I had no idea until today, but Tampa is tied for first with New York City for the most Irish pubs and restaurants per capita. Did you know that?
So that means there are TONS of places to get your Irish on this weekend! Whether you want Irish comfort food, green beer, highland dance, or a block party, here's what's happening around town:
Friday, March 16
When: March 16-18 Where: Irish 31 Bars | Hyde Park, Westchase, Westshore, Wiregrass and Fergs Live Cost: Free Info: One of the biggest and best St. Patrick’s Day parties in the Bay will return to Hyde Park Village for 2018 with a massive Paddyfest Street Festival down Rome Avenue! But that’s not all! There will also be a Shake Your Shamrock 5K, Irish Dancers from the Scarriff School of Dance, and national artists Love and Theft headlining from the Guinness Main Stage! If you think that’s awesome, on St. Paddy’s Day, there’s a Blarney Bike Ride, wing-eating contest, flip cup tournament and plenty of live music.
When: 6 p.m. - 11 p.m. Where: Albert Whitted Park at 480 Bayshore Drive SE, St. Petersburg Cost: Free Info: Seafood, sweets, and good times! What could be better?! Join the Gulf to Bay Food Truck Association for food, fun, and live entertainment during St. Pete's second annual Seafood and Sweets Festival! Gourmet food trucks will be lined up with special seafood inspired dishes, desserts, and their normal cuisine. This food truck rally goes from 6 pm – 11 pm and is located at Albert Whitted Park across from the Dali Museum and Mahaffey Theatre.
St. Patrick's Day Block Party 2018
When: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Where: Courigans Irish Pub at 1 Beach Drive Southeast, St. Petersburg Cost: Free Info: For those of you who don't know, Courigan's Annual Block Party is the place to be for St. Patrick's Day! They have multiple portable full liquor bars, a draft truck, an outside grill, and live bands all on the street! As well as festive pub grub inside. Slainte!
2018 Mayor's River O'Green Fest
When: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Where: Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park at 600 North Ashley Drive, Tampa Cost: Free Info: The Hillsborough River will once again be dyed green for the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration! The Mayor’s River O’Green Fest features an Irish-themed party at Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa. There will be plenty of live entertainment, games, kids activities, food trucks, and of course, beer. Morning festivities will begin with the River O’Green Gallop, family scavenger hunt, Leprechaun costume contest, as well as the Shamrock Scavenger Crawl for adults.
When: 11 a.m. - 3 a.m. Where: MacDintons at 405 South Howard Avenue, Tampa Cost: Free Info: Everyone knows that MacDinton's is the place to be seen in your green! Come out and celebrate on St. Patrick's Day and enjoy live entertainment including traditional Irish Bagpipers! There will be delicious Irish food including Corned Beef Hash. At night, you can enjoy drink specials, live DJ and plenty of dancing.
St. Patrick’s Pup Pawty
When: 12 p.m. - 1 a.m. Where: St. Pete Dog Bar at 2300 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg Cost: Free Info: Come kiss the Blarney dog! The Dog Bar in St. Pete has green beer, drink specials, Jell-O shots, and shenanigans all day long! Come out and play with us! Don’t forget to bring your pooch!
Shamrock Pub St. Patrick’s Day Block Party
Sarasota’s best Paddy’s Day party, Shamrock Pub’s 10th annual event starts Saturday with a first pint pouring at 9 a.m. and the block party runs from noon to midnight with an impressive selection of Irish and craft beer, live music by a full lineup of great local bands and tasty Irish cuisine and other fun foods by Tableseide Restaurant Group. Plus, don’t forget about Ticket Sarasota’s $500 prize limerick contest at 5 p.m. Info: 2257 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota; 941-952-1730; shamrocksarasota.com
Main Street Live, McCabe’s St. Patrick’s Day party
Downtown Bradenton’s Main Street Live series continues Saturday with a St. Patrick’s Day street party featuring singer Kim Betts and her Gamble Creek Band performing crowd-pleasing country hits and a huge party taking place in and around McCabe’s Irish Pub and newly opened sister restaurant/bar Bad Ass Cafe at the opposite, north end of the block (302 and 312 Old Main Street). Info: 6-10 p.m. Saturday; Old Main Street, Bradenton; facebook.com/independentjones
St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl through Siesta Village
Siesta Village spring breaker spots 3.14 Pi Craft Beer and Spirits, Daiquiri Deck, Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill and Siesta Key Oyster Bar have again joined forces to host a pub crawl, this one in honor of St. Patrick. Drink specials include $5 Jameson shots and $4 will get you a 20-ounce Bud Light souvenir cup. Of course, good times will be going on all day at the many great drinking spots in Siesta Village. Info: 9 p.m. Saturday; Siesta Key Oyster Bar, 5238 Ocean Blvd.; 941-346-5443; skob.com
For a more-sedate Irish pub experience, you can check out O’Bricks Irish Pub in downtown Bradenton. The restaurant will offer some Irish food and beverage specials, including hot corned beef sandwiches, corned beef and potatoes, and green beer, while it lasts. Bagpipers will play outside the restaurant from noon to 1 p.m.
Outside O’Bricks, an Old Main Street, the St. Patrick’s Day edition of Main Street live is set for 6-10 p.m., with live music and vendors. It’s free as always. The Kim Betts & the Gamble Creek Band is the headliner — but it’s definitely not Irish.
Just down the street from O’Bricks, at 302 Old Main St., McCabe’s Irish Pub will open a couple of hours early, between 9:30 and 10 a.m. McCabe’s will have live music from an Irish band called Clover’s Revenge, noon-4 p.m., Irish dancing at 3:30 p.m., bagpipes and Irish beer. The pub is open until 2 a.m. and there’s no cover charge. The McCabe’s Irish Pub Facebook page has information.
Nearby, Pier 22, 1200 First Ave. W., Bradenton, also features specials on Irish food and libations — Guinness stout, Irish coffee and the like — all day long. Call 941-748-8087 or go to pier22dining.com.
On the island
The new and improved Freckled Fin Irish Pub in Holmes Beach is open just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. On Saturday, the pub opens at 10 a.m. and there’s a full day of music including Trevor and Kristie, Joshua Gilton and Babyl. The restaurant will have traditional Irish food and drink specials.