St. Patrick’s Day, which dates back to the 17th century, has evolved into an international party celebrating Irish culture. From bagpipes to special eats, most of these customs are more American invention than Irish tradition, but nonetheless, we’re fully onboard for the festivities.
Here’s how to celebrate being Irish — or Irish-of-heart — this St. Patrick's Day in Houston, plus a number of places that match up.
As the saying goes, “Anyone acquainted with Ireland knows that the morning of St. Patrick’s Day consists of the night of the seventeenth of March flavored strongly with the morning of the eighteenth.” Imbibing alcohol, including green lagers, stouts, and ales, got its start thanks to the Irish custom of floating a clover in your drink for good fortune. Of course, it wouldn’t be St. Patty’s Day without a shot of whiskey. Clink glasses and toast as you declare “Slainte” (to your health/cheers).
Where to go:
The St. Patty’s Day specials at Montrose-area hotspot, Doc's, include $3 Irish whiskey shots, $3 Irish Car Bombs (beer cocktail) and $4 green beer. Soak it all up with your choice of beef, buffalo chicken, pork carnita, fried fish or smoked bacon sliders ($5 each) and cheese fries ($5).
The celebration at NextDoor Bar in Memorial starts at 11 a.m. and features a deal on green beer ($3), green Jell-O shots ($2), Irish Car Bombs ($6) and 100-oz. Bud Lights ($18). Snack on chicken or beef tacos, priced at $6 for two.
Dance a jig
Music, an ancient and important part of Irish culture, is associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Musicians are dedicated to making sure that the holiday is full of nostalgic Irish tunes, which incorporate instruments such as the fiddle, bagpipes, tin whistle (a nickel-silver flute) and bodhran (ancient type of drum).
Where to go:
Dance the day away the Mucky Duck (tickets: $20 per person). The entertainment lineup kicks off at 11 a.m. and features Irish dancers and both traditional and contemporary Celtic music via a laundry list of bands.
Groove to music by bagpipers as well as bands such as Electric Circus, Space Rockers and Pork Belly at the Westheimer locale of Sherlock’s (tickets: $7 in advance; $10 at the door). The pub will also offer plenty of green beer and Irish fare.
Three stages will see performances by 10 bands, plus bagpipers, at the pub's downtown location (tickets: no cover before 3 p.m.; $10-$50 per person after 3 p.m.). Early birds rejoice, doors open for breakfast at 6 a.m. (think Lucky Charms and breakfast tacos) while the bar opens at 7 a.m.
Bagpipers and the Bourbon Street Band will get celebrants up and dancing at this longtime Irish pub on Sandman street, near Richmond and S. Shepherd. It opens at noon on St. Patrick's Day. The nearby Buttz food truck will be open to serve hungry partygoers.
St. Pat’s eats
The St. Patrick's Day meal of corned beef and cabbage is actually not an Irish dish. In the 19th century, with money sparse, Irish immigrants in states substituted corned beef for Irish bacon because of the low cost and added cabbage, the least expensive vegetable. Today, it's an Irish American tradition.
Where to go:
Dig into Shepherd's stew ($11), pizza topped with shredded corned beef ($14) and more at downtown’s Phoenicia. Pair your meal with a refreshing flight of beer ($4).
Expect traditional corned beef and cabbage at the West Side pub (no cover charge). Throw back a green beer while you listen to songs performed by Ireland-native Liam Tierney, as well as bagpipers.
Shades of green
Blue is thought to be the original the color associated with the holiday, so why do we wear green? The change came about due to Ireland’s nickname, The Emerald Isle, and from the custom of wearing shamrock in your lapel on St. Patrick’s Day. Donning the color, now ubiquitous with St. Pat's in the States, is said to make you invisible to leprechauns who will pinch you otherwise. Keeping with tradition, below are several spots with long-time annual celebrations that are sure to please.
Where to go:
Kenneally's hosts its 32nd annual St. Patrick's Day event ($10 per person) this Tuesday. Get your fill of green beer and Irish fare, from stew to corned beef sandwiches. Bagpipers and bands like Luther and the Healers and Grand Old Grizzly will provide entertainment.
You can’t go wrong with the St. Patrick’s Day party, now in its 50th year, at the Irish pub in Rice Village (tickets: $5-$15 per person). The revelry will include tunes by nine bands and a full bar menu with green beer (while it lasts).
The neighborhood bar on lower Richmond Ave tents its sizable outdoor deck for a St. Patty's Day party that begins at noon, with live music, Irish dancers, bagpipers and food and drink specials.
Have we missed your favorite place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Let us know in the comments section below.