St. Patrick’s Day is, inevitably, a mess. The bars, especially the Irish bars, are overrun by regulars and tourists, habitual drinkers and people who’ve picked that day as one of their five days a year to go out for a pint. Of all those thousands upon thousands of people who are going out, a fraction will have a few too many Guinnesses, and their sloppiness will curve upward exponentially throughout the night until the only people left at the bars are so out of it they think they actually are in Ireland. This St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, so the possibilities for chaos are even higher than usual.
But that chaos is probably what you want out of your St. Patrick’s Day night. If you want to celebrate Irish heritage soberly, in the daylight, the Irish Festival at Seattle Center has a wide range of events for you to choose from. This list right here assumes you want to go out and drink, or at least don’t mind being elbow-to-elbow with people who are drinking. While many bars have specials on St. Patrick’s Day (and all bars have Irish whiskey and beer), these are what some of the most notable Irish bars in Seattle are doing:
Kells Irish Restaurant and Bar
One of Seattle’s biggest and most tourist-friendly Irish bars, this Pike Place Market standby does an entire St. Patrick’s festival every year. On the day itself, Kells will open at 10 a.m. and from noon onward will have music — both Celtic rock and traditional Irish music, by which we mean a U2 cover band. (Entry is $20.) This is likely going to be one of the busiest events in the city so show up early if you plan on trying to sit and eat.
Shawn O’Donnell’s Irish Pub and American Grill
This mini-chain has St. Patrick’s events at all of its Seattle-area locations (Everett, Fremont, and at the bottom of the Smith tower), all of them cover-free. There will be Irish music — mostly of the pipe-and-drum variety — Guinness giveaways, and even an opportunity to meet the Mariner Moose at the Smith Tower from noon until 2 p.m. (Is the moose Irish? We always thought he was Canadian, somehow.) More information and a full schedule of events can be found on Shawn O’Donnell’s website.
Located in Lower Queen Anne a glass-throw away from the Space Needle, this venerable pub is going to be a madhouse on Friday. The afternoon will feature a bagpiper and at 2 p.m. Mercer Street will be shut down as the Seattle Fire Department Irish band performs. There’s no cover (and it’s all ages) until 6 p.m. The bad news for anyone trying to drive down here is that the Carrie Underwood concert at nearby Climate Pledge Arena is going to gridlock this area. But why would you try to drive on St. Patrick’s Day anyway?
Mulleady’s Irish Pub
Okay, confession time: We’re not entirely sure what the food and drink specials are going to be at this Magnolia neighborhood spot. But even their regular menu (featuring Irish items like sausage rolls, soda bread, and colcannon) is reason enough to make the trek away from the tourist-y parts of the city.
This Wallingford institution is a great choice for anyone who wants to start their day off early. It’s open for breaktfast at 9 a.m. and music starts at noon. There’ll be bands or dancers performing from then until 1:30 a.m., and there’s a $10 cover.
This Ballard bar routinely has music but it’s pulling out the stops for St. Patrick’s Day with an entire mini music festival that starts at 12:30 p.m. with some Irish dancing. Traditional Irish music gives way to more rockin’ stuff, and the whole thing closes out with live U2 covers from 11:30 p.m. to whenever.
These aren’t technically Irish bars but they’re a good option for Seattleites who like their stout to be local. Notable brewery events include Reuben’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration, with corned beef and cabbage on the menu and live music at 6 p.m. Down the street at Stoup Brewing, there’ll be a pipe and drum band at 3:30 p.m. and the normally IPA-centric brewery will be releasing a stout.