American Nomad Blog
About this blog
American Nomad covers the best of U.S. travel—from vacation deals to festivals, weekend getaways, travel tips, and more. A seasoned traveler and Moon author, Laura is the perfect guide to help discover new gems when traveling domestically.
- A Southern Girl's Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone
- One Novelist's Odyssey Across America
- Gearing up for a Family Camping Trip
- Mint Juleps and More at Oak Alley Plantation
- Avoiding Identity Theft While on Vacation
- Money-Saving Travel Tips from Nomadic Matt
- Fashion, Fun, and Convenience for the Modern Traveler
- In Search of Irish Museums Across America
- The Inspiring Journey of a Solo Kayaker
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 2
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 1
- Experiencing Yosemite with YExplore
- Two Travel Contests Worth Mentioning
- A Word About the TSA's No-No List
- A Reader's Advice About Airport Security
Honoring St. Patty's Day the Old-Fashioned Way
Since St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow, I can't help but reflect on my affinity for all things Irish. Although, sadly, I don't claim any Irish ancestors – at least that I know of – I've long favored the fair Emerald Isle. Irish music, Irish dancing, Irish beer, Irish coffee, Irish pubs – you name it – if it's Irish, chances are that I'll love it. As I write this post, I'm even wearing my favorite T-shirt – a bright green tourist-style one, with the words “New Orleans” and “Irish yoga” written (in Celtic font) beneath three images of passed-out partygoers in accidental yoga poses: the Corpse, the Crab, and the Child. (Incidentally, although I know plenty of Irish folks who find the shirt amusing, please accept my humble apology if you're not one of them.)
So, when Gayle Hart posted her all-American list of St. Patrick's Day events a couple weeks ago, I started thinking about some of my favorite U.S. celebrations, including the annual bash in Chicago – a town that routinely honors its Irish heritage and, for St. Patty's Day, even dyes the Chicago River green just to show the world its Irish spirit. The wonderful thing about St. Patrick's Day, though, is that, for an ethnic holiday, it's pretty inclusive. You don't have to be Irish to watch the parades, listen to the music, or enjoy a pint of Guinness.
In fact, some of my favorite St. Patty's Day memories have taken place not on a parade route, but in an old-fashioned Irish pub. In the past, I've written about historic taverns, but Irish pubs have a vibe all their own. So, if come tomorrow, you're not able to celebrate in Ireland or attend a parade in your hometown, consider venturing to the nearest Irish pub, where you're sure to find some local characters willing to celebrate with you.
In the United States, you probably expect to find the lion's share of Irish pubs in cities like Boston and New York, but nearly every American town has an Irish pub of its very own. Here are just a handful of my favorites:
Finnegan's Wake Irish Pub & Eatery: On a recent trip to Key West, Dan and I met some friends for drinks at Finnegan's Wake (320 Grinnell St., 305/293-0222), a lively watering hole several blocks from the craziness of Duval Street. A favorite among tourists and locals alike, Finnegan's offers an extensive beer list, a scrumptious menu with humorously named dishes like “On Golden Prawn,” and two daily happy hours (4-7 p.m. and 12-2 a.m.).
Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub: With three locations – in Seattle (1916 Post Alley, 206/728-1916), San Francisco (530 Jackson St., 415/955-1916), and Portland, Oregon (112 SW Second Ave., 503/227-4057) – Kells pretty much has the Pacific Northwest covered. At all three spots, you'll find imported libations, traditional dishes (like Irish stew and shepherd's pie), live music, and, of course, St. Patrick's Day festivities.
The Kerry Irish Pub: When I was younger, my favorite Irish pub was O'Flaherty's in the New Orleans French Quarter, but since it closed down after Hurricane Katrina, I've found a new favorite – The Kerry Irish Pub (331 Decatur St., 504/527-5954), which USA TODAY recently named one of the top ten American places to spend St. Patrick's Day. Besides Irish coffee, Guinness, and a host of other libations, this cozy watering hole features friendly bartenders and live music nightly, from Irish to blues to country.
Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant: Situated in the Power & Light District of Kansas City, Missouri, Raglan Road (170 E. 14th St., 816/994-9700) offers authentic Irish cuisine, a wide array of beers and spirits, and, naturally, live entertainment featuring Irish-born musicians and dancers, plus Kansas City bands. If you're lucky, traditional Irish dancers will even dance on your table.
Tom Bergin's Tavern: Founded in 1936 by lawyer-turned-politician Tom Bergin, the oldest Irish establishment in Los Angeles has long been a local favorite among executives, LAPD detectives, movie stars, and Irish folks alike. Housed in a quaint, Irish-style cottage east of Beverly Hills, Tom Bergin's (840 S. Fairfax Ave., 323/936-7151) – also on the USA TODAY list – offers a rich history in addition to a weekday happy hour (4-7 p.m.), an assortment of libations (from Guinness to its world-famous Irish coffee), and a full menu of salads, burgers, steaks, and Irish treats.
So, do you have a favorite Irish pub? If so, feel free to comment below.
For more information about St. Patrick's Day, including its history and annual celebrations, plus details about Irish music and dancing, Irish associations, and Irish pubs around the world, visit this comprehensive website – and have a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day, wherever you decide to celebrate!
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below or contact me via laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com.
Photo & text © 2010 Laura Martone