Since the early 1800s, a thriving community of Irish Americans has called Detroit home. Corktown is the oldest surviving neighborhood in Detroit and was named for County Cork, the largest county of Ireland from which the majority of immigrants hailed. By the middle of the 19th century, the Irish were the largest ethnic group settling in Detroit.
Every year around St. Paddy’s Day, I get asked for the best Irish pubs in Metro Detroit. There’s more to being an “Irish Pub” than serving Guinness and slapping some shamrocks up on the wall. It’s about the taps, the menu, the music, the vibe and the people! Here’s a roundup of my favorites. And at the bottom, I answer the other most common question: what other cities are best to visit on St. Patrick’s Day.
6. Younger’s Irish Tavern
120 S Main St, Romeo
7. Nancy Whiskey Pub
2644 Harrison St, Detroit
Claims to be Detroit’s Oldest Operating Bar since 1902 (no website)
8. Danny’s Irish Pub
22824 Woodward Ave, Ferndale
9. McShane’s Irish Pub & Whiskey Bar
1460 Michigan Ave, Detroit
6004 Allen Rd, Allen Park
16. The Blue Leprechaun
1220 S University Ave #109, Ann Arbor
17. Three Blind Mice Irish Pub
101 N Main St, Mt Clemens
Whether or not your ancestors hail from the Emerald Isle, there’s a lot to love about the day that commemorates Ireland’s patron saint. Enjoy step dancers, bagpipers and grown men dressed as leprechauns… but please skip the green beer and instead, have a pint of the black stuff (or even a whiskey). Here’s some of the best places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in America if you want to take a trip!
Chicago – Watch the boats dye the river green in the morning before the parade snakes down Columbus Drive. And Chicago has a great selection of bars with cheap beer too. This is a bucket list destination. One of the best Irish pubs to visit is Galway Arms, which offers traditional Irish cuisine and beverages and has live Irish music performances.
Boston – the city’s Irish history and culture are undeniable, especially in neighborhoods like South Boston. It also doesn’t hurt that Boston has Irish pubs on practically every corner. Homegrown Celtic punk band the Dropkick Murphys usually hold a hometown concert.
Philadelphia – an incredible selection of traditional Irish pubs make Philly an obvious choice for St. Patrick’s Day. For more than 250 years, Philly has been presenting one of the oldest parades in the world which includes more than 20,000 participants and 200 groups. The world will drink 13 million pints of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day and I’m sure half of that is here in Philly.
Savannah, GA – one of the most Irish cities in America. It’s been estimated that upwards of a half-million are drawn to Savannah during the weekend, which takes on the feel of a gigantic street festival as much as a parade. And unlike other cities, Savannah encourages everyone to join IN the parade, as long as you’re dressed to the nines in green.
New York City – the most Irish pubs and Irish restaurants per capita and the nation’s lowest DUIs because everything is a short walk (or stumble) away! The parade takes over 5 hours to march up 5th Avenue in front of approximately two million spectators. Don’t forget to visit McSorley’s Old Ale House: since the days Abraham Lincoln drank here, they still serve only two beers… a light ale or dark porter.
New Orleans – if there’s one city in the U.S. that loves a parade, it’s NOLA, which actually hosts three straight weeks of parades in honor of St. Patrick’s Day (four, if you count the Irish Channel Practice March). “he “Irish Channel” is an Irish neighborhood which turns into an all-day street party, in front of Parasol’s Bar.
Pittsburgh – I haven’t been here yet on March 17th but Pittsburgh is 4th in American cities with Irish population and has stellar St. Patrick’s Day traditions to match.