The calendar marks St. Patrick’s Day as a single-day observance on March 17.
But you don’t need to be Irish to know that this is one holiday that’s not limited to 24 hours.
Our St. Patty’s Day celebrations already are in high gear and will culminate this weekend with more Irish food, drink and merriment than is probably good for anyone.
Here, then, is Gusto’s look at some of the places to get a good plate of corned beef and cabbage, to hear Irish tunes and to raise a glass or two. And if you’re going to the parade, which starts at 2 p.m. Sunday on Delaware Avenue, we even have some tips for your viewing pleasure.
First, get sustenance
For many revelers, it wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s without tucking into a plate of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots. Here are a few places among the favorites of local eaters.
One of South Buffalo’s favorite Irish restaurants, the Blackthorn Restaurant (2134 Seneca St., 825-9327), offers its customers corned beef and cabbage all month. For $12.99, you get corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots.
For a small neighborhood place that’s been around forever, The Place (229 Lexington Ave., 881-1178), does holidays with gusto. One of them is St. Patrick’s, when the restaurant will sell a ton, literally, of corned beef between March 8 and Tuesday, said owner Kenny Moriarity. Dinner is $11.95.
Shannon Pub (2250 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda, 743-9348), an Irish pub noted for its live music, also does standards of Irish-American cuisine. Corned beef and cabbage is on the menu “364 days a year,” said owner Kevin Townsell. Dinner is $12.
The veteran Irish pub Brennan’s Bowery Bar (4401 Transit Road, Clarence, 633-9630) is packed on St. Patty’s Day. A big part of the solid refreshments revolve around the $12 corned beef and cabbage dinner, served with soda bread.
Irishman Pub (5601 Main St., Williamsville, 626-2670) plans to open at 4 p.m. Friday, after extensive renovations, with corned beef and cabbage at the ready. Dinner $14.
– Andrew Z. Galarneau
Revel in Celtic melodies
The Irish don’t need much of an excuse to throw a “knees up,” and St. Patrick’s Day always has been best celebrated to the accompaniment of a wistful traditional melody, a keening Uilleann pipe, or even a bunch of Irish punk rockers cranking out the Celtic melodies via razor-wired electric guitars.
In Buffalo, between today and Sunday’s parade, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get your musical Irish on, whether you are Irish or not. Here are a few of my picks for the must-see St. Patrick’s-themed shows in the coming days.
The Chieftains are the ambassadors of traditional Irish music to the rest of the world. The band has been at it since 1962, over the ensuing decades offering listeners around the world their first exposure to traditional Irish fare. The Chieftains join with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at 8 p.m. Friday in Kleinhans Music Hall. Following Paddy Maloney and Co.’s set, the Leftovers will continue cranking out a deliciously Irish din in the Mary Seaton Room in Kleinhans. Tickets are $35 to $85 (box office).
Also on Friday, Larkin Square will resound with the sounds of the second annual Live at O’Larkin Festival, which will find McCarthyizm, Crikwater, the Greater Buffalo Firefighters Pipes & Drums and the Clann Na Cara School of Irish Dance convening on the heated boardwalk of Larkin Square, at the corner of Seneca and Swan streets, between 5 and 8 p.m. Admission is free.
The weekly Celtic Sessiuns held in Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.), treat every Saturday like it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Here, a tight troop of area Celtic musicians gather between 4 and 8 p.m. to share in the bittersweet beauty of traditional Irish song. (Though, as any musician who has ever been scheduled for a late show following a Celtic Sessiuns gig at Nietzsche’s will attest, they tend to run long, if the Guinness is flowing and the crowd is into it.) All are welcome, but be advised – a “sessiun” is not the same as an open jam, so some knowledge of the common core songbook is always advisable if you’re hoping to join in.
– Jeff Miers
Raise a glass
In South Buffalo, the heart of Buffalo’s Irish country, shamrocks are year-round decorations at the many bars dotting Abbott Road, Seneca Street and South Park Avenue. You could stay in one spot or make the rounds, starting with the Buffalo Irish Center (245 Abbott Road, 825-9535, www.buffaloirishcenter.com), a spot to go anytime for Irish community activities, entertainment and a Guinness or two. This weekend, the Irish Center is upping the fun. Entertainment runs from 11 a.m. to close on Saturday and 1 to 10 p.m. on Sunday with Irish music and dancing by groups including Clann Na Cara and Rince Na Tiarna.
Leave the Irish Center and drive toward “St. Tommy Parish” to Conlon’s (382 Abbott Road), where you can join the mug club and enjoy family cooking, and on to Doc Sullivan’s (474 Abbott Road), a bar that’s packed every weekend with a boisterous crowd. Keep going to Molly Macguire’s (834 Abbott Road) and O’Daniels’ Gin Mill & Grill (1305 Abbott Road).
Talty’s (2056 South Park Ave.) is a friendly place with live music. Over to Seneca Street, the Blackthorn (2134 Seneca St., 825-9327, www.blackthornrestaurant.com), is a cozy South Buffalo mainstay with great food (see left on its corned beef and cabbage dinner).
If you’re downtown for the parade, D’Arcy McGee’s (257 Franklin St. (853-3600, www.darcymcgeesonline.com) is a no-brainer. Operating since 2001, D’Arcy McGee’s offers traditional food and drink in a downtown setting.
Farther out, Brennan’s (4401 Transit Road, Clarence, 633-9630; www.brennansbowery.com) has a good-time, laid-back Irish attitude described as “St. Patrick’s Day every day.” Grab a beer, Irish whiskey and some of Brennan’s tasty Irish potato soup or bangers and mash.
Walk into the Shannon Pub (2250 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda, 743-9348; www.shannonpub.com) and you’ll feel as it you’ve stepped out of Buffalo and into a real Irish pub. Shannon Pub has a regular slate of authentic Irish music, plus dishes like beef and Guinness stew.
– Toni Ruberto
Off to the parade
There are several things you need to ask before deciding whether to attend Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade: How many layers should I wear? Is there such a thing as “too much” green? Can I eat corned beef and cabbage for breakfast?
But above all else, you need to figure out where you’re going to stand to watch the parade go by.
The parade route is the well-traveled portion of Delaware Avenue from Niagara Square to North Street. You might have a go-to spot that you use every year, but if not, consider these options:
Sure it’s fun to watch the parade when it’s been going for a while, but check out what it looks like as it gets underway.
Any corner of Chippewa Street
It’s pretty early in the route, so everyone who’s walking should still be going at a good pace and will not have need of their shillelagh to stay up. Plus, you have your choice of Spot Coffee and Starbucks if you need a little shot of caffeine to come to life.
Good-sized parking lot on one corner is a great place to watch, Colter Bay across the street is a good place to go afterward.
Right before the end of the route between Allen and North. The address might not mean anything, but the name of the building there might: The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. So if you get tired of looking at a float, turn around and look at a building where a man became president.