The Best Irish Pubs for Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day Around DC

Where to find live music, Irish dancing, food and drink specials, and a Guinness breakfast.

Martin's Tavern in Georgetown celebrates St. Patrick's Day. Photograph by Scott Suchman

This post was updated March 2023

There are two kinds of bars on St. Patrick’s Day: places that throw a leprechaun on the door, and real Irish pubs that celebrate with live music, dancing, and traditional food and drink. We’ll celebrate at the latter—see a full lineup below.

DC Pubs

St. Patrick's day food specials at Boundary Stone like Irish stew and corned beef Wellington run all weekend. Photograph courtesy of Boundary Stone
St. Patrick’s day food specials at Boundary Stone like Irish stew and corned beef Wellington run all weekend. Photograph courtesy of Boundary Stone

Across the Pond
1732 Connecticut Ave., NW
Rise and shine—doors open at 7 AM for St. Patrick’s Day at Dupont Circle’s Irish sports pub, and Guinness is just $2 until 10 AM for those who purchase a wristband (you know what they say: you can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning). Once you’ve drunk breakfast, there’s live music, bagpipers, and specials all day long. Entry is free but $10 reservations are also available starting at 4 PM.

The Blaguard
2003 18th St., NW
An Irish bar with DC roots, the Blag is a popular bi-level Adams Morgan spot for watching local sports and digging into wings and totchos (with daily happy hour specials, including weekends). Doors open early on St. Patrick’s day (11 AM) with food specials like corned beef quesadillas and Blag swag all day. 

Boundary Stone
116 Rhode Island Ave., NW
Bloomingdale’s neighborhood pub, run by the Croke and McDonough brothers, is celebrating all weekend with live music and specials from chef David Bacot. Doors open at 10 AM on St. Patrick’s Day (brunch and Irish breakfast served), followed by live music. Food specials like a corned beef and cabbage Wellington run through Monday, March 20.

The Dubliner
4 F St., NW
The Coleman family-owned institution has poured Irish beers on Capitol Hill for nearly 50 years. Patrons can drop by on St. Patrick’s Day starting at 9 AM for an all-day party with live music, Irish dancing, full lunch and dinner menus (we have our eye on the corned beef and cabbage or shepherd’s pie), and Guinness at indoor and covered outdoor bars. 

The Dubliner bar. Photograph courtesy of The Dubliner
The Dubliner bar. Photograph courtesy of The Dubliner

Irish Channel
500 H St., NW
County Cork native Tom Stack runs this low-key neighborhood bar in Chinatown, which offers traditional pub grub alongside Irish favorites like a “spice bag” (Dublin’s answer to fried chicken and chips) and Guinness stew. Doors open at 10 AM on St. Patrick’s Day for celebrations.

Kirwan’s on the Wharf
749 Wharf St., SW
Tipperary native Mark Kirwan is behind this Irish gastropub (as well as Samuel Beckett’s in Arlington). Head to both for music, Irish dancers, and Guinness specials, plus from-scratch dishes like a stellar Shepard’s pie made with braised lamb. The festivities continue on Saturday, March 18 as Kirwan’s co-hosts the Ireland on the Wharf festival with a waterfront Guinness tent, live music, and dancing. 

Kelly’s Irish Times
14 F St., NW
This self-described “quaint, sometimes boisterous” pub near Union Station has served pints and an extensive selection of whiskeys for over four decades. Patrick’s Day brings thirsty crowds looking for a good time.

Martin’s Tavern
1264 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Georgetown’s historic pub, a neighborhood fixture for nearly 90 years, is still run by the Martin family—originally from Galway. Expect plenty of food and drink specials for St. Patrick’s Day, Irish coffee (hot or iced) and a Guinness-Bailey’s ice cream float for dessert.

Virginia Pubs

Oysters and Guinness at Mattie & Eddie's in Arlington. Photograph courtesy of Mattie & Eddie's
Oysters and Guinness at Mattie & Eddie’s in Arlington. Photograph courtesy of Mattie & Eddie’s

The Auld Shebeen
3971 Chain Bridge Rd., Fairfax
Fairfax City’s classic Irish pub is a popular gathering place for musicians—there’s often live music on the calendar—as well as fans of home-style cooking like cottage pie or bangers in mash with brown gravy. St. Patrick’s is less of day here, more of a “season,” with plenty of live music and specials scheduled through the week.

The Celtic House
2500 Columbia Pk., Arlington
Drop by for all-day Irish breakfast at this stalwart pub, which opens at 9 AM on St. Patrick’s Day for hours of live music, food, beer, and dancing. There’s also live music planned for Thursday evening, and a holiday brunch buffet on Sunday. Reservations are recommended.

Ireland’s Four Courts
2051 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Note: Arlington’s Irish-owned pub is temporarily closed after a car crashed into the building. It plans to reopen summer 2023.

Ireland’s Four Provinces
105 W Broad St., Falls Church
Cork native Colm Dillon is behind “Four P’s,”  a Falls Church staple of nearly three decades. Neighbors love it for the large outside patio and bar (with TVs for streaming sports) and music inside and out. St. Patrick’s Day kicks off with a kegs n’ eggs breakfast, followed by a three-course midday meal (reservations required) and live music all day long.

Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub
713 King St., Alexandria
Old Town is home to a large Irish-American community and several pubs. This stalwart is among the best. Listen to live music nightly, or sip a stout alongside bangers and mash. The pub is celebrating all week with Taste of Ireland entertainment on Wednesday and dancers on Thursday. On St. Patrick’s Day, doors open at 8 AM (no cover) with live music all day. 

Mattie and Eddie’s
1301 South Joyce St., Arlington
Dublin native Cathal Armstrong, author of My Irish Table, is the chef-owner of this Pentagon City pub. The food is true to the Emerald Isle–we’re fans of the all-day Irish breakfast, house-cured corned beef, and fish n’ chips. St. Patrick’s Day festivities extend through  Sunday, March 19. Head over for a full weekend of music, dancing, and a Guinness & Jameson brunch.

The Old Brogue
760 Walker Rd., Great Falls
The 42 year-old pub is an Irish spot for all seasons, equipped with a large patio for sipping Smithwick’s in summer and a fireplace warming the room in winter. Comfort fare goes year-round with plenty of sausages, savory pies, and stews. Doors open at 10 AM on St. Patrick’s Day ($10 cover) with live music and specials all day long, including a $45 set lunch and $60 dinner (note: all for 21+).

Maryland Pubs

The Irish Inn at Glen Echo celebrates St. Patrick's Day.
The Irish Inn at Glen Echo. Photograph courtesy of the Irish Inn

The Irish Inn at Glen Echo
6119 Tulane Ave., Glen Echo, MD
The atmospheric inn is a great place to avoid green beer-chugging crowds and celebrate the holiday with family and friends. Patrons can sip Guinness at the bar, try dishes like Galway seafood stew, and catch live Irish music and dancing. Need holiday cheer? Watch this video with co-owner Christy Hughes as he reflects on coming to America, working at the Dubliner for 18 years, and opening his own Irish bars and restaurants.

Finnegan’s Wake Irish Pub
100 Gibbs St., Rockville
The independent Irish bar in Rockville Town Center is throwing a two-day St. Patrick’s Day festival. On Friday, DC 101 will broadcast live from the pub from 3 to 7 PM, and revelers can take in music and specials. Saturday is a family-friendly affair with face painting and more live music. An Irish brunch starts at 10 AM both days.

The Limerick Pub
11301 Elkin St., Wheaton
Regulars can relax by the fire or play darts at the Wheaton pub. Doors open at 10 AM for St. Patrick’s day festivities, which include live music, and traditional Irish dishes like bangers and colcannon mash or corned beef and cabbage. There’s a $5 cover, and it’s 21+.

McGinty’s Public House
911 Ellsworth Dr., Silver Spring
This gathering place in downtown Silver Spring comes from Irish-born owners, and the menu boasts a few less-common finds like an Irish “boxty” (potato and cheddar cake), Wexford lamb stew, and colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage). Though St. Patrick’s is a music-filled day, every Tuesday brings traditional Irish players to the pub.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.