Do’s and Don’ts for St. Patrick’s Day

Courtesy Maryland Historical Society
Courtesy Maryland Historical Society

A few holidays are called “amateur nights.” New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day are in the top tier. Followed closely by Halloween and Cinco de Mayo. These are nights when it is not uncommon to walk into a public restroom and see someone with their head in a toilet, regretting their choices for the past few hours.

So I’m here to offer a few tips on how to have a great St. Patrick’s Day without being that guy.

Do: Celebrate Irish heritage regardless of how Irish you are or aren’t. The Irish have a great heritage and one that is important especially on the eastern seaboard of the United States. Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Washington DC were all significant points of entry for Irish immigrants from the 1600 to the 1900. The Irish also represent the plight of many immigrant groups in the United States. When they arrived they were heavily discriminated against, and considered to be an inferior people. This is something that many modern immigrant groups can certainly relate to.

pearl2013Don’t: You don’t need to drink Guinness. In fact you don’t need to drink an Irish beer. If you want to have the Irish spirit, have a locally brewed Dry Irish Stout. I’m in Maryland, so my go to Dry Stout is Flying Dog’s Pearl Necklace. It’s a wonderful Dry Stout, that is sessionable, local, and it benefits the Oyster Recovery Partnership. Remember, St. Patrick’s Day as we know it today started in the US, not Ireland. So drink local.

Do: Drink responsibly. I shouldn’t have to say this, but St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional binge drinking day. While I certainly don’t condone binge drinking, if that is what you are planning on doing, please make sure you have someone to get your butt home safely.

Don’t: Don’t go to a national chain to celebrate. I’m sure a lot of you like going to places like The Tilted Kilt, but please support your local establishments.

Do: Check out some of the more traditional Irish pubs the area has to offer. Patrick’s of Pratt Street is the oldest Irish pub in the US. Founded in 1847,it has been in the same location since 1862. Liam Flynn’s Ale House in Station North features some great beer and authentic pub atmosphere. There are also many outside the city like Kelsey’s in Ellicott City and I can’t forget about one of my former employers, Shannon’s Saloon in Ellicott City. An Poitin Stil north of the city offers an authentic Irish Pub feeling as well. Wherever you live there is likely an Irish Pub that should be a great place to grab a pint on St. Patty’s Day.

Don’t: Don’t forget to be patient. Most Irish pubs are going to be extremely busy and their employees know that this is a big day too. Having worked many St. Patty’s Days in an Irish pub I know how difficult and what a mad house it is. Your bartender or server is trying to do their best to serve you, but you need to remember things might take a little longer.

Courtesy David Bailey
Courtesy David Bailey

Do: Check out some of the other Irish events in the area. The Irish Railroad Workers Museum has a walking tour on Saturday March 15th at 10:30am. This is also very close to Patrick’s of Pratt Street. On Sunday March 16th is the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade from Mt. Vernon Square to the Inner Harbor.

Do: St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just about drinking beer. There are also some great Irish Whiskeys out there. Check out some of my favorites like Redbreast or Tyrconnell.

St. Patrick’s Day is a great time. It’s one of the most festive holidays in Baltimore. The biggest DO is enjoy yourself. Meet some friends, make some new ones.