We Love the Nightlife: St. Patrick’s Day Parties
Get decked out in green and practice your Irish accent for the East Bay’s best St. Paddy’s Day soirees.
St. Patrick’s Day tends to bring out the Irish in everyone, whether they can trace their lineage back to the Old Country or the closest they’ve been to the Isles is a bowl of Lucky Charms. Regardless of actual ancestry, St. Patrick’s Day serves as the one holiday where dressing in head-to-toe green is encouraged and sporting a “Kiss me, I’m Irish” pin becomes (halfway) acceptable. Embrace the merciful fact that this year’s holiday falls on a Saturday, order a Guinness (or two), and let out a hearty “Sláinte!” (“to your health”) at any of these St. Pat’s celebrations.
Pleasanton Brew Crawl
Burn off a few of those corned beef and beer calories with a bar crawl through 25 locations on Pleasanton’s Main Street this Friday. Each stop along the crawl features craft beer and food pairings, including corned beef and cabbage with black and tans, green beer, and Guinness. The Pleasanton Brew Crawl encourages participants to don crazy, green leprechaun-wear for a costume contest, and there’s even a photo area to capture lasting memories. Didn’t bring your own festive accessories? You can grab holiday props, make a crazy face, and snap a quick pic in the photo booth.
As of Tuesday, less than 100 tickets remained, so grab one quick online or at Redcoats or Studio Seven. A sellout means you get to join over 700 other attendees along the crawl, rain or shine. The more the merrier! Keep it safe: designated driver tickets are $10, and event programs will include taxi contact info.
Friday, March 16, 6–9 p.m., $30 in advance/$35 day of/$10 designated drivers. Event begins at Museum on Main, 603 Main St., Pleasanton.
In addition to $5 specials on both Irish car bombs and Jameson Irish whiskey, The Crown will pour authentic black and tans, layering the Bass and Guinness in a proper, 20-ounce imperial pint size. Fuel up on corned beef and cabbage during the day, because you’ll need the energy for the DJ and dancing that night.
Saturday, March 17, no cover, 331 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 855-2185.
Norm’s Bar & Grill
Norm’s has focused on making this year’s holiday a celebration for the whole family. While the restaurant and bar will still have drink specials on Guinness and car bombs, this family-friendly event also includes a bounce house and face painting for kids, and a bagpipe band and Irish step dancers in the early evening. Expect the usual corned beef and cabbage, as well as the unexpected: an “authentic leprechaun” will visit Norm’s to spread St. Patrick’s cheer and hand out coins for drinks. Adults can also leave the kids at home and try their hands at beer pong.
Saturday, March 17, noon–10 p.m., no cover, 356 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 552-6676.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a festive party in Blackhawk Plaza. Compete for prizes for the best display of green, dance to live music from classic rock band Lumberyard, sample a selection of Irish food and traditional Irish beverages, and capture the evening with a photo flipbook. The party doesn’t stop at 8: both Stomp and The Prickly Pear Cantina will be holding after-parties.
Saturday, March 17, 6:30¬-8 p.m., free, Blackhawk Plaza, Danville, (925) 736-2751.
Walnut Creek Yacht Club
In addition to a $25 Irish-themed menu, which includes Irish soda bread, four-leaf clover soup, corned beef brisket and cabbage, and an oatmeal cake with an Irish cream sauce, the Walnut Creek Yacht Club will feature $4 all-day specials on Guinness and Irish coffee. The award-winning bar team has also been hard at work crafting specialty cocktails for the holiday. Unique offerings range from the Snake Chaser (Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey, Midori, lemon juice, and simple syrup) to the Irish Mint (Bailey’s Irish cream, green crème de menthe, and Godiva white chocolate liqueur). During a special “craic” hour from 3-6 p.m., you can sample the drinks for just five bucks, and if you find a four-leaf clover, the drink is on the house.
Saturday, March 17, 11:30 a.m.–close, 15555 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 944-3474.
Underground bar Spoontonic, decked out in green and gold in honor of the holiday, will be hosting it’s own unusual take on the festivities. Join bartender Tom, who also does a mean Irish accent, for baby Guinness shots, or go classic with a full-sized Guinness for $5. DJ Kure All and DJ Wrecknodrome will spin everything from standard Irish tunes to modern pub favorites, including hits from famous Celtic groups such as The Cranberries, Dropkick Murphys, and Flogging Molly. For a twist on traditional corned beef and cabbage, try a corned beef zombie (traditionally a cheese-filled bread snack popular at East Bay schools) from Tasty Zombies.
Saturday, March 17, 8 p.m.–2 a.m., no cover, 2580 N. Main St., Ste. A, Walnut Creek, (925) 977-1888.
St. Paddy’s Day Charity Dodgeball Tourney & Irish Pub Games
The Oakland League [http://dodgeball4ever.com/balls/oakland-home] of the World Dodgeball Society makes smacking your friends with rubber balls charitable by holding a dodgeball tournament this St. Pat’s. Teams of nine, preferably decked out in costumes, convene on the courts to throw and dodge in order to raise money for Bushrod Recreation Center, where the tournament is held. Anyone can participate, and if you can’t gather eight friends, organizers will do their best to make sure you play if you’re registered. Following the tournament, nurse your wounds or flaunt your victory at Nick’s Lounge in Berkeley. If you failed on the courts, you’ll have a chance to redeem yourself with games such as dirty limericks, a belching contest, bobbing for potatoes, chug-a-lugs, and Gaelic-oke (Irish karaoke).
Saturday, March 17, 2 p.m. (tournament) and 5:30 p.m. (games), $60 per team of nine/$5 for games only, 560 59th St, Oakland, and 3218 Adeline St., Berkeley.
The Starry Plough Pub and Nightclub
In honor of its 38th annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, The Starry Plough lined up a night of Irish festivities. Driving With Fergus will play traditional dance music and songs of Ireland on instruments ranging from the Irish bouzouki to the flute, and the McBride Irish Dancers will also be on hand with their impressive footwork. John Slaymaker & the Monday Night Céilí Musicians and Dancers, who perform every Monday at The Starry Plough, encourage participation in their Irish social dancing, which can be done in groups of three, four, six, and eight. If you work up an appetite, the kitchen will be dishing out $10 corned beef and cabbage dinners.
Saturday, March 17, 4 p.m., $10, 3101 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, (510) 841-2082.
Gallagher’s Dublin Pub
Notorious for its long lines on the holiday, the team behind Gallagher’s has significantly expanded its square footage in anticipation of the relentless St. Paddy’s Day hoards. For its sixth annual celebration, the bar has added a 3,000-square foot patio and 4,000-square foot enclosed tent in the parking lot, and upped its pouring power. With two full bars in the patio, two full bars in the tent, and two 18-foot trailers for beer (in addition to the bar inside), Gallagher’s hopes to cut down on the time you wait for a drink and up the time you get to spend enjoying the debauchery. The bar will give you ample opportunity throughout the weekend to show (or fake) your Irish pride and get your fill of green beer.
The party actually starts on Thursday, when Gallagher’s rolls out $3 green beers and specials on Guinness and Jameson, which last all weekend. If you favor a different Irish whiskey, Gallagher’s carries five, which will all be on sale. Friday serves as “practice” for the actual celebration, which presumably includes perfecting your fake accent and learning how to chug a car bomb without embarrassing yourself. The St. Patrick’s Day warm-up kicks off at 5 p.m., with Pretending and the Aerodynes taking the patio stage starting at 8 p.m.
For the main event on Saturday, come hungry, because Gallagher’s preps for the holiday with 400 pounds of corned beef and cabbage, a special it’s been serving for the past 28 years. Toucan Jam starts the party on the patio at 2 p.m., and the tent opens at 4 p.m. Throughout the evening, look for lively performances from Meredith McHenry on the patio stage, Wett Willy in the tent, and an epic DJ battle until 2 a.m. in the bar.
The staff at Gallagher’s places an emphasis on having a good time, but also on safety. More than 40 cabs usually converge there to shuttle inebriated patrons, and Markstein Beverage Company will also provide the bar limited cab fare to ensure no one drives.
Thursday, March 15–Saturday, March 17, $5 cover, 6¬–10 p.m., Friday and Saturday. 7821 Amador Valley Blvd., Dublin, (925) 828-5996.
Dublin Sports Pub & Grill
The festivities at Dublin Sports Pub begin on Thursday, when the bar rolls out all-weekend drink specials on green beer, Guinness, Irish car bombs, and a drink called the “Irish Kiss”: a shot of Jameson with a floater of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Thursday also marks the start of their special Irish menu. Sample Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, and chicken and dumplings and a beer beef Irish stew crafted from family recipes.
As far as nightly entertainment, dress up in green garb for Leprechaun Karaoke on Thursday, and dance to live music from Papa’s Garage on Friday and Pladdohg on St. Pat’s, followed by a DJ set on Saturday night. If Irish drinks, food, and music don’t have you thoroughly convinced, on Friday night the pub will host the Jameson girls who usually arrive with festive merchandise—and both the Jager and Bud Light girls will stop by on Saturday.
If you’ve been training for St. Patrick’s Day the whole year and three days of drinking and partying still haven’t destroyed your liver and dignity, head to “The Wake” on Sunday. Dublin Sports Pub’s version of “Irish rehab” includes the same food and drink specials, in addition to a $5 Irish whiskey and green beer offer sponsored by Tullamore Dew. And, out of respect for your pounding head, Brooks Lundy will perform a strictly acoustic set from 3-6 p.m.
Thursday, March 15, 8 p.m., no cover, Friday, March 16, 9 p.m., $5 cover, Saturday, March 17, 7 p.m., $5 cover, Sunday, March 18, 3 p.m., no cover. 7294 San Ramon Rd., Dublin, (925) 587-2333.