St. Patrick’s Day Guide: Luck of the Irish to you! 

When Ireland and its worldwide descendants celebrate their culture, it’s all about the green — and some good luck. For devotees of Wednesday’s holiday (and new revelers, too),  here’s a guide to some of the The City’s hottest spots for Gaelic galas.


The Abbey Tavern

“It’s the craziest day of the year,” beams Abbey owner Dermot Coll. The tavern opens at 10 a.m. and remains busy until closing. Foodies will relish an Irish-like buffet, beginning at noon. From 2 p.m. on, the entertainment begins. Crooner Martin Lacy is one entertainer on the bill. At 9 p.m., DJ Chrobi Girl takes over. Of his love of owning The Abbey for 13 years, Coll, who hails from Donegal, Ireland, notes that he appreciates San Francisco being such a diverse city: “You meet people from all walks of life and on St. Paddy’s Day ... everybody is Irish.” [4100 Geary Blvd., S.F., (415) 221-7767, www.abbeytavern-sf.com]

 

The Chieftain Irish Pub and Restaurant

This SoMa venue is offering a fine mix of hearty food  and live entertainment. Apparently one of the bartenders, Glenn Farr, is a fiddle player — which never hurts on St. Paddy’s Day — so he’ll be on hand. But don’t be surprised if bagpipers take over the bar at some point during the day or early evening. A DJ is slated for entertainment later in the night. [198 Fifth St., S.F., (415) 615-0916, thechieftain.com]

 

Harrington’s Bar and Grill

Family-run for three generations, this eatery offers a vast selection of wines and, of course, beers — draft pitchers at about $16 — but the menu is extensive, too, so for those looking for more than just a “bar” experience, this may fit the bill. Lunch is in two sittings (reservations recommended) at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The bar closes at 4 p.m., then boldly reopens at 5 p.m. ($3 admission). Entertainment is on the slate: Ben Hunter and his band, Celtic Scandal, plus the Kennelly Irish Dancers. Owner Michael Harrington says the venue is “a place where we bring a lot of people together who later become fast friends. I even met my wife here.” [245 Front St., S.F., (415) 392-7595, www.harringtonsbarandgrill.com]


Ireland’s 32

It’s hard not to dig a place that describes its wide-screened TVs as “big arsed.” That said, the popular hangout in the Richmond delivers something unique in entertainment via accordion player County Offley (from 2 to 5 p.m.) and The Bog Men (from 5 to 8 p.m.). Dan Lawless also performs. Irish Car Bombs may stand out among many noteworthy drinks, but high marks can be offered for the spaciousness of this alluring venue, too. And that’s a good thing, especially on this holiday. [3920 Geary Blvd., S.F., (415) 386-6173, www.irelands32.com]

 

Parkside Tavern

Larry Doyle, a 22-year San Francisco resident originally from Dublin, is the proprietor of this relatively new establishment in the Sunset district (as well as the bustling Johnny Foley’s Irish House near Union Square). Parkside Tavern — overseen by bar manager Tim Weber, pictured — will open at 10 a.m. with a full lunch menu, featuring corned beef and cabbage and Irish stew. Doyle expects business to build throughout the day. He says, “Irish flags will be flying, and we’ll be drinking Guinness.”  [1940 Taraval St., S.F., (415) 731-8900, www.parksidetavernsf.com]

 

The Plough and the Stars

Known for traditional Irish music, this pub may serve up surprises in the form of Celtic folk-acoustic titans The Gas Men, who will keep everybody enthused in the evening hours. Alt-roots performer Lucia Comnes is also part of the package, as are pool, darts and engaging conversations in the place SF Weekly readers voted “Best Irish Pub.” [116 Clement St. (at Second Avenue), S.F., (415) 751-1122, www.theploughandstars.com]

 

Royal Exchange

It’s hard to be bored when there’s a street closure involved. Royal Exchange has become a sizzling destination because of it. On the corner of Sacramento and Front streets, the hot spot hops till 2 a.m. Outside, revelers can nab some brews from an express window. Meanwhile, by early evening, partygoers welcome live entertainment in the form of the band Wonderbread 5. But let’s not forget about the beer — 32 different kinds and 72 taps. [301 Sacramento St., S.F., (415) 956-1710, www.royalexchange.com]

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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