Downtown Cleveland gets the press on St. Patrick's Day, naturally, but if you're looking for an alternative setting for your green-clad debauchery, there's plenty going on in the city's diverse neighborhoods. The routes in and out are easier (just stay close to home and don't drive), and the crowds tend to be more aligned with that singular purpose: revelry, with a nightcap that remains within walking distance later. (The downtown parade camp is a mangled mass of humanity: families, high schoolers, non-Irish hangers-on, the West Sixth crowd looking for a nightclub during the day, etc.)
So we've taken a look at some of the best places to spend this most sudsy holiday in Cleveland. Maybe you live in one of these neighborhoods, and there's very little discussion to be had. Maybe you're a suburbanite looking to spice up the day with something tonally different than years past. Dig in. (And pass the corned beef, please.)
The shining star of Cleveland's up-and-coming arts districts, North Collinwood suddenly has a ton of bars and restaurants going for it. Take Packy Malley's, for instance. This place opened up last year in the former home of Waterloo Brew and the Slovenian Workmen's Home. Packy knows how to throw a party, and he's been hosting Irish bands and festivities since opening.
Coast down the street a bit and land at the Millard Fillmore Presidential Library, one of our favorite new-ish bars here at Scene. You'll likely catch some live music in the corner, so get comfortable and make some new friends.
Doesn't matter what the cause de célèbre is, Ohio City is always bumpin'. The neighborhood is close enough to the downtown core that you'll get a fair amount of post-parade spillover, but the bulk of the revelers will be people like you who want to enjoy the finest corridor of craft brews in the state. If Irish luck holds sway and the weather is kind to us, we recommend the patios outside Nano Brew and Market Garden Brewery. Order a midday ale and enjoy the crowds.
Over in the Ohio City annex that some call Hingetown, you can spend the day at Jukebox. On top of the excellent musical offerings, this place is constantly surprising us with its eclectic food options. Stop in for a drink, a song, a meal and another drink.
Tremont might not be as wholly rooted in Irish culture as other areas of Cleveland, but the neighborhood sure knows how to have a good time. The Tremont Tap House should definitely be on your list, from which point you and your group can head down Starkweather toward the Lincoln Park Pub for billiards and whiskey. Perfect!
What can go wrong will go wrong, ol' Murphy used to say. We like to amend that here at Scene, and say that what can get boozy will get boozy on St. Patrick's Day. If you happen to be trucking around the outskirts of the city and you end up in Old Brooklyn, Murphy's Law on Memphis Road is a welcome spot for your inebriated needs. The regular crowd runs the place like family, so mind your Ps and Qs.
Ah, the always-expansive Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. Anchored by Gordon Square and bounded by points as far south as Clark Avenue, the neighborhood affords a wide swath of opportunities for your boozin' needs. (Stick close to Gordon Square, though, of course, for fun times all around.) First, stroll north to Stone Mad, one of the great westside pubs. Hope for warm weather and, if you get your wish, enjoy one of Cleveland's finest patios. (Stick around for some bocce in the back room, too.)
Then, you've got a choice: Eastward, closer to the city, where you can make a stop at The Harp? Lovely music and choice beverage options abound. Or westward, where McNamara's offers pleasurable refuge from the hordes? "Irish dive with killer patio" may as well be the tagline over there. Either way, you're in luck.
This is the present-day Irish nexus of Cleveland. From the popular Kamm's Corners to points east along Lorain Avenue, there are plenty of spots to pull on a Guinness for a while and let the day get all hazy.
The natural starting and ending point would be P.J. McIntyre's, but, based on experience, this place is essentially Little Downtown on St. Patrick's Day. Which can be fine if you're looking for those long lines and angrily drunk crowds. Totally cool. But if you want to branch out a bit, walk across the street to Public House. On most nights, this place allows you to slip into the corner and trade tales with your comrades over whiskey. On St. Pat's? Listen, all of West Park will be nutso, but this place will be worth your while. Order a Jameson, neat.
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