Seattle's downtown boasts more Irish pubs than any other neighborhood, including Kells, Fado, Owl N' Thistle, and new this year, a waterfront Paddy Coyne's scheduled to open on March 17. It's a double-edged sword. The parties are epic, but it's tough to find parking and even tougher to get a drink when everyone and their mother has crammed into the same place as you for the evening. Thus, we present four St. Patrick's Day parties worth your while in the city's other fine neighborhoods.
Conor Byrne (Ballard) The staff is proud to say it serves "no green beer, no green jello shots, and absolutely no Irish Car Bombs" on St. Patrick's Day. Instead, it serves a solid lineup of beers and bands to ensure you enjoy a live-music-filled evening. Your chances of rubbing elbows with a frat boy in a "Kiss me, I'm Irish" shirt are low. Cover: $10 after 2 p.m.
Clever Dunne's Irish House (Capitol Hill) Two words: No cover. Two more: Cash only. The result is a rarity - a packed party that also delivers speedy service. The staff gets rid of the tables for the day and replaces them with live bands and two additional bars to ensure there's plenty of space for dancing and of course, drinking. Get some sleep beforehand - the party starts at 10 a.m.
Mulleady's Irish Pub (Magnolia) Not everybody wants to behave like a wild banshee on St. Patrick's Day. Hence, this neighborhood establishment takes an entirely different approach to celebrating the holiday -- calm and collected. It hosts a special six-course dinner (reservations unrecommended) featuring lamb-mushroom stew, house-cured corned beef, and candied ginger bread pudding. Cost: $40 + tax.
Celtic Swell (West Seattle) Here's the lowdown: An endless flow of green beer, 15-20 live bands, and a parking lot closed off and converted into additional covered -- and heated -- space. If you dig the over-the-top party style but run into a problem (e.g.: your boss who thinks you're at home "sick"), you can visit new sister bar C.S. Finnegan's in Belltown, which makes its debut that very day. Cover: $20, $25 with T-shirt.