Everyone gets an opportunity to be Irish during New Orleans’ St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, when the city returns to the massive block parties and parades that left the streets after Mardi Gras just a mere month before. Even if you’re finally getting back to normal after the Carnival season, you might want to consider falling back off the wagon to partake in St. Patrick’s Day partying: this city knows how to parade, and the city’s Irish bars take their roles as home bases for the festivities particularly seriously.
But even though St. Patrick’s Day is a great excuse for patronizing your local Irish watering hole, there are places in New Orleans where you can sidle up to a bar for a pint of Guinness and bartenders’ straight-talk in a thick brogue all year round. Here are our top picks for New Orleans Irish bars where you can get your Irish on, any time.
Top Irish Bars in New Orleans
This Mid-City expat hub is known for huge, rowdy crowds during World Cup soccer games. The laid-back neighborhood bar hosts a block party on St. Patrick’s Day (Friday, March 17) that starts at 10:00 a.m. (Also in Mid-City: another Irish neighborhood joint, Micks Irish Pub)
This tiny, Irish Channel fixture has been serving up its famous roast beef po-boys and brews since the 1950s. They’re also known for their massive block parties for St. Paddy’s: this year, the bar hosts parties from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on March 11 (the day of the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day parade) and March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day).
There’s a bit of rivalry with this Irish pub and Parasol’s, located within one block of each other: Tracey’s was opened by the former operator of Parasol’s, who was outbid by the current owners of the business when it went up for sale in 2010. Tracey’s also has a messy roast beef po-boy and St. Paddy’s Day block parties (11 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 11 and 17). There will likely be no way to distinguish where Tracey’s block party ends and Parasol’s begins (or vice versa) so just show up on Third St. between Magazine and Constance.
You can pull up a stool with a frozen or hot Irish Coffee and watch the action on Decatur Street through a window overlooking the street all year round (it’s also the place to be for its St. Paddy’s Day parade, which is like a mini Mardi Gras parade on March 17 beginning at 6:00 p.m., complete with marching groups and riders on horse-drawn carriages). There’s always a mix of local media-makers, French Quarter barflys, and hipsters at the pub, making for an interesting night anytime you go.
An emporium for all things Irish, this two-story bar and restaurant on St. Charles Avenue has the space, family-friendly appeal, and Irish-themed wall tchotchkes of a Bennigan’s, but with local flavor and a skilled Irish chef (Matt Murphy) at the helm. The restaurant hosts frequent Irish music and dance performances, pub quizzes, and even stand-up comedy. On St. Patrick’s Day, expect a major party with music both inside and out.
This spot is the French Quarter’s neighborhood bar, beloved by locals who live nearby as well as service industry folks. Get a frozen Irish Coffee to kill the heat, or a Bloody Mary (with Guinness as the secret ingredient in the mix), or a cold beer. Bonus points for the fantastic jukebox and Killer Po-boys, serving up the best sandwiches in town in the back.
Well known as ground zero of Hurricane cocktail creation, Pat O’Brien’s continues to honor the legacy of the Irishman who started it. Try the green-hued “Fuzzy Leprechaun” anytime, or check it out for only three bucks on St. Patrick’s Day. The courtyard fountain, the drinks, and the dueling pianos all make for a great time. The bar’s motto is “Have Fun!” which is an easy enough directive with a drink in hand.
Although Mid-City, the French Quarter, and the Irish Channel seem to be epicenters of the Irish bar scene, Markey’s in the Bywater is a stop on the Downtown Irish Club St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17 and has a long history in the neighborhood dating back when the area was predominantly Irish-American. It’s a great place for a beer any time of year.
If you like hanging out with drink in hand and live music playing nightly, the Kerry is the place for you. The genre of music changes from night to night, but Irish, honky-tonk, ’80s cover bands, and more await the courageous traveler.
It’s the place for a properly poured pint, friendly service, and Scotch Eggs (and more) from Mother Mary’s, the resident kitchen. Not far from other Mid-City Irish bars Finn McCool’s and Mick’s, The Holy Ground could certainly be part an epic St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl (or, like, any day of the week, just because).