There’s no wrong way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday: From early in the morning until very late at night, there are plenty of diversions around town, many of which involve swilling green beer, listening to fiddle players and downing large quantities of corned beef and cabbage.
If you want to see everything that’s going on, Fritz put together a list of the day’s best events, but let me help you navigate the bewildering volume of St. Paddy’s Day diversions.
Without further ado:
Best bar for an eye-opener: If you need to throw a few back with breakfast or (oh dear) before work, we’re calling it a tie between the 9:30 Club and McFadden’s. 9:30 plays host to DC101’s Elliot Segal and Elliot in the Morning’s Kegs & Eggs 12. Switchfoot and Carbon Leaf are among the performers to go along with plenty of Guinness. Admission is free and doors open at 7 a.m. Meanwhile, McFadden’s Morning Mayhem is where you’ll find free breakfast and $1.17 mimosas, bloody marys, Coors Lights and Blue Moons from 8 to 10 a.m.
Best bar for a traditional St. Patrick’s Day: And by traditional, we mean wall-to-wall people, Irish music and dark, pub-style decor: It’s another tie between the Dubliner in D.C. and Ireland’s Four Courts in Arlington. The Dubliner offers multiple bars inside and out to help get more Guinness to the thirsty masses. After work ends, the place is wall-to-wall people: Arrive before 5 p.m. or wait in what seems like one of the longest lines in Washington. And speaking of crowd management, the Four Courts erects a huge tent in the rear parking lot to keep things moving. They even remove the tables after 2:30 p.m. to make more space for revelers. Food is served all day and there’s an Irish hot dog bar at the main bar.
Best bar for a classier St. Patrick’s Day celebration: If you confuse a Scottish accent for an Irish one, the speaker likely won’t be pleased — but at least you didn’t think they were English. D.C.’s Againn has no problem with you getting Irish on Thursday, however: They'll serve upscale shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, pints of prawns in Marie Rose sauce ($15 apiece) or Guinness-soaked pretzels ($6). There’s a $5 cover after 4 p.m.
Best bar if you want to avoid green beer at all costs: There won’t be any green Bud Light served at the Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan. Instead, check out the impressive new basement beer bar for pints of Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Conway Irish Ale, along with nearly 30 other beers on tap.
Best bar for a cheap St. Patrick’s Day: It has to be D.C.’s Town Tavern, hands down. It doesn’t dare try to pass itself off as a so-called Irish bar, but with these prices, you won’t care: Doors open at 3 p.m., and pints of Guinness sell for $5 until close. From 7 to 10, the bar is selling $5 pitchers of domestic beer, which naturally includes green Bud Light. And from 9 to 11, there's an open bar for anyone who wants free drinks -- all you have to do is RSVP on the Town Tavern Web site, www.towntaverndc.com.
Funniest St. Patrick’s Day that has nothing to do with bars or drinking: It’s the Craicdown!, presented by Irish thespians Solas Nua and the Washington Improv Troupe at the Source. It’s a spontaneous program featuring skits, limericks, open scenes and even an improvised Irish wake — and anyone who has watched “The Wire” might have an idea of what that looks like. Doors open at 8 p.m. Buy your tickets here.
Best thing to do Thursday that has nothing to do with saints, Ireland or the color green: D.C. United manager Ben Olsen will serve free half-smokes at Ben’s Chili Bowl from 6 to 7 p.m. alongside players Charlie Davies and Dax McCarty; they’re free all day long if you’re wearing United gear. There’s also some basketball tournament that has lots of people talking.