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A bottle of Jameson Original Whiskey, with a whiskey ginger cocktail, in a bar in New York City. Photography by Cole Giordano

Your Ultimate Guide to St. Patrick’s Day in New York City

The best pubs, restaurants, and clubs to spend St. Patrick’s Day, your way.

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Shamrocks. Parades. Corned beef and cabbage. Green attire. Green beer. We all have preconceived notions of what St. Patrick’s Day looks like across America, and it’s in no short part thanks to one city’s storied tale of Irish traditions. And that would be in New York City.

In fact, many argue that St. Patrick’s Day’s popularity is thanks to Americans, not the Irish. Boston technically held the first St. Paddy’s Day celebrations in 1737 (we New Yorkers won’t hold that against them), but the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not held in Dublin until centuries after New Yorkers first did it in 1766. Then, according to Time magazine, Irish Catholic members of the British army held a parade to celebrate the Saint of Ireland. What was significant about the parade was that during that time, celebrations of Irish heritage in their native country were banned. That’s right: In Ireland, it was prohibited to wear the color green, according to the St. Patrick’s Day parade organizers. So New Yorkers took particular pride in wearing green, speaking Irish, and playing the pipes to traditional Irish songs in their new home.

The customary traditions of St. Patrick’s Day stateside grew as Irish immigrants came to the East Coast, but nowhere was the holiday more celebrated than in the Big Apple. As the city has ridden the seas of change over time, so have its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. No longer relegated to Irish pubs, the best St. Patrick’s Day revelry can be found anywhere: in your neighborhood bar, your favorite spot for a cocktail, your go-to nightclub for when you just need to dance. Where should you spend your St. Patrick’s Day? No matter who you are or what neighborhood you prefer — because we know the debate between uptown versus downtown is real — you can easily order a Jameson Whiskey and partake in New York’s oldest holiday.

If You’re a Homebody: Bob’s Your Uncle

Imagine if your friendly Cheers bar got a 2018 makeover — Bob’s Your Uncle is it. With a rotating beer list that’s approachable but upscale, friendly bartenders, a wall of famous Bobs on the wall (i.e. Bob Marley, Bob Barker, and SpongeBob SquarePants), and part of the cocktail list dedicated solely to mules, Bob’s Your Uncle is the quirky hole-in-the-wall you’ve always longed for. Let the rest of the city have their dyed green beers while you find respite in a quieter dive bar where everybody knows your name — and you can have a conversation over the music.

Bob’s Your Uncle; 929 Columbus Avenue, Upper West Side, Manhattan; bobsyouruncle.nyc

If You’re a Cocktail Connoisseur: Suffolk Arms

It’s only appropriate to spend St. Patrick’s Day at Suffolk Arms, a hybrid of the homey British and Irish pub and the uber-sleek New York City cocktail bar. The decor might make you believe you’ve found yourself in Ireland, but the menu is all New York. In a city that’s awash known for a world-class mixology scene, Suffolk Arms stands out for its modern libations. You won’t find pre-Prohibition drinks here, so save your usual cocktail for another night and find a new way to drink your whiskey — mixologist Giuseppe Gonzalez prides himself on original recipes you won’t find anywhere else (like the Porn Star, made lime juice, vanilla, passion fruit puree, and Jameson, and served with a shot of Guinness).

Suffolk Arms; 269 East Houston Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan; suffolkarms.com

If You’re a Foodie: The Penrose

Another Upper East Side gem, what sets the Penrose apart is actually the food menu. Not to say the Penrose is not deserving of its accolades for its cocktails (we love the Free Thinker, made with Jameson Caskmates, pamplemousse liqueur, and allspice dram) or its whiskey list, but every strong libation needs an equally strong counterpart. Grab some sharing plates for your crowd, like the blistered shishito peppers or General Tso’s wings, or indulge in the Penrose burger and a lobster grilled cheese with (you guessed it) lobster bisque. Or, hide out from the St. Patrick’s Day boozy brunches and enjoy an upscale dinner. Diners love the new breakfast grain bowl and the smoked salmon BLT.

The Penrose; 1590 2nd Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan; penrosebar.com

If You’re a Social Butterfly: The Loyal

A brasserie, by European definition, is an informal restaurant perfect for large gatherings ready to eat and drink the night away. So what is an American brasserie? It’s what chef John Fraser hopes to achieve in his newest restaurant, the Loyal. Just trendy enough to attract the young and hip after-work crowd in the West Village, just approachable enough to be your new neighborhood spot, the Loyal is everything you’d hope for — and your perfect alternative to a typical St. Patrick’s Day. Squeeze into an overhyped spot with shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, or tuck away into a table at the Loyal for the night? The choice is easy when you take a peek at the menu. While the food menu is layered, the cocktail menu is the standout. Even a cocktail with the name Willy Wonka — with Jameson, pecan demerara, and dark chocolate bitters — will be sure to hold you over for the night.

The Loyal; 289 Bleecker Street, West Village, Manhattan; loyalrestaurant.com

If You’re a Dancing Fiend: House of Yes

The only way to avoid a stereotypical St. Patrick’s Day is to spend it at House of Yes. It’s known for its outlandish parties but the venue is actually a home away from home for Bushwick’s burgeoning art scene. There’s no telling what you’ll get on a night at House of Yes. Aerialists? Marching bands? Magicians? Burlesque dancers? Anything can happen. This St. Patrick’s Day, party like royalty in the Emerald Kingdom at House Of Yes.

House of Yes; 2 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn; houseofyes.org

If You’re a Traditionalist: Jack and Fanny’s

Second Avenue on the Upper East Side is lined with forgettable bars with no frills, but family-owned Jack and Fanny’s is that rare diamond in the rough. Modeled off of your Grandpa’s basement in the ‘70s (in that updated 2018 way, of course), Jack and Fanny’s pulls out the stops without being showy about it. With punny cocktail names (named for inside jokes and friends of the owners), quirky artwork, and vintage embroidered artwork, Jack and Fanny’s feels like the neighborhood bar you always wanted. Spend your St. Patrick’s Day with a cocktail — may we recommend an Irish cold brew, made specially with Jameson Whiskey — hold down at the indoor bocce court, or just grab a seat on the couches up front.

Jack and Fanny’s; 1591 2nd Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan; jackandfannys.com

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