St. Patrick's Day for many Americans is, like Cinco de Mayo, a convenient excuse to party hard in the middle of a week. Luckily, St. Paddy's falls on a Thursday this year, which means that after engaging in some ridiculously drunken shenanigans, you only have to worry about getting through one miserable day at work before collapsing in your bed to recuperate for an entire weekend.
But of all the massive fêtes thrown in this city, which one is worth damaging your liver for? For everyone from live-music lovers to green-beer churggers, we present the top five drinking destinations for this upcoming March 17. Cheers . . . and try to remember to chug a glass of water at the end of the night.5. Conor Byrne Pub. Not everyone wants to get wasted with gung-ho frat boys and sorority girls dressed in barmaid costumes. At this Ballard bar, such patrons are ostracized. The staff is proud to say it serves "no Irish Car Bombs." Instead, it serves a solid selection of beer and a solid lineup of Americana bands to ensure you enjoy a spectacular, live-music-filled St. Patrick's Day party without the petty nuisances.
4. A Terrible Beauty. Outside the Seattle city limits? Not a problem. Taking an approach opposite to that of its Irish pub peers, the relatively new bar A Terrible Beauty in Renton will start pouring the green PBR--and 28 other drafts on tap--at 9 a.m. Patrons get a free T-shirt and entertainment, courtesy of traditional Irish dancers and bands. And if that isn't enough to keep your interest, you can play games like foosball, pool, and even ping pong.
3. Shorty's. Looking to avoid the overwhelming scene at the Irish pubs, but still want to down some drinks this evening? Belltown's beloved "real" bar Shorty's is serving the usual: cheap beer, stiff wells, hot dogs, and arcade games. However, all proceeds from St. Patrick's Day, noon to close, will be donated to the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. So the more you drink, the more you help. Bottoms up!
2. Wilde Rover. Eastsiders travel in droves to this popular Irish pub and restaurant in downtown Kirkland. Starting at noon ($10 cover), you can slurp shots of your pick of poison out of an ice luge, chow down on specials like corned beef and cabbage or bangers and mash, and flail about to Celtic fiddle music. Get there early--last year, the line of eager revelers was already extended around the block by 4 p.m.
1. Kells. Touted as "home of the largest St. Patrick's Irish Festival in the Northwest," this bar hosts a weeklong celebration that reaches its peak on March 17. Kells joins forces with neighboring bar Post to provide 500-plus patrons with festival T-shirts, live traditional Irish music on four different stages, and even a massive outdoor tent. You can be sure the $20 cover charge is well-spent money--the party opens at 10 a.m.