We suggest you skip the green beer this time around.
St. Patrick's Day often calls for an overwhelming amount of green beer. Unless, of course, you have VanMag on your side to scour the event listings for discount whiskey, live music, themed cocktails and alternative Irish celebrations. Whatever your needs, the 8 food- and drink-centric events listed below are guaranteed to get you through the all-day celebrations.
When: Friday, March 16 to Saturday, March 17 (all day until 7 p.m.) Where: Railtown Café, all locations Railtown Café earned a bad reputation last year for an atrociously poured Guinness, so they're on a mission to redeem themselves. In apology for their error, they'll be treating guests with a valid Irish passport to a perfectly poured pint and a shot of Jameson. If you don't have the proper paperwork, you'll have to settle for a variety of food and drink specials: cottage pie croquettes with Guinness cheddar dip, Irish lamb stew with caramelized root vegetables and house-made soda bread. And there are sweet treats, too (sticky toffee pudding, house-made sponge candy and shamrock cookies).
When: Saturday, March 17 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) Where: 120 West Hastings St. For one day only, Wildebeest will be adding Irish-themed dishes—an elevated full Irish breakfast (complete with black pudding), Guinness doughnuts with whiskey caramel (!)—and stout drink specials to its regular brunch line-up. It's time to carbo-load.
When: Now through March 17 Where: 216 Carrall St. The Blarney Stone is an institution in Vancouver, having been in Gastown for more than 45 years. And they go big for St. Patrick's Day. We're talking a week-long celebration of the Irish patron saint, complete with live music, giveaways, trivia and plenty of whiskey; all culminating in a 19-hour-long party on March 17.
When: Saturday, March 17 (10 a.m. to late) Where: 654 Nelson St. This one's a two-fer! Belmont Bar and Doolin's Irish Pub are teaming up to fill the void left by the cancelled parade. Starting with a full Irish breakfast at Doolin's, they'll be open between 10 a.m. to 3 a.m., with live music and DJs performing throughout. Expect the all-day rager to spill out onto the streets at the corner of Granville and Nelson to make it a block party for everyone.
When: Saturday, March 17 (10 a.m. to late) Where: 210 Carrall St. The Irish Heather is a local St. Patrick's Day favourite thanks to its authentic food and interior (think exposed red brick and vintage Guinness posters)—everything about it conjures up images of Ireland's famous Temple Bar. The neighbourhood gastropub serves a mix of charcuterie and Irish-inspired comfort food like fish and chips, bangers and mash, and beef and ale stew.
When: Saturday, March 17 (9 a.m. to late) Where: 455 Abbott St. In addition to St. Patrick's Day, the rowdy pub will be celebrating its seventh anniversary on March 17. They'll be pouring pints of Guinness for $7, pints of house lager for $6 and the famous whiskey-shot-and-Guinness combo for $11. Like most other hardcore St. Paddy's Day parties, doors open at 9 a.m. for an all-day celebration.
When: Saturday, March 17 (12 to 8 p.m.) Where: 8284 Sherbrooke St. Another St. Paddy's Day anniversary! Dogwood Brewing turns three on March 17 and to celebrate, they're going all out with costume contests (where's your leprechaun hat?), dart tournaments, a build-your-own baked potato bar and 12 beers on tap, including an Irish red ale.
When: Saturday, March 17 (8 p.m. to 1 a.m.) Where: 1882 Adanac St. Pogues tribute band Shane's Teeth (with The Hard Rock Miners and a tribute to Dolores O'Riordan) will return to Wise Hall for what's now a St. Patrick's Day tradition in Vancouver. The St. Paddy's Day party will also include Irish Dancers—and the musician-filled parody western film Straight to Hell will be played on a loop, so you can really get into the edgy, alternative Irish rock scene.