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St. Patrick's Day in Philadelphia
by Dennis Pitcock
There is no better place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than Philadelphia, where the celebrations are not just one day, but three days of marathon drunken madness. You see, one day just isn't enough for the Philly Irish to party and the pubs to make money, so over 30 years ago a tradition of the Erin Express has started. Smokey Joe’s, a college sports bar in University City, teamed up with some allies to provide 10 buses that run a loop in between 16 bars. It started out as the Saturday before St. Paddy's Day and quickly spread to the Saturday before that as well. The buses run from 12:00 pm to 5:30 pm, but check each bar for its opening time, since the partying continues well after the buses stop. This year you can hop on to the Erin Express on the 5th and the 12th of March. To find out all the details click here.
Don't feel like waiting for the bus? Then crawl your way with 1,000+ festively dressed "Irishmen" in the “Running of the Micks”. This is a crazy pub crawl that walks all over the city, and starts at the top of the “Rocky Steps” in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. People start partying at 11:00 am at their participating local pub, and then meet at the steps at an undisclosed time to walk from pub to pub. There are some buses pulling people from all over Philly and the Suburbs, but they won't prevent the random drunken excursion from occurring on the 12th of March. We recommend you start at Finnegan's Wake before 1:00 pm. To find out more about the 2011 “Running of the Micks” click here.
If you don't feel like getting lost or leaving a perfectly good bar, then perhaps McPatty Fest is for you. McFadden's on 3rd St. is expecting to sell over 1,500 tickets to the indoor/outdoor event that has all day drink specials and a huge tent where Philly's best cover bands perform. The doors/tent opens at noon and the party goes until the legal closing time of 2:00 am on March 12th. Fore more details clicke here.
No matter which event you choose, the hair of the dog will come in handy because Sunday the 13th is the Philadelphia St. Patrick's Day Parade. Which is the 2nd oldest St. Patrick's Day parade in the country. The parade itself starts at 11:00 am at 16th Street and JFK Boulevard, what is luckily an area that has one of the highest concentration of Irish pubs outside of Ireland. If it is too cold, or you are too sober, stop by Fado, McGlinchy's, Tír na nÓg, the Black Sheep Pub, McGillin's, Moriarty's, Fergies, Irish Pub, and more.
And, of course, there is always St. Patrick's Day itself – Thursday March 17, 2011. It's a great day to wear green and head to your local Irish Pub, or just about any of the venues mentioned earlier. On this day, the lucky ones don't have work, or called out of work. Those you can find starting with a Full Irish breakfast at certain places like The Plough and the Stars, and drinking from the wee hours of the morning. Then you have people getting out early and you'll see a spike of attendance around noon. The after work hours get hectic, and we can’t remember what happens after that. Expect lines at the best of places, and they are totally worth it.
Our staff pick for the holiday would be McGillin's which always has cheap booze, cheap cover, and a DJ with all the Irish tunes he could find off the internet, but when there are so many other Irish Pubs nearby, it's hard not to make a pub crawl out of it. Don't forget to ask our staff what we have planned for any of these days and not being Irish does not mean you lack the "Irish Pride" necessary to partake in these celebrations.