The Alternative St. Patrick's Day Drinking Guide

Don’t get us wrong, we love us some old school Irish-style drinking, the whiskey, a freshly (and properly) poured pint of the black stuff, the jovial singing, it’s great. But, we can all admit that the bar experience on St. Patty’s itself, sucks. Overcrowding, lines at 11 am, rookie drinkers puking on their green shirts, yeah, it’s lame. So, this year we’re taking a stand and proposing some alternatives. Let’s spend our mid day drinking at establishments that aren’t a total shit show, but still have fun themes much like your standard (and probably terrible) Irish pub. Then, you can go ahead and visit that local Irish pub the day after an enjoy that pint of Guinness and a Jameson in peace.

Washington D.C.

The Queen Vic
1206 H St., NE, Washington, D.C.
The Queen Vic tries to be as authentically British as possible with their look and setting—there are a ton of Union Jack flags inside. The only exception is that they’ve banned everyone from calling football “soccer.” Apparently, that will get you kicked out. If you don’t make that mistake, though, you’ll have a wide array of English stouts, bitters, ales, and lagers to choose from. But there are also options from France, Germany, Belgium, and Spain. Their justification? Queen Victoria reigned over all of Europe. Look for British food favorites on the menu, like bangers and mash and fish and chips.

The Jack Rose
2007 18th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009
Yup, whiskey is great, especially on St. Patty’s. So why not do it proper justice and visit a great whiskey bar and enjoy it like a gentleman. Sure there’s definitely a time and a place for warm Jameson shots (most Friday nights?), but the speakeasy-style Jack Rose features the one of the largest selection of whiskey in the city including flights and tastings. Once you belly up with a proper whiskey or cocktail, that line of jokers waiting for the bathroom is going to seem a long way off.

New York City

Reichenbach Hall
5 West 37th St., New York, NY
You want an authentic St. Patty’s style throw own with equal amounts of beer and the added benefits of delicious sausages? We thought so. That’s why we heartily endorse a traditional biergarten on St. Patty’s. Featuring fourteen German biers on tap, waitresses in lederhosen and a traditional charcuterie (a sausage grill), this is the place to come to escape to Germany without needing a passport. If you’re feeling the biergarten vibe, Radegast Hall in Brooklyn is an equally awesome spot for an alternative St. Patty’s Day.

Torst
615 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Sure, beer just makes sense on St. Patrick’s Day, but why not skip the Irish beer and hit up one of the country’s best beer bars for an incredible selection of unique brews. To call Torst in Brooklyn just a "beer bar" would be doing it a massive injustice. Opened by Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso, a renowned Danish brewmaster (and founder of Evil Twin Brewing), Torst features one of the most diverse and impressively curated beer lists in the US. Specializing in rare finds, especially sours, Torst is the way to do beer right.

Apotheke

 9 Doyers St., New York, NY
Apotheke takes its inspiration from the absinthe halls of 19th century Paris, so expect a relaxed vibe and an incredibly decorated space dimly lit by vintage fixtures, brick walls, and featuring old medicine labels as decor. Apotheke prides itself on some of the most expertly-crafted cocktails (or prescriptions as they’re called) in the city, including that preparations with ingredients from their own garden, so you’re guaranteed to find something both interesting and delicious. This is a hell of a way to class up St. Patty’s.

Chicago

Hopleaf
5148 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL
You won’t find a better beer list of Belgian beers in the city than at this chill Andersonville spot. Not to be outdone by beer alone, Hopleaf’s impressive selection of brews is equally matched by it’s delicious menu of beer-friendly food like mussels and fries. For our St. Patty’s Day, there’s no better spot in the city to while away the afternoon sipping on beer than at Hopleaf.

Twisted Spoke
501 N. Ogden Ave., Chicago, IL This is a biker bar, but it will probably look nothing like what you have in mind. Even though the sign out front has a skeleton on a vintage bike. Twisted Spoke is artfully decorated with bike parts and accessories, but has more of a lounge feel than somewhere you’d park a Harley. It’s definitely known to attract a pretty diverse crowd, too. There are twenty beers on tap and more than 300(!) varieties of whiskey available. If it’s nice out, there’s a killer roof deck too.

Beauty Bar
1444 West Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL
A retro salon is the last place anyone imagines getting drinks—even with the cool vintage furnishings and hairdryers this one has—but Beauty Bar is here to change your mind about that. Come for the daily drink specials and stay for the eclectic music, which can range from 80’s night to indie dance parties to rap shows. It does get crowded and crazy, though. With six other locations in cities across the country, you’ll definitely want to check it out while you’re traveling.

San Francisco

Mikeller Bar

34 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
SF is chock full of outstanding beer bars that are the perfect alternative to an overcrowded pub and a plastic cup of warm Guiness (Toronado, Monk’s Kettle, Abbot’s Cellar, to name a few) but we’re partial to this Union Square spot that is the first US outpost from the world-famous (well in beer geek circles anyway) Danish brewers. Featuring 42 taps of deliciousness and a cool Nordic vibe, Mikeller Bar is the ideal spot to expand your knowledge of European-style brews that aren’t Irish.

The Devil’s Acre
256 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA
San Francisco has no shortage of really intriguing and unusual theme bars, but there’s one that really stands out, and that’s The Devil’s Acre, which is based on The Barbary Coast of late 19th and early 20th century San Francisco. Originally, The Barbary Coast, which emerged as a result of people heading west in search of gold, became known as a lawless, hedonistic place where gamblers, hard drinkers, and prostitutes gathered to party. Sounds like the perfect St. Patty’s Day vibe, doesn’t it? The Devil’s Acre is fashioned after the saloons that existed back then, but with a lot more sophistication and lot less lawlessness. You’ll find outstanding cocktails and an impressive selection of whiskies at The Devil’s Acre, just try and keep the pirating to yourself, well, for a bit anyway.

Wilson & Wilson

 505 Jones St., San Francisco, CA
Still going through Jessica Jones withdrawals? Then Wilson & Wilson is the bar for you. This speakeasy is a private detective agency-themed bar that’s actually hidden away inside another (and equally as awesome) bar called Bourbon and Branch. Picture secret doorways, dark hallways and a lot of intimacy because a limited number of people are allowed in at a time, so you’ll have to make reservations. The menu has cocktails with on-theme names like the Amoral Drifter and Truth Serum. They offer a great selection of whiskey and bourbon.

Los Angeles

The Tiki Ti

 4427 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Why not go to a Tiki bar on St. Patty’s Day? Our thoughts exactly. This legendary landmark has been serving up deadly concoctions in a hilariously kitschy vibe for longer than anyone can remember. Plus, another one of LA’s best tiki-style bars, The Good Luck Bar, is just a few blocks away.

Father’s Office
3229 Helms Ave, Los Angeles, CA
Highly regarded for it’s impressive craft beer selections and renowned burger, Culver City’s Father’s Office has everything you need for a great St. Patty’s Day. Plus it’s got a massive patio with plenty of seating, perfect to enjoy a crisp IPA and what’s no doubt going to be a sunny St. Patty’s day in LA.