green beer

St. Patrick’s Day, that holiday when it’s cool to connect those freckles and reddish roots back to The Emerald Isle, is Saturday, March 17. For many of us, though, this unofficial U.S. holiday is mostly about connecting with friends (and strangers) over an all-day celebration of Irish culture.

Lucky for us, there are several local Irish pubs and restaurants where we can do just that — starting at 6am. Here’s an overview of some St. Patty’s Day good-for-the-gob (and ears) hours and specials:

Blarney Stone (Fells Point):

Opens at 9am. No live music, but impressive jukebox selections.

Claddagh Pub (Canton Square):

It’s their 17th Annual “Meet in the Street” with band Mr. Greengenes headlining. They expand their space with heated tents, but if this weather continues they might need air conditioning this year.

Mick O’Shea’s (Mt. Vernon):

Kegs-n-Eggs starts at 10am accompanied by an early bird special on 16oz Guinness pints – $2 from 10am to 11, $3 from 11 to noon, and $4 from noon to 1pm. Enjoy the rugby match between Ireland and England at 1pm and live music from The Spalpeens at 4pm.

Mike McGovern’s (Canton):

 A casual neighborhood bar where specials and Irish toasts delivered from atop the bar come on the fly based on the mood of the day — you’ll just have to pop in to see what they’re feeling this Saturday. View the framed professional photography of Ireland taken by the bar’s namesake while there.

James Joyce Pub (Harbor East)

Opening at 8:30am to televise a rugby tourney, starting with Italy vs. Scotland. Food service starts at 9am. After the match, they roll into live music performances from 11am to close. Among their lineup are both musicians playing more traditional Irish music, like Paul the Piper, and bands like The Arrangement that perform more contemporary Irish music along the lines of U2 or The Pogues.

Ryan’s Daughter (Belvedere Square):

Doors open at 10am, music by traditional Irish balladeers starting at noon, shirts and hats giveaways, and traditional Irish food like their corned beef and cabbage boxty (a stuffed potato pancake) or their savory pies. The charming bartenders are more of an everyday experience there, but a good beer selection and positive vibe always make an event more special.

Sláinte (Fells Point):

Returning to its eighth year of opening at 6am — with news crews broadcasting on site between 5 and 8am. Football games (that’s soccer to us Yanks) air from 7am to 2pm. Traditional Irish dancing starts at 3pm. Beer special is $3 for Heineken, Amstel, and Newcastle — not Irish, they know, but that’s how they do it. Order their fish and chips to feel a bit more traditional.