St. Patrick's Day falling on a Saturday is a boon for those who want to honor their Irish heritage by partying at 8 a.m. No need to burn a vacation day! No need to worry about smelling like Guinness when you roll into the office after that early-morning Kegs and Eggs at the pub!
(On the other hand, if you've always wanted to wait in line at the Dubliner for the 44-cent pints of Guinness offered between 9 and 10 a.m., this is probably the year to do it.)
While some people are going to turn Saturday into an extended pub crawl — who doesn't love waiting in line, paying a cover to get into an overcrowded bar and sipping beer from a plastic cup? — there are others who want to do something that involves Irish culture and booze without the hassle. This list is for them.
Understanding Irish Whiskey at Petworth Citizen: On St. Patrick's Day, most revelers reach for Jameson or Bushmills when they want an Irish whiskey. But there's more out there than the megabrands. Dan Searing and Kelly Young, who lead the monthly Whisky Brothers tasting at Petworth Citizen, are hosting a class that will cover the ins and outs of new craft start-ups, traditional pot still whiskeys (made from a blend of malted and unmalted barley), and the popular blended styles. Searing teases that they'll have a few rare bottles to taste, including Green Spot Chateau Montelena, which is finished in French oak wine casks. 7 to 9 p.m. $45.50.
“Sights and Sounds of Ireland Today” at Dupont Underground: Irish arts organization Solas Nua — Irish for “New Light” — has organized “Sights and Sounds of Ireland Today,” an exhibition of contemporary video works by 21 Irish artists in the former trolley tunnels under Dupont Circle. Friday’s opening-night reception features a conversation with curator Jackie Hoysted, Andy Johnson of the Corcoran School of Art and Design and artist Jonah King, whose work is featured in the show. 7 p.m. $10.
Irish-American Heritage Tour at the Smithsonian American Art Museum: According to the last census, more than 34 million Americans claim primarily or partially Irish heritage — the second largest ancestry after German. A guided tour of the Smithsonian American Art Museum looks at works by Irish and Irish-American artists in the museum's collection, and their larger contributions to American art. 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Free.
St. Patrick's Day at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery: Guinness has become the default adult beverage on St. Patrick's Day, so why not spend the 17th drinking a Guinness at the brewery? You don't even need a last-minute plane ticket to Dublin: The five-month-old Guinness Open Gate Brewery, located in Halethorpe, Md., is the Irish beer giant's first American brewery since the 1950s. While the flagship Guinness Stout and its sister brands, such Foreign Extra Stout and Harp Lager, are still produced in Dublin, St. Patrick’s Day sees the debut of a brand-new Maryland-made stout, created in conjunction with Guinness's Irish brewing team. Other exclusive house beers, made on this side of the Atlantic, will also be available for sampling. Proceeds from tickets, which allow entry for a two-hour window, will be donated to a local charity. 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. $5. Beers priced individually.
“Sights and Sounds of Ireland Today”: St. Patrick's Day Arts Festival at Dupont Underground: The second day of Solas Nua's look at contemporary Irish video art goes beyond the exhibit. It begins with Irish cartoons and coloring for all ages until noon. Stick around for Irish poetry (2 to 4 p.m.), a traditional Irish jam session (6:15 to 7:15 p.m.) and Irish indie singer Hannah McPhillimy (8 to 9:30 p.m.). Irish short films will be shown on a continuous loop throughout the day. 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. $15.
Irish Book Day in Dupont Circle: This annual collaboration between Irish arts organization Solas Nua and Dublin-based literary magazine the Stinging Fly has produced a 32-page collection of Irish poetry short fiction, appropriately titled “New Writing From Ireland.” Volunteers will hand out free copies at the north entrance of the Dupont Circle Metro station (20th and Q streets NW) throughout the day, and it will also be available at Solas Nua's event at Dupont Underground. Free.
“The Quiet Man” at AFI Silver Theatre: Irish-American director John Ford’s last Academy Award wasn’t for one of his famous westerns, such as “The Searchers” or “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” It was for “The Quiet Man,” a 1952 romance starring John Wayne as an Irish-American boxer who returns to the old country to claim the family farm. The film, shot on location in the Irish countryside, also won the Oscar for best cinematography. Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. $8-$10.
St. Patrick's Day with Boundary Brewing at ChurchKey: Craft beer in Ireland and Northern Ireland is dwarfed by big international breweries, but the scene is growing. ChurchKey hosts the District debut of Belfast's Boundary Brewing, which focuses on American and Belgian styles. The nine taps include Légalité: Blackberry, a saison aged on blackberries, and their highly rated Gift Imperial Stout. 11:30 a.m. Free; beers priced individually.