Irish eyes are almost always smiling, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. Whether or not you’re Irish, you will thank your lucky stars that you’re partying in Philly for the wearin’ of the green. Speaking of green, you might want to celebrate with a pint or two of green brew. If that’s the case, these Philly bars will happy to serve some up this St. Paddy’s day.

Hours:  Mon to Sun—11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

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Opened just after the Liberty Bell cracked, McGillin’s has been around for over 150 years, serving the Market East area delicious pub grub and great suds. If you’re looking for an authentic Irish pub to show off your green socks, look no further than McGillin’s, where the crowd will be raucous and the green beer will be flowing.

Hours: Mon to Sun—11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

If you happen to be wandering along South Street on St. Paddy’s Day and you come across a life-sized wooden chef standing outside a pub, no, you’re not seeing things. You’ve arrived at The Blarney South Bar and Grille, a friendly, memorabilia-filled watering hole with live music and a lively crowd. This pub is sure to be serving up plenty of pints of green beer this year.

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Hours: Mon to Wed—9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun—9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

(credit: Thinkstock)

At Bonner’s, the beer is cheap and cold, the food is filling and the karaoke is super entertaining. Just outside of ritzy Rittenhouse Square, it’s a homey neighborhood bar with a loyal local following. As one local customer said, “…it ain’t fancy, but you’ll have a hell of a time.”

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Hours: Mon to Fri—5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sat to Sun—Noon to 2 a.m.

(credit: The Irish Pol/Facebook)

Time and again, The Irish Pol is on Philadelphian’s lists of favorite hang-outs. It’s no wonder; this Old City pub has 40 craft beers on tap and amazing drink specials. Low-key and unassuming, you’ll actually be able to carry on a conversation in this joint (well, maybe not on St. Patrick’s Day!). The bartenders are knowledgeable (they have a lot of beer to learn about) and friendly. Although the food comes mainly from the fryer, it’s okay; you’re really only here for the beer, right?

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Erin Express

(215) 386-4889

If you’re serious about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, and we mean really serious, then you must hop aboard the Erin Express. A bar crawl of sorts, the Erin Express was created by Cavanaugh’s and Smokey Joe’s more than 30 years ago as a way to safely shuttle revelers from bar to bar as they filled up on green beer. There are free yellow buses that run from noon to 5:30 p.m. on the weekends before St. Patrick’s Day (March 3 and 10) and on St. Paddy’s Day itself. They stop at each of the pubs along the trail about every 15 minutes, picking up and dropping off merrymakers. Some of the stops on this year’s trip include:

  • Mill Creek Tavern
  • Smokey Joe’s
  • The Blarney Stone
  • Cavanaugh’s
  • Westy’s
  • Mace’s Crossing
  • The Green Room
  • Kelliann’s
  • Slainte
  • Bonner’s Irish Pub
  • Callahan’s Grille
  • Gallagher’s on the Parkway
  • Cavanaugh’s Rittenhouse
  • Drinker’s West
  • New Deck
  • Copabanana
  • Listen to extended interview with Brian Cavanaugh:

Have a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day, and party like you’re Irish. But please be safe, be careful and be responsible. Don’t drink and drive!

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Trish Deitemyer is a freelance writer living in Philly. She covers Food & Drink and has been writing since 1986. Her work can be found at

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