterford; 248-683-9056: Opening at 9 a.m. the entire day will be filled with Irish music from the Entertainers, as well as a live DJ. Bagpipers will play throughout the day and everybody can enjoy the great corned beef specials. Green beer is a must for a St. Patrick's Day celebration and the Irish Tavern will have plenty at standard prices. They'll also serve a Seussian breakfast of green eggs and ham, with $2 dollar beers and shots before 2 p.m. Bonus: If you come in wearing an Irish Tavern T-shirt, you get one free beer before 2 p.m. There will be a $3 cover after 6 p.m. and the tavern will be open until 2 a.m.
John Cowley & Sons 33338 Grand River Ave., Farmington; 248-474-5941: Often lost among the dozens of strip mall restaurants labeled "bar and grille," the classic neighborhood joint is something of a dying art. The food and drink might be great, or it might be terrible — but Cliff and Norm are always there. Not everyone at John Cowley & Sons Irish Pub will know your name, but the spirit of the friendly local watering hole is alive and well on the west side. Cowley's will host the Shawn Riley Band from noon to 5 p.m. After that, there will be — wait for it — Free Beer (sorry, folks, it's the name of the band; Michigan law forbids free beer) from 6 p.m. until closing.
Kennedy's Irish Pub 1055 W. Huron St., Pontiac; 248-681-1050: Opening at 9 a.m., start off your St. Patrick's Day by really getting into the "green" spirit and enjoying a breakfast featuring green eggs and ham. They hadn't hammered out the price yet, but say it will be reasonable. Continue the Irish meal later on by having corned beef and cabbage for dinner. Live music will be performed all day. Last year, they had an awesome Olympic-inspired drinking game: a Green Apple Pucker luge, created for the competitive drinkers. No word on whether they'll have one this year, though.
The Lager House 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668: OK, so years of rockin' and rollin' may have chipped away at the bar's Irish identity, but where else can you chill in the "Jerome P. Cavanagh Social Room" on parade day? Located in the midst of Corktown, it's no surprise that the Lager House hosts a celebration on St. Patrick's Day. On Thursday, March 17, they will likely open a bit later, perhaps 11 a.m., but the party won't stop till 2 a.m. Enjoy live entertainment at night without a cover charge. Also note that they have kicked up their culinary offerings as of late, and will probably have some heavy fare as an antidote to all that Jameson's.
Malarkey's Irish Sports Bar 14980 Dix-Toledo Rd., Southgate; 734-281-2616: Malarkey's will open at 7 a.m. promptly, with an in-house broadcast from WRIF's Anne Carlini from opening until noon, as well as a scrambled eggs and bacon buffet in the back of the bar. After that, expect three live bands, including Two Dudes and a Chick, as well as Wyandotte's Shane Lamay, with DJ Dick entertaining the crowd in between sets. There will be Irish drink specials and green beer, the limited menu will include Irish stew and the "food of the day" will be corned beef and cabbage. They'll be selling tickets for Queen of Hearts, a charity for children suffering hair loss, and Bud, Miller and J�ger girls will be giving away prizes — including T-shirts and beads — all day long.
O'Blivion's Corktown Café 1800 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-962-1383: Occupying a prime spot on the parade route, O'Blivion's Corktown Café is one of the best places to catch the parade on March 13. On Thursday, St. Patrick's Day proper, they'll open at 10 a.m. Live music from Shenanigans and Shillelaghs will commence at 6 p.m., with more hot corned beef sandwiches, hot dogs, and pints of Guinness and Smithwick's.
Old Shillelagh 349 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-964-0007: Come out to join the Shillelagh celebrating St. Patrick's Day. The bar claims to have "the world's hugest St. Patrick's Day party." For the past 20 years, the Shillelagh has celebrated the land of the leprechaun in two heated tents that can hold more than 800 people. There's a $10 cover charge on St. Patrick's Day, when, starting at 7 a.m., giveaways, food and beer will be plentiful. The Shillelagh offers 20 beers on tap and features the "Irish flag shot," a layered drink made with Grand Mariner, Baileys and Midori, resembling the Irish flag. In the past, they've had all sorts of fun stuff in the mix, including an actual wedding. Who knows what will take place amid all the excitement this year, the celebration's 20th anniversary.
O'Mara's 2555 W. 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-399-6750: This brewpub calls itself "Michigan's best-kept Irish dining secret." Their shepherd's pie and Irish stew are menu staples, but they'll also have corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips, chicken pot pies and Reubens. They'll have live Irish entertainment all day, with reservations a must. The day's four seatings include Charlie O'Lattimer (noon- 2:30 p.m.), the J.D. Rockinfellers (3-5:30 p.m.), Rod Coden (6-8:30 p.m.) and the Blackthorn Band (9-11:30 p.m.). The first two shows are $5, reservations required in the dining room, bar seating first-come-first-served. The final two shows are $10 with reservations in the bar still available when we called. Opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 2 a.m.
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