We're all Irish Today; Erin Go Bragh!
A guide to Cleveland's St. Patrick's Day Celebrations
When people think of St. Patrick's Day, they likely think of heading to Chicago or Boston. While these locations are known for their Irish communities, what you might not realize is that so is Cleveland. In fact, over half a million people join in the festivities each year on the shores of Lake Erie including 13,000 registered participants in our famed parade. The sheer size of Cleveland's Irish community means you have countless options to properly celebrate. The fact that each of these locations serve award winning beer from both Cleveland AND Ireland is a nice perk. If you're planning on joining us in the revelry (and you should), I have a few tips on how to approach this day-long party.
First thing's first. DO NOT DRIVE. Parking is a challenge Downtown with the aforementioned 500K worth of people and you will not be able to drive home anyway, so instead just play it safe. Use the RTA ($5 day passes), Uber or Lyft and have one less thing to worry about when you’re hungover the following morning.
Next, get a good base in your stomach. Don't be a hero and think you can drink all day without eating. Ignore breakfast and your friends will be saying bye to you by noon. Cleveland has several outstanding options for Irish fare including favorites such as Flannery's Pub on East 4th St. Downtown, The Old Angle Tavern, The Harp, Stone Mad Pub, or P.J. McIntyre's. My pick? Grab the biggest corned beef sandwich you’ll ever see at Slyman's Restaurant on St. Clair Ave. Best of all, these restaurants open around 6 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day.
If you’re interested in watching Ohio’s oldest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, head to Superior Ave. between East 9th and 12th for the best viewing. There you’ll see bagpipes, dancers, wolf hounds and much more. The parade is a great family activity and a unique experience. If you would rather get your bagpipes with a pint, though, head to any of the aforementioned bars as most of them will have live Irish music all day long.
What makes St. Patrick's Day in Cleveland so special? Well for one, it signifies the start of spring. Northeast Ohio spends winter under a blanket of snow, so March 17th kicks off our outdoor drinking season. The weather doesn't always cooperate, but that's part of the fun. I've experienced St. Paddy's in everything from 75 degrees and sunny to 25 degrees and snow. The alcohol, coats, and sense of community will keep you warm regardless.
My recommendation is to pick the neighborhood you want to be in and then set up shop for the day. It cuts down on your travel time and any location you pick will have loads of options for enjoying the whole day. If you're looking for me, head to Parnell's Pub at Playhouse Square (Buzzfeed's pick for the best Irish Pub in the state). You won't find a better pint of Guinness in the whole country and frankly, that’s what matters most on St. Paddy’s.