The countdown to debauchery begins. Only three more days until the celebration of a dead Irish saint makes it socially acceptable to be flagged at more than one bar, kiss someone older than your mom or wake up wearing less clothing and more beads than you remember leaving your room with.
Mardi Gras may be over, but St. Patrick’s Day is near. So if you’ve reached that 21st birthday milestone, now’s your time to pound that whiskey, chug that Guinness and be the drunken, blithering fool who makes the bartender throw back more shots than you, just to make it until last call. Let this be your little black book of bars on the holiday.
The Bards: 2013 Walnut St.
It’s St. Patty’s Day and the countdown clock may be a few days off, but if you were filled with that much beer and whiskey, you’d be a little off, too. Why fix the clock when the Bards supports St. Patty’s style drinking year-round?
Set at the edge of Rittenhouse Square, the Bards is the ideal place to start a holiday bar hop, especially if you’re looking for an Irish accent or a wide variety of whiskeys to help you master the stumble.
“We’re basically the only bar in the city with whiskey on tap,” bartender Aidan O’Kane said. “We’ve got Jameson, Tullamore Dew and Bushmills 10, 11, 16 and 21.”
The Bards has beer for almost any palette. Guinness, Smithwicks, Harp, Blue Moon, Stella, Sam Adams White, Newcastle, Boddingtons, Yuengling and Miller Lite are all on tap, too.
For Irish Car Bomb virgins, this is the place to go. Although O’Kane is from Derry, Ireland, he actually did his first car bomb at the Bards when he started working there four years ago.
“My first car bomb was with Jason Biggs from American Pie,” he said. “He came in and asked me to do a shot, and we did our first car bomb together.”
O’Kane didn’t bring the car bomb from Ireland, but there are rumors he broughtthe art of “shamrocking” a Guinness, according to customer Scott Dulin.
“The first time this kid poured me a beer, he shamrocked it,” Dulin said, laughing. “He put a little shamrock in the foam of my Guinness.”
Dulin wasn’t up for the shamrock, but who says you can’t be in the mood?
So ask O’Kane to “shamrock” your beer, and grab some bangers and mash to steady your stomach.
1214 Sansom St.
If it’s Irish beer, a deer head with a plastic dog humping its neck, whiskey and bagpipes you’re looking for, Fergie’s may be your best bet.
Co-owner Wajih Abed is already handing out the green beads. He can already predict what the beer and the bagpipes will bring this St. Patrick’s Day.
“It will be crazy,” co-owner Wajih Abed said of this year’s upcoming celebration. “Good crazy.”
Craziness is to be expected with the saying “You drink – you die, you don’t drink – you die, so drink,” engraved above the bar. If that encouragement isn’t enough, the bar’s wide variety of Irish beers should do the trick.
With Guinness, Harp and Smithwicks on tap and almost 40 bottled beers to choose from, Fergie’s is a good place to refuel mid-St. Patrick’s Day. Its potato pancakes and Guinness go together like Oreos and milk, minus the dipping.
Fergie’s has two floors with a bar on each to make way for sitters, standers and wobblers alike. And if the holiday goes like it did last year, Fergie’s will be filled with some stumbling drunks.
Last year was a mess, according to bartender Tricia McGoldrick. She is bracing herself for the craziness to come.
“[I’ll be] getting a bunch of blinking green [people] drunk,” McGoldrick said. “I flagged my first customer last year at 11:57 a.m.”
The Irish Pub: 1123 Walnut St.
Don’t let the decorative shamrocks deceive you – the Irish Pub doesn’t have Guinness and the most Irish thing on their menu is a fish and chips basket.
But after a day’s worth of drinking, why not stop by for the sloppy St. Patty’s Day aftermath to get some cheap booze?
Already decorated with St. Patrick’s Day banners, the pub is well ready to get trashed. The Pub is complete with a long bar and tables for mingling or for drunk leaning purposes.
For those of you who spend most of your money earlier in the day, the Irish Pub will run a few specials all day long to save you a few bucks.
“We have $2 Bud, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra, and $4 Murphy’s Red and Murphy’s Stoudt,” Irish Pub host Cathryn Clarke said. “And we’re open from 10 a.m. until 2 a.m.”
With cheap beer on tap and lots of flashy, green decorations, stopping by the Irish Pub this St. Patrick’s Day guarantees a roomful of sloshed drinking buddies who drank just as much, if not more, than you.
Jillian Bauer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.