Channel Your Inner Irish — Suggestions for St. Patrick’s Day revelry
BY TRICIA DESPRES March 13, 2013 6:20PM
Updated: April 16, 2013 3:21PM
Every year, restaurateur Billy Lawless Jr. still gets a good Irish chuckle out of St. Patrick’s Day revelers in Chicago.
“I came here from Ireland in June of 1998, and it was amazing to see how the holiday was such a big deal over here,” says Lawless, the owner of The Gage, who readily admits to an insatiable craving for his restaurant’s braised lamb Shepherd’s Pie these days. “Every single person takes it as their own holiday. It’s a great sense of community the whole weekend through.”
Indeed, Chicago takes St. Patrick’s Day seriously, from the dyeing of the river green to the annual parade on Columbus Drive. So whether you are 100 percent Irish or are just looking for an excuse to scarf down a corned beef sandwich and drink green beer, Chicago is sure to have just what you are looking for:
AN IRISH BLESSING
Chances are you may be praying for forgiveness sometime before the weekend is through, so why not start out on the right foot. Old St. Patrick’s Church will host its annual St. Patrick’s Day Civic Celebration on March 16. Morning mass will feature performers including the Sheila Tully Irish Stepdancers and the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band. Next will be a blessing to others at the St. Patrick’s Day Misericordia Fundraiser & Post Parade Celebration at Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House in the afternoon, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting the children and adults of Misericordia Home.
Old St. Patrick’s Church, 700
W. Adams, (312) 648-1021;
Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House, 1024 N. Rush, (312) 640-0999;
AN IRISH BREAKFAST
Corned beef hash is one thing . . . but on a waffle? Quick, grab your phone and tag your friends. Through March 24, Bel 50 will feature this interesting combo of diced corned beef, onion and cabbage, topped with a fried egg and served on a green, parsley- and scallion-infused waffle. Add an order of spiced maple-glazed sweet potato fries, Parmesan-truffle Tater Tots or green apple & cabbage slaw. LUXBAR also will feature a traditional Irish breakfast via a plate of two eggs, Slagel Farm ham, sausage links, stewed white beans, potato hash, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms and housemade raisin soda bread.
Bel 50, 738 N. Clark, (312) 496-3948; w
LUXBAR, 18 E. Bellevue, (312) 642-3400; www.luxbar.com
AN IRISH COCKTAIL
Try as you might, staying completely sober throughout St. Patrick’s Day weekend is going to be tough. So if you are going to drink, keep it classy with some upscale cocktails. Located within Trump Chicago, Rebar is featuring two signature cocktails: the Shamrockatini, crafted with Jameson Irish Whiskey, Godiva White, and Creme de Menthe, and the Leprechaun Elixir, a classic Irish coffee with a kick. BRASSERIA by LM will also have its share of themed drinks such as The Creamy Shamrock (Baileys, vodka and Creme de Menthe Dark), The Irish Ginger (Jameson and Ginger Ale) and The Nutty Irishman (Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur and Bailey’s Irish Cream).
Rebar, 401 N. Wabash, (312) 588-8034; www.trumphotelcollection.
S. Michigan, (312)431-1788,
AN IRISH DATE WITH A VIEW
Looking for the best seat in the house to witness St. Patrick’s Day from afar? The Cityscape Bar, on the 15th floor of the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, offers an excellent view of the Chicago River turning green on March 16th while offering complimentary appetizers such as mini corned beef sandwiches, Guinness BBQ wings and vegetable crudite. Or, take to the lake on the Spirit of Chicago, whose St. Patrick’s Day on the Water festivities on March 17 will include a dinner, dancing and, of course, a great view of city.
Cityscape Bar at Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 350 W. Mart Center Drive, 15th Floor, (312-836-5000); w
Spirit of Chicago Cruises, (866) 273-2469; www.spiritofchicago.com
AN IRISH GIG
Who doesn’t love a bagpiper, especially on St. Patrick’s Day weekend? Luckily for Chicagoans, the talents of these amazing kilt-wearing players will be on display all over town. One of their many stops will include the new Gold Coast eatery The Local Chicago, as the Irish Rover Bagpipers will make a special appearance the afternoon of March 17. Celtic rockers Gaelic Storm perform in support of their 2012 release “Chicken Boxer” at 9 p.m. March 15 at the House of Blues.
The Local Chicago, 198 E. Delaware, (312) 280-8887; w
House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn. Visit www.houseofblues.com
AN IRISH WARM-UP
Whether you are in dire need of a warm-up, caffeine, or a good ol’ hearty buzz, make a stop at The Florentine, where they’ll be pouring their namesake Italian/Irish cappuccino, which boasts Lavazza espresso, Irish whiskey, Varnelli mokka liqueur and Creme de Menthe cream. Benny’s Chop House also will also serve up an Irish cocktail, served just warm enough to delight one’s Irish heart. “Ian’s Demise” includes a House Brose (Scotch infused with Maple and Irish Oats), Benny’s Birch Bark Bitters, cream and dark chocolate.
The Florentine, 151 W. Adams, (312) 660-8866; www.e2hospitality.
Benny’s Chop House, 444 N.
Wabash, (312) 626-2444, www.bennys
AN IRISH CELEBRATION — AWAY FROM THE LOOP
Consider heading to the Lincoln Square area, which offers all the excitement of the city without the craziness. A number of Lincoln Square restaurants will be going green, such as the recently revamped Himmel’s, which will feature shamrock-shaped Reuben pizza that will go perfectly with its selection of green beer. The Grafton Pub is also sure to be hopping with live Irish tunes from Tom O’Shea & Phil Crickard with a selection of music from Kerry, Ireland.
Himmel’s, 2251 W. Lawrence, (773) 784-8777; www.himmelschicago.com
The Grafton Pub, 4530 N. Lincoln, (773) 271-9000; www.thegrafton.com
AN IRISH HANGOVER REMEDY
When your head is spinning and your friend throws your car keys in the river, it’s either time to go home or time to head to the Revive Hydration Clinic.
Cure what ails you within a special St. Patrick’s Day Recovery package being offered throughout the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. For a base package of $99 per person, patients will receive expedited hydration therapy through IV delivery of fluids, nutrition and medication.
Revive Hydration Clinic, 222 W. Ontario, Suite 450, (312) 350-1822, www.revivechicago.com
Tricia Despres is a local free-lane writer.