Pat Packer’s Harp & Thistle may be a favorite memory, but her Irish spunky spirit lives on during the month of St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re lucky, you might run into her on Corey Ave. and you can ask her to sign her biography  if she has them (as I did last year on St. Pat’s Day).

If you are a purist, you’ll head over to one of these Irish pubs for the fanfare which now seems to last longer than St. Pat’s weekend March 17. Many of these spots throw huge tented parties with live music (Finley’s, Mickey Quinn’s) and most all are sure to have traditional Irish favorites such as corned beef.   Other local bars with an O’ something name also get into the Paddy spirit, from the R Bar in TI to Redington’s Friendly Tavern plus all your usual St. Pete Beach and Corey Avenue haunts.

Check with your local watering hole to see what’s happening. Don your green and look for your pot of gold at the end of these Irish rainbows. Green beer optional.  Slainte!

Courigan’s Irish Pub 

1 Beach Dr..SE, downtown St. Pete 727- 551-9019

Where the rugby and soccer fans hang, both for the Irish beers and gravy drizzled over fries as well as the best bloody Mary downtown before or after the Saturday Market nearby.  Darts, trivia, beer and food specials plus corned beef poppers, basket o’chips with Guinness gravy, poutine (fries with gravy and melted mozzarella, banger brats, corned beef, Reuben, shepherd’s pie and more.

Copper Clover Pub 

111 Boardwalk W, #203 , Madeira Beach/John’s Pass 727- 289-7740

Classic Irish food and drink.  Yummy boxer and bangers, shepherd’s pie, potato leek soup, cheesy gravy chips and whiskey wings. The décor and live music are nostalgic of the authentic Harp and Thistle.  Try the Irish coffee with Jameson Irish whiskey and enjoy the view from the balcony.

Don’s Irish Pub  

3007 6th St. S, downtown St. Pete 727- 201-9747

Local bar, pet friendly where you can play pool and darts and catch up over a few pints.

Finley’s Irish Pub & Eatery 

13477 Belcher Rd. S,  Largo 727- 535-7858

On St. Pat’s, there will be a limited menu (corn beef and cabbage for sure) and hundreds of your new best friends. At all times, the Irish beers, whiskey selection and service are top-shelf, thanks to bartender John. The food is delicious, from the meatloaf and dry wings to the burgers and Reuben. Don’t miss their famous DrUnKEN Chicken sauteed with Irish Whiskey and Reuben Roll appetizer. There’s a trivia night,  blues jam Thursday and live music Saturday night, even a comedy night once every six weeks.

MacDinton’s Irish Pub 

St Pete 242 1st Ave. N., downtown St. Petersburg 727- 201-9783

The Tampa original is very much in the jig of things on this block with beer and shot specials, karaoke Thursday, open mic live jam Wednesdays and all the sports you like to watch (EPL, La Liga, FA Cup, Champions League, Europa Cup soccer, finals). Try out the Gaelic chips (crumbled blue cheese, Tullamore Dew BBQ), malted vinegar fries, Mac Reuben and Bangers & Mash.

Mickey Quinn’s Beach Pub  

19703 Gulf Blvd., Indian Shores, 727- 593-3208

Mickey Quinn’s Irish Pub & Grill 

13071 Park Blvd., Seminole, 727- 393-9510

The Irish beers on tap are icy cold (Smithwicks, Guinness, Harp’s), the casual fare yummy and the games are always afoot (billiards, darts, arcade) with lots of TVs for watching sports. Each Mickey Quinn’s has its own lunch and dinner menu with specials, but I particularly like the wings and fish n’ chips at both locations and the shepherd’s pie poppers and bangers and mash at the Seminole pub. On St. Pat’s, it will be all about the corned beef.

O’Keefe’s Tavern 

1219 S Fort Harrison Ave, Clearwater 727- 442-9034

Irish all year round, the Tavern goes wild on for three days during St. Patrick’s celebration week and is home to one of Florida’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parties. With live music & dancing, over two tons of fresh corned beef and plenty of green beer, you gotta go at least once. All year round, you’ll find traditional Irish dishes such as an Irish breakfast skillet, Guinness meatloaf, corned beef sandwich and seven-course Irish dinner (six drafts, one boiled potato).

O’Maddy’s Bar & Grille  

5405 Shore Blvd S., Gulfport 727-323-8643

Everyday Chef Wade whips up a seasonal special, often seafood and it’s always delicious. Great comaraderie, spirited deals, a killer beef on weck, peanut butter and jelly wings, mussels and one of Gulfport’s biggest St. Patrick’s street parties March 17 with green beer and live music 11 am – midnight.

Want to be the first to know about upcoming St. Patrick’s Day events? Sign up for Paradise News free weekly newsletter sent to your email on Thursday.  www.ParadiseNews.com

Article by Nanette Wiser

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