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Food & Drink > Short Order

Irish blessings

A shortlist of Irish pubs for St. Patrick's Day

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Published 3/10/2010

St. Patrick's Day, when it falls on a Sunday, results in one big blast of revelry. But when that big day falls — as it does this year — smack in the middle of the week, St. Patrick's Day becomes a bender that stretches for days, starting with weekend revelry (often dubbed "St. Practice Day" for those who want to get their alcohol tolerance toned up), the Sunday parades, and, for those who must mark the actual day, midweek celebrations that can begin just as St. Patrick's Day dawns over in Dublin (giving revelers a jump of several hours on our late-breaking Eastern Time Zone). In short, it's going to be a crazy week.

In Detroit, crowds will gather as early as the morning for the parade sponsored by the United Irish Societies. The parade begins promptly at 2 p.m. (remember to set those clocks an hour forward Saturday night!), marching down Michigan Avenue from Sixth to 14th streets. (We hear that police will be on the lookout for open containers, so be advised.)

But even if you're not among the throngs lining Michigan on Sunday, there is no shortage of St. Patrick's Day destinations to choose from. The following is just a shortlist of some of the most prominent spots in metro Detroit.


Bailey's Pub
 22091 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-277-3212; 1777 Canton Center Rd., Canton; 734-844-1137; 1965 W. Maple, Troy; 248-435-3044: The Bailey's Pub triumvirate thinks you need a little conditioning before your St. Patrick's Day. All three locations are hosting a "St. Practice Day" in order to get your "tolerance" up for the big day itself. St. Practice Day starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday, complete with plenty of drink specials to get you in that right kind of mood. Of course Bailey's Pub will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day with lots of drink specials and live Irish bands. All three locations will sport TVs for March Madness, more than 30 beers on tap, and enough bagpipers to make your head spin.

The Blarney Stone 27253 Woodward Ave., Berkley; 248-541-1881: In typical St. Patrick's Day fashion, Blarney Stone will have bands all weekend, opening its doors at 11 a.m. Friday and Saturday, noon on Sunday. On St. Patrick's Day, doors open at 7 a.m. Giveaways and contests will go on all day — and they might even have a radio broadcast from the bar. One of the bar's two parking lots will be taken over by a massive, heated beer tent, lending comfort if it's cold.

Callahan's Neighborhood Bar 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills, 248-858-9508: Callahan's is celebrating St. Patrick's Day all day, opening at 11 a.m. Save your money, because Callahan's has free admission. Enjoy Irish beer, Irish food, Irish spirits and Irish music ... well sort of. Expect live music featuring a rockin' blues ensemble, the Linda Ruth Band, and classic rock from Solid State throughout the day.

Claddagh Irish Pub 17800 Haggerty Rd., Livonia; 734-542-8141: Claddagh opens its doors at 6 a.m. for the early birds that have some Irish cheer and want to catch a traditional Irish breakfast of corned beef hash; breakfast will be served until 11 a.m. Radio station 96.3 WDVD will be featuring a live broadcast during breakfast, 6-10 a.m. Entertainment throughout the day and into the evening will consist of Irish dancers, bagpipers and three live bands. Come out and visit your favorite Guinness and Jameson girls. The cover for this event is $10; VIP tickets available early online.

Conor O'Neill's Traditional Irish Pub 318 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-665-2968: The closest thing Ann Arbor has to an Irish bar, Conor O'Neill's, will approach St. Patrick's Day with a little more inclusiveness. Aside from obvious deals on Guinness for Mom and Dad, there will be a kids' dash and face-painting on Sunday, and plenty of wholesome Irish piping and dancing. Opening at 7 a.m. on St. Patrick's Day, Conor's will have live Irish music from the Diggers, and will have Irish dancers and bagpipers throughout the day. If the regular menu is any indication, the St. Patrick's Day fare will be among the best in Michigan at inexpensive prices. Save some room for dessert, because Guinness ice cream sundae and Bailey's Irish Cream cheesecake top Conor O'Neill's dessert menu.

Cowley's Old Village Inn 33338 Grand River Ave., Farmington; 248-474-5941: Cowley's kicks off its St. Patrick's Day celebration at 10 a.m., and the live bands begin at noon and will play until closing, including The Shawn Riley Band and a band called "Free Beer." The Irish-inspired menu will include Irish spring rolls and corned beef and cabbage sandwiches, and Cowley's will serve food till 10 p.m. for those interested in a late-night dinner after a day filled with drinking. Cover for this event is $10 and 21 and older are welcome.

Dick O'Dow's 160 W. Maple Rd., Birmingham; 248-642-1135: Opening at 7 a.m. for breakfast, the big day will see three bands playing, starting at 9 a.m.: The McGlynns, Gerard Smith and Terry Murphy, as well as bagpipers throughout the day. The menu includes many Irish favorites, such as shepherd's pie and Irish stew. Other cuisines are infused with Guinness and Jameson flavors. Don't worry about overpaying just because of St. Patrick's Day, because normal prices will prevail and there will be no cover. Dick O'Dows will be open until 2 a.m. Don't end your Irish celebration after March 17, because the party, along with live Irish music will continue Friday and Saturday as well.

Dooley's Tavern 32500 Gratiot Ave., Roseville; 586-296-2739; 12414 Hall Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-323-3501: Even though Dooley's celebrates St. Patrick's Day every month on the 17th, the actual St. Patrick's Day is their specialty. To keep up with the authentic Irish alcohol, Dooley's is offering $2.50 shots of Jameson and $2.50 pints of Guinness, SmithWicks and Killians. Complete your St. Patty's day experience by enjoying green draft beer for only $1. No cover charge.

Duggan's Irish Pub 31501 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-549-3659: Duggan's will be celebrating its 21st St. Patrick's Day this year. And what better way to celebrate a 21-year anniversary party than with plenty of drinks and entertainment. The two-story, neon-green-lit pub will feature many Irish-inspired traditions. The day's Irish menu will feature corned beef and cabbage, shepherd's pie, a corned beef Rueben and mugs of green beer. Variety is key, and Duggan's offers 26 beers on tap and 37 different bottled beers. In the morning, the pub will host a live broadcast from 89X, Dave and Chuck the Freak, with the stirring sounds of live bagpipes later in the day. No cover; open 7 a.m.-2 a.m.

Foran's Irish Pub 612 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-3043: Foran's makes its home in the historic Grand Trunk Railroad Station on Woodward and Congress. In this historic space, they commonly offer special food, drink and entertainment on the big day. Stop in for their meatloaf that is covered in Jameson Whiskey gravy for only $8. Foran's beer selection is all "home-based." All beers on tap are from Michigan breweries; along with 30 other bottled Michigan beers. Call after 5 p.m. for details.

Gaelic League and Irish American Club 2068 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-964-8700: Wander in on an off-day and its no big whoop: a quiet, smoky private club with green-tinted sunlight streaming in. The barkeep might even joke self-deprecatingly that it's just a "shot-and-a-beer joint." But on St. Patrick's Day, nothing could be further from the truth: On the Sunday before March 17, the Gaelic League is Ground Zero for Detroit's Irish community, a reliable destination for parade day beginning at 2 p.m. The bar doesn't look like much, with a small stage at the end, but step up into the carpeted lounge and it begins to resemble an early 20th century club, with rough plaster, dark, old wood split with age, old-fashioned lanterns on the wall, and even a fireplace flanked with bookcases. And that's not to mention the large hall in the rear where much of the action goes down on parade day. Come early because tents will be set up in the parking lot and live music will begin the celebration at noon. They'll offer beer, corned beef sandwiches, turkey sandwiches and Irish stew to its member patrons. The Gaelic League is about a block west of the parade route, but there's always a huge scene there, both inside the club and out back. Members: free; non-members: $10. And it's a private club, so any shenanigans mean you'll be out on the street. Play nice.

Gus O'Connor's Irish Pub 42875 Grand River Ave., Novi; 248-465-9670: Starting at 7 a.m., a $10 cover gets you access to both floors on St. Patrick's Day only, a total of 10,000 square feet (no cover Friday through Monday). Gus O'Connor's wants you to "drink like a champion" and will offer many drink specials. Food choices include a complimentary breakfast of scrambled eggs, rashers (Irish bacon) and potatoes O'Brien, with a limited menu of corned beef sandwiches and Guinness stew. Live music will be played throughout the day.

Irish Tavern 4703 Elizabeth Lake Rd., Waterford; 248-683-9056: Opening at 9 a.m. the entire day will be filled with Irish music from the Entertainers, as well as a live DJ. Bagpipers will play throughout the day and everybody can enjoy the great corned beef specials. Green beer is a must for a St. Patrick's Day celebration and the Irish Tavern will have plenty at standard prices. There will be a $3 cover after 6 p.m. and the tavern will be open until 2 a.m.

Kennedy's Irish Pub 1055 W. Huron St., Pontiac; 248-681-1050: Opening at 9 a.m., start off your St. Patrick's Day by really getting into the "green" spirit and enjoying a breakfast featuring green eggs and ham. Continue the Irish meal later on by having corned beef and cabbage for dinner. Live music will be performed all day, featuring the Gaels. Try out the Olympic-inspired drinking game by participating in the Green Apple Pucker luge, created for the competitive drinkers.

The Lager House 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668: OK, so years of rockin' and rollin' may have chipped away at the bar's Irish identity, but where else can you chill in the "Jerome P. Cavanagh Social Room" on parade day? Located in the midst of Corktown, it's no surprise that the Lager House will be a prime spot for those enjoying the parade on Sunday, March 14, and continuing the celebration on St. Patrick's Day. Doors will open at 10 a.m. on St. Patty's Day and the party won't stop till 2 a.m. Enjoy live entertainment at night without a cover charge. They usually do some barbecue out back too.

Malarkey's Irish Sports Bar 14980 Dix-Toledo Rd., Southgate; 734-281-2616: Enjoy a scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast with WRIF's Mike in the Morning starting at 7 a.m. Portions of the proceeds from the breakfast will go to help the Kids Safe Network. Continuing the live radio broadcasting, WCSX's Ken Calvert will be there 2-6 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. Malarkeys will have two live bands performing in their 10,000-square-foot tent (opening at 3 p.m.), Ray Street Park and 2 Dudes and a Chick. Inside there will be battling pianos as well as bagpipers and live leprechauns to hype up the Irish spirit. Bud, Miller and Jäger girls will be giving away prizes all day long. The Irish menu includes corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, stuffed cabbage and, of course, green beer.

O'Blivion's Corktown Café 1800 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-962-1383: Occupying a prime spot on the parade route, O'Blivion's Corktown Café is one of the best places to catch the parade on March 14. O'Blivion's will have corned beef and cabbage for lunch, Guinness stout on draft and live music from the Barley Boys Jug Band. Hot dogs, domestic beer and earplugs will also be on hand for confirmed Yanks. Amenities also available March 16 and 17, with the bar open noon-3 p.m. for Sunday's St. Patrick's Day parade.

Old Shillelagh 349 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-964-0007: Come out to join the Shillelagh celebrating St. Patrick's Day. The bar claims to have "the world's hugest St. Patrick's Day party." For the past 10 or 15 years, the Shillelagh has celebrated the land of the leprechaun in two heated tents that can hold more than 800 people. The three-day party begins on March 13. Practice your Irish party spirit on Saturday at the "St. Practice Day" party, which starts at 5 p.m. On Sunday, it's the perfect place to celebrate before and after the parade. Shillelagh invites you to watch them in the parade and party with them afterward. A free shuttle will run to and from Michigan Avenue all night long. Wear your green on Wednesday to the St. Patrick's Day Party, starting at 7 a.m., and tents open at 9 a.m. Giveaways, food and beer will be plentiful. The Shillelagh offers 20 beers on tap and is featuring the "Irish flag shot," made with Grand Mariner, Baileys and Midori, which resembles the orange, white and green flag. Who knows what will take place amid all the excitement this year; $10 cover charge.

O'Mara's 2555 W. 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-399-6750: This brewpub calls itself "Michigan's best-kept Irish dining secret." Their shepherd's pie and Irish stew are menu staples. Those looking to have some Irish fun should make reservations, but St. Patrick's Day will feature four shows with a cover charge of $5 for Inis Cole, the Given Note and a $10 cover for the Blackthorn Band. Opens at noon on St. Patty's and closes at 2 a.m.

O'Tooles 4000 Cass Elizabeth Rd., Waterford; 248-683-3494: O'Tooles will open at 8 a.m. and accommodate live entertainment all day long, with Mike Lush, Joey Spina and the Rev. Right Time. To open up some more space, O'Tooles is using the enclosed deck-patio to add capacity. They'll have the River FM in the house broadcasting live. Drink specials include $3-$4 green beers, bagpipes, and plenty of corned beef; $5 cover after 5 p.m. Closes at 2 a.m.

Rosie O'Grady's 279 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-591-9163; with locations in Chesterfield and Clinton Twp.; Rosie's will have a limited Irish menu, featuring shepherd's pie and Dubliner, specially for the St. Patrick's Day celebration. Not only will there be Guinness beer, but also Guinness brats. $5 cover. If you haven't seen their huge new space on Nine Mile Road yet, you will be amazed when you do.

Sheehan's on the Green 39450 Five Mile Rd., Plymouth; 734-420-0646: This is Sheehan's 33rd Annual St. Patrick's Day Event. By celebrating, they will open their doors at 10 a.m. inviting everybody to partake in the St. Patrick's Day festivity. The menu will include trusty corned beef and cabbage, corned beef sandwiches and Irish stew. Expect live sing-alongs, especially after a few green beers. Don't worry about the weather because Sheehan's will have a heated, covered outdoor patio in case you need to take shelter.

Sean O'Callaghan's 821 Penniman Ave., Plymouth; 734-459-6666: Sean O'Callaghan's keeps up with the Irish authenticity by featuring live music from a band direct from Ireland, The Galway Celts. They will perform noon-2 a.m. on St. Patrick's Day, but you can also catch them on Saturday, March 13. and Sunday, March 14, after the parade. Doors open at 7 a.m. on St. Patty's Day and O'Callaghan's is hosting a "Pot o' Gold Contest," in which the first 100 people will be entered for a $500 drawing and other prizes.

Special thanks to editorial intern Catherine Gasior for helping research and write these listings. See any inaccuracies? Let us know! E-mail mjackman@metrotimes.com or call 313-202-8043.

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