Showing their colours
Whether or not you appreciate the sea of green and mess of drunken shenanigans that tend to accompany the annual observance of all (good) things Irish, St. Patrick’s Day in Montreal is a big fucking deal. We have the oldest St. Paddy’s parade in North America (192 years young, it’s departing from the corner of Fort and proceeding east on Ste-Catherine at noon on Sunday, March 22) and our Irish community — though largely assimilated, mixed and bearing few ties to the old country — makes up a large part of the anglo communities (and part of the franco communities) across the province.
Part Irish or no, St. Patrick’s Day — like patronage at the Irish bars that exist across the western world and beyond — transcends blood ties. So if you’re looking for somewhere to tie one on, or maybe just devour a decadent breakfast in a festive setting at ungodly hours of the morning, here’s where the revellery’s at, on St. Patrick’s Day itself, Parade Day and relevant moments in between:
Bishop & Bagg
52 St-Viateur W.
Now we don’t mean any disrespect by starting with a British pub (a satellite of Burgundy Lion), in Mile End of all places, but we’re being slaves to the alphabet here.
March 22: B& B opens for brunch at 10 a.m. and rolls out a three-party Irish-whiskey tasting post-parade (2 p.m.) as well as a special cocktail called Irish Toast.
Though not an Irish bar per se, Brutopia is in the eye of the Irish-bar storm, often catering to those with an ear for Celtic music, and remains a favourite with the Concordia crowd.
March 17: Lift a St. Paddy’s Day pint as Shane Murphy performs live from 10 p.m.
March 22: Party post-parade (or even during) as Bru is open from noon till the wee hours, with Haidrian’s Wall playing live as of 4 p.m.
2496 Notre-Dame W.
This Little Burgundy resto-bar is Montreal’s flagship British pub (in the 21st century, at least), and wears its anglophilia on its sleeve. It tends to save most of its holiday programming for the ultra-English St. George’s Day, but given its old-country brew, whiskey, trad pub grub and regular soccer broadcasts, the lines between the cultures are very fine in the minds of most Montrealers. Long story short, it’s jammed for St. Paddy’s.
March 22: BL opens at 9 a.m. on Parade Day, serving brunch and plenty of drank to follow.
Hurley’s Irish Pub
Hurley’s has been holding the Irish pub & grub thing down with impressive class for decades.
March 17: On St. Paddy’s itself, Solstice plays downstairs and Squidjigger keeps it lively on the top floor from 4 p.m. till closing.
March 20: Soft rockin’s radio station The Beat 92.5FM and City TV’s Breakfast Television morning show broadcast live from 6-9 a.m. and TSN 690AM shows up with sports talk at 3 p.m. to help launch St. Paddy’s Weekend revellery.
March 22: Hurley’s traditional Parade Day Irish breakfast begins at 8 a.m., with Solstice entertaining the pre- and post-parade crowds on the ground floor and Squidjigger doing their thing upstairs.
A relative newcomer in downtown’s Irish bar scene (strictly 21st century), Irish Embassy is a class act.
March 17: The Kenny Dupree Band takes the stage at 7 p.m.
March 20: CHOM 97.7FM broadcasts live out of IE from 6-10 p.m., serving Irish breakfast with Irish coffee included ($12).
March 22: Breakfast is served from 9-11:30 p.m., Kitchen Party dishes the Celtic sounds at 1:30 p.m., and the Jack brings the rock at 7:30 p.m.
This chain of Irish bars keeps it going full steam at two locations on the island.
March 17: Early risers can hit McKibbin’s for breakfast and Irish coffee ($15) from 7-10:30 p.m. The bar keeps its buzz on with live music by Good Time Charlie (4-9 p.m.), a Celtic dance performance at 10 p.m. and more live music from Belfast Andi & the Swift Years at 10:30 p.m.
March 20: CJAD 800AM broadcasts live from McK’s downtown from 5:30-9 a.m., with breakfast rolling out from 6-10:30 a.m., and Belfast Andi playing live from 6-10 a.m.
March 22: On Parade Day, breakfast is served from 8-11:30 a.m. and a slate of live acts bring the noise: Belfast Andi & the Swift Years (8 a.m.-2 p.m.), Good Time Charlie (upstairs, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.), the Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment Pipe Band (10 a.m.) and Salty Dog (4 p.m.). In addition, the Celtic Grace Dancers perform at 8:30 p.m., and DJ Simply Genius keeps the second floor lively from noon to 3 a.m.
March 20: Virgin Radio 95.9FM broadcasts its morning show from 5:30-9 a.m., breakfast is served from 6-11 a.m. and the Reuben Bouza Trio is on stage from 10 p.m.-3 a.m.
March 22: The Main location opens at the crack-of (by weekend standards, anyway), serving breakfast from 8-11 a.m., and Salty Dog plays live from 3-10 p.m.
Rock it old school at one of Montreal’s original Irish bars
March 17: Local Celtic band Goldfish entertains and the party rolls from 2 p.m. to 2 am
March 22: Breakfast and Jameson-spiked coffee ($12.75) are served from 10 a.m. on Parade Day, with music by Pat Gryder and Nelson Carter from 1 p.m. till closing.
Ye Olde Orchard
With three locations straddling NDG, downtown and the Plateau, Ye Olde would be the victor if Irish bars were doing the whole territorial conquest thing.
March 17 and March 22: Swerve is the band that NDG patrons will be drinking to as of 3 p.m. on St. Paddy’s Day and Parade Day.
20 Prince Arthur E.
March 17: The Hellbound Hepcats take the night shift as Plateau barflies salute St. Patrick.
March 22: Pre-parade, get your drink on as Stewart Burrows performs from 10 a.m.
1189 de la Montagne
March 22: Get jigging to a live set by Good Time Charlie, playing to the post-parade crowd as of 3 p.m.
901 de Maisonneuve E.
Off the anglo Irish-bar grid, UQAM-ghetto pub Yer Mad is an alternative to the downtown shuffle.
March 17: Expect specials on select Irish drank (including Guinness) and a fair share of knees-up revellery.
March 22: The pipes, the pipes are calling, from 1 p.m. till closing.