Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With Friends
Post originally published March 14, 2014. Updated with current information on March 11, 2016.
Have you made plans for St.Patrick’s Day? It’s on March 17th but there is no need to wait as celebrations are going on all week in Orlando. According to the Orlando Business Journal, there are over 201,000 people of Irish descent living in Orlando / Kissimmee area. Whether you’re Irish or you just like to party like one, everyone has a bit of an inner Irish this time of year, so this is a great occasion to get your friends together and celebrate. I’m not sure if St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was fond of green beer or not but it seems you can’t have a St. Patrick’s celebration without it. If you’re like me, and are looking for more than just green beer this St. Patrick’s Day then get your friends together, put on your fun green party hat and as many green articles of clothing as you can, and head on over to one of my Top 9 Spots in Orlando to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. You will find plenty of green beer at these places plus so much more.
In the words of Irish writer, Oscar Wilde,
“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best”
TOP 9 SPOTS TO CELEBRATE ST. PATRICK’S DAY IN ORLANDO
1. Raglan Road Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival
Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant knows how to produce a top-notch event and this week-long celebration is not to be missed as it is the most authentic Irish celebration in town. Featuring top-notch Irish entertainment on multiple stages with award-winning Irish Bands, the amazing quick-stepping Raglan Road Dancers, Ceili traditional music you can dance, do the jig, sing along, do the jig again and have a good time in true authentic Irish style. For showtimes and more information click here. If you are interested in the food, as I am, Raglan Road offers authentic Irish cuisine taken to a modern, inventive and award-winning level by Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon, host of the TV show Kevin Dundon’s Modern Irish Cooking on PBS and Create TV. Guests can order from Raglan Road’s popular lunch, dinner and bar menus. Dinner menu includes loin of bacon and cabbage, the authentic Irish dish of St. Patrick’s Day, plus other Irish classics. On March 17, guests are seated on a first come-first served basis with a cover charge of $10 per person 18 and older. Reservations can be booked for the other days of the festival. The Rollicking Raglan Saturday and Sunday Brunch is one not to be missed featuring the traditional Irish breakfast of sausage, black and white pudding, bacon, roasted tomato, mushrooms and fried eggs with potato “roasties”, several entrees. During the festival, Chef Dundon also hosts exclusive dining events such as a four course luncheon and culinary demonstration as well as a signature wine dinner. These events sell out far in advance. I must warn you, this festival is a very popular event and like all things popular, crowds are bound to be there. The good thing is you will all be wearing green so get ready to dance, eat and drink at the Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival. Raglan Road is located at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) in Walt Disney World Resort.
Here’s some great recipes from Chef Kevin Dundon to prepare an amazing Irish Feast at home! You will be dreaming of a trip to Ireland, guaranteed!
2. The St. Practice Day Pub Crawl
If you equate St. Patrick’s Day with cocktails and beers, drinks and more drinks, then here’s the event for you. On the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, the folks at Orlando Pub Crawl host this “practice” event to get you ready for St. Patrick’s Day. Practice makes perfect and the “Crawl to your Mug o’Gold” festivities start at Wall St. Plaza in Downtown Orlando and take you to various bars in the area including Lizzy McCormack’s Irish Pub and ending up back at the Wall St. Street Party. This is a fun activity to get a group of friends together and check out multiple places in one night for a very low price. It’s also a great way to make new friends as you will be walking (stumbling) to each bar as a group. Ticket price includes admission to all venues, 4 complimentary beers or call cocktails, plus drink specials at each stop. For more info and tickets, visit their website. Event starts at Wall St. Plaza in Downtown Orlando.
3. Liam Fitzpatrick’s St. Patrick’s Day Block Party
Eat, drink and be Irish at this free block party hosted by Liam Fitzpatrick’s Restaurant and Irish Pub. Live entertainment throughout the evening including performances by the Orlando Firefighter Pipes and Drums, Irish dancers from the Watters School of Irish Dance, two live DJs and even Leprechaun appearances. Food and drink specials will keep you well energized for the revelry expected to go late into the night on St. Patrick’s Day. Colonial Town Park shopping plaza neighbors Graffiti Junktion, Dexter’s and Duffy’s will also provide festive entertainment, food and drink specials all day long. Located in Lake Mary. For more information, visit their website.
4. Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub
This family owned little hole in the wall is most likely the most traditional Irish Pub in town with metal-tip dart boards, pool table, soccer on TV, Guinness on tap and great traditional Irish food. Irish guests say it reminds them of the pubs in small rural towns back home. The cozy atmosphere feels like you are hanging out with friends in your own living room. The menu is limited but it’s authentic. You must try their Scotch eggs, the hot roast beef Dubliner sandwich, homemade pies like the Cottage Pie with lean beef, carrots, peas and mashed potatoes, the Steak & Mushroom Pie or the Irish Stew, all so good they taste like your mom made them (if you have an Irish mom!) and of course they pour the Perfect-Pint of Guinness. Did you know that there is a six-step process to pouring the perfect Guinness? It starts with a cool, clean dry Guinness glass held under the tap at a 45 degree angle, filled until ¾ full, then you let it settle for approximately 119.5 seconds (Really? Do they have a timer?), top the glass without overflow and it ends with it being handed to the customer with no overspill. They were awarded the Perfect Pint Award by Guinness so they know their beer! It doesn’t get more authentic. Located in East Orlando, 4308 Curry Ford Road
5. Harp & Celt St. Patrick’s Day
If you’re looking for football (soccer for us Americans), corned beef and cabbage and a full Celtic menu then this is the place for you. This bar is all about football. If there is a live match on, anywhere in the world, you better believe it will be on their TVs. Just don’t ask for American Football to be shown or you just may get run out of town. This spot can also boast that a U.S. President enjoyed a perfect pint in their joint during his campaign a few years ago, but more importantly, they can also brag that many locals flock there to watch football and enjoy a pint or two, making it known as the #1 “Footy Bar” in downtown Orlando. Don’t miss their daily specials, Bangers and Mash and traditional Irish breakfasts. For St. Patrick’s Day, you can expect the place to be packed so get there early because it’s first come first served. Click here for more info. Located in Downtown Orlando, 25 South Magnolia Avenue.
6. Pub Patty Party at The Pub Orlando
Live music gets the St. Patrick’s festivities going at The Pub Orlando. Drink specials including green beer (of course), Jell-O Shots, Guinness, Smithwick’s and Harp, Irish Stinkers, Jameson Shots, Paddy Shots and more are being offered starting at 11am at the Pub Patty Party. You can’t forget to eat a hearty meal on a day like this, and The Pub does not disappoint with their Shepherd’s pie, Fish and Chips, Whisky Bread Pudding and many appetizers that are great for sharing with friends. This beautiful British pub also features “Pour your own beer” walls, where you choose your drink, pay by the ounce and pour it yourself and a Mug Club where for a yearly membership fee you can enjoy specials and discounts. If watching live games is your thing, they have you covered there too with TV’s throughout. Click here for more info. Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Drive
7. Fiddlers Green in Winter Park
Food, Fun and Entertainment with an Irish flair, Celtic dancers, bagpipers, and Rosie O’Grady’s Highlanders Band, oh my! For a great Irish experience in Winter Park this is the place to be. Don’t miss Saturday and Sunday brunch to start the day with a Bloody Mary bar, mimosas, Harp Shady, Irish and American Breakfast dishes served from 11am-3pm. On St. Patrick’s Day, they will be open at 9am, serving food all day. End the day with their great beer selection, Irish cooking and live entertainment. What more could you ask for? This spot has been voted in the Top 40 Pubs in America by New York’s Irish Voice and Best Pub by Orlando Magazine readers. Click here for more info. Winter Park, 544 West Fairbanks Avenue
8. Hagan O’Reilly’s
For a little piece of authentic Ireland in Winter Garden Florida, stop by Hagan O’Reilly’s. The owners come from a long line of pub owners in Ireland and they wanted to continue the tradition here in Florida to pay tribute to their grandfather and father. I simply love their belief that an Irish pub is more than a place to have a few beers but a comfortable place to gather with friends and enjoy the “craic”. Craic is the Irish term for a good time and my favorite word now. It sums up an experience filled with fun, laughter, good company, music, food and drinks in a friendly atmosphere which is what goEpicurista is all about. For St. Patrick’s Day, you will find lots of “craic” with live music. Their menu offers pub food like Cassidy’s Corned Beef Sandwich and a Half Pound Doughnut Burger that is bound to fill you up, plus your traditional Irish fare of Fish and Chips, Irish Stew and Bangers & Mash. On the weekends, check out their raw bar with fresh seafood. The bar offers 46 beers on tap plus a full bar. Happy hour is every day from 11am-7pm. Their patio is a great spot to enjoy nice weather and a drink or two with your friends. For more information click here. Winter Garden, 16112 Marsh Rd.
9. Theme Parks
Disney and Universal Studios each house their own pubs that are the perfect place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your family if you happen to be enjoying the parks on that day. Both of these spots are very popular with tourists and locals alike so don’t be surprised to find them packed all day. At Epcot, you will find your green beer, traditional pub dishes and the most entertaining little old lady in a funny hat playing the piano at Rose & Crown. This pub is lots of fun on its own plus Epcot is the perfect place where it is not only socially acceptable but a requirement to eat and drink around the world. Located at 200 Epcot Center Dr, Lake Buena Vista.
At Universal Studios Orlando, you can’t miss Finnegan’s Bar and Grill. They offer a large menu with traditional Irish dishes as well as your typical American fare. The Fish & Chips and the Potato & Onion Web are great plus the portions are large enough to share. The bar is a nice spot to hang out at and enjoy a pint or two as well as live entertainment. Located at Universal Studios Orlando, 6000 Universal Blvd.
You may also want to check out this list of the Top 9 Irish Pubs in Orlando! As you can see there is no shortage of options in Orlando to celebrate like the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day. You may ask why I only a Top 9 list instead of the usual Top 10 and that’s because I don’t know every place in town and you may have a favorite that I need to check out. So please be nice and share your top pick for St. Patrick’s day in the comments below.
Lastly, I will say may the luck of the Irish be with you always, so please drink responsibly and have a designated driver so you can preserve great St. Patty’s Day memories for years to come. As a last resort, you can also take advantage of the AAA Tow To Go program by calling 855-2-TOW-2-GO. Click here for more info.
An old Irish Proverb says “Laughter is brightest where food is best” so Go Epicurista and enjoy great food, laughter and life with friends!
Slainte! – Cheers!