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 in March 2024.

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

Across the Pond

1732 Connecticut Ave., NW

Rise and shine—doors open at 8 AM for St. Patrick’s Day at Dupont Circle’s Irish sports pub (you know what they say: you can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning). Once you’ve guzzled breakfast, there’s live music and specials all day long. Entry is free.


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).  


Boundary Stone

116 Rhode Island Ave., NW

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.

Bloomingdale’s neighborhood pub, run by longtime friends Gareth Croke and Colin McDonough, is celebrating all weekend with specials from chef David Bacot. Doors open at 10 AM on St. Patrick’s Day for brunch and Irish breakfast. Food specials like a corned beef and cabbage Wellington run through Friday, March 22.


The Dubliner

4 F St., NW

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

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. 


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 start early— on Saturday, March 16, Kirwan’s co-hosts the Ireland on the Wharf festival with a waterfront Guinness beer garden, 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. St. Patrick’s Day brings thirsty crowds looking for a good time.


Virginia Pubs

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 this stalwart pub, which opens at 9 AM on St. Patrick’s Day for a holiday brunch buffet plus hours of live music, food, beer, and Irish dancing. There’s also live music planned for Tuesday, March 12, and Thursday through Sunday evening. Reservations are recommended.


Ireland’s Four Courts

2051 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

This is the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration for this Arlington pub since its renovation last year. Doors open at 8:30 AM on Saturday, March 16 and on St. Patrick’s Day and they don’t close until 2 AM. Revelers can check out over 10 live bands and traditional Irish dancers. On Thursday, March 14th, you can have your Guinness pint engraved with an etching machine.


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 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. Featured musicians include Irish folksinger Gerry Timlin and DC native Brooks Yoder.


Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub

713 King St., Alexandria

Old Town is home to a large Irish-American community and several pubs. This one is among the best. Listen to live music throughout this week, or sip a stout alongside bangers and mash. On St. Patrick’s Day, doors open at 9 AM and there’s more live music and dancing all day.


Mattie and Eddie’s

1301 South Joyce St., Arlington

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.

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—music, dancing, and drinking—run from Friday, March 15 to Sunday, March 17.


The Old Brogue

760 Walker Rd., Great Falls

The 43 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 (ages 21 and over only). There are music and dance performances Friday and Saturday, too.


Maryland Pubs

The Irish Inn at Glen Echo

6119 Tulane Ave., Glen Echo

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

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, tuck into dishes like potato/leek soup, 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 that will include brunch, special drinks, giveaways, games, and a moon bounce.


The Limerick Pub

11301 Elkin St., Wheaton

Regulars can relax by the fire or play darts at this Wheaton pub. Doors open at 11 AM for St. Patrick’s day festivities, which include live music, and traditional Irish dishes like Guinness beef stew, shepherds pie, and fish n’ chips.. 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) and colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage).  

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.