St. Patrick’s Day is a day of food and drink, harking back to the 1600s. Most traditional observances start with church time, wearing something green (for fear of being pinched) and tons of celebration. Whether or not you consider yourself a shamrock lover or not, there are still plenty of places to eat, drink and be merry. Some places give a taste of the old country while others embrace modern taste while still delivering a touch of the Irish.
2915 Redhill Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
If the spirit of St. Patrick is swelling from deep within or if you just want to grab a drink and sing some karaoke, then Durty Nelly’s should be your first stop. The pub also offers some live Irish music, traditional and modern, while slinging some of the best booze in Orange County. This year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday, a day this pub usually closes up shop, but be sure to spend the Sabbath in Costa Mesa. The menu also offers one of the most traditional round-ups of Irish meals a wannabe Irishman could wish for.
202 Newport Center Drive
Newport, CA 92660
Consistently listed as one of the best Irish pubs in Orange County, Muldoon’s has just about everything you need for a successful St. Patrick’s Day. The pub specializes in authentic food, key to any celebration, and offers live entertainment at no cost. Be sure to stay all night, as this place features two happy hours: one during the day and one for late-night drinkers. Drink specials are its specialty and if you don’t go in for one of the Irish hot dogs, aka “pugs,” you would be doing yourself a disservice.
The Auld Dubliner
2497 Park Ave.
Tustin, CA 92782
If the sports bar vibe is more up your alley, give The Auld Dubliner a shot. With jumbotrons mounted throughout, this bar tries to mix alcohol and testosterone in the best way possible. It offers some of the tastiest salty treats that match up quite nicely with its stellar beer selection. There is plenty of room, so bring friends, family, co-workers and more knowing full well that you won’t be standing shoulder to shoulder all night. This isn’t a traditional pub, so don’t go in looking for shillelaghs and leprechauns: you will be disappointed.
213 Ocean Ave.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Sometimes you just want corned beef and hash, along with whatever other classic meal you find on the menu. But other times you want a new invention, such as the Cap’n Crunch French Toast. This three-tiered establishment offers live music from the house DJ while also offering plenty of space to get down and boogie. If you plan on starting your day really early, the $4 bloody mary will put the pep in your step needed to find your own personal pot of gold. This place gets saucier as the night goes on, so kids are not allowed entry after 9 p.m.
Killarney Pub & Grill
209 Main St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Jameson Whiskey, Guinness and car bombs: two of those are as traditional as a four-leaf clover. The car bomb is likely to start a fight if ordered in front of a true Irishman, but Killarney Pub & Grill is happy to serve you whatever you need to make St. Patrick’s Day a winner. The beers are cheap, starting at $2 a pint, and don’t expect any unfavorable price gouging to occur come March 17th. Killarney stays at its reasonable wages no matter what the holiday. While some places drown you in Celtic flavor or traditional pomp and circumstance, Killarney is the perfect place to go with a group of friends if you’re just looking for a good stiff drink and not a history lesson.
Jesse Seilhan is a writer, editor and photographer from the California Bay Area. After moving to Long Beach, Jesse continues his passion for writing and music by covering concerts, interviewing top artists, and giving a dose of wisdom in a crazy, mixed-up musical world. His work can be found at Examiner.com.