Every Brooklyn neighborhood celebrates St. Patrick’s Day

for The Brooklyn Paper
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In my Windsor Terrace neighborhood, the area turns a vivid green as St. Patrick’s Day nears. Dolls that resemble leprechauns peek from behind curtains and cutouts of green pots of gold twinkle on brownstone entrances. Storefront windows along Prospect Park West are covered with shamrocks and signs proclaiming, "Pride of the Irish."

For many Brooklynites, the celebration of all things Irish begins well before and ends well after the annual Brooklyn Irish American Parade (kicking off March 16 at 1 pm at 15th Street and Prospect Park West).

Irish pride moves indoors as bars and restaurants throughout the borough plan for the big day. Some are acknowledging their Irish patrons and their friends by adding specialty, Irish-themed drinks to their bar list, while others are sponsoring parties with live bands. One bar offers revelers the opportunity to sing their favorite Irish songs karaoke style.

Opened in 1933, Farrell’s Bar & Grill in Park Slope is one of the oldest saloons in Brooklyn. Patrons begin their days at 10 am with a beer at the bar and close the place down at 3 am. On any given evening, men holding 32-ounce foam cups of beer congregate outside the bar. On St. Patrick’s Day, the same men wear bright green bowler hats.

Eddie Mills has tended bar for 30 of the 50 years Farrell’s has been open.

"Our kitchen is making corned beef sandwiches for the parade folk," Mills said of the bar’s contribution to the Irish celebration on March 17.

Budweiser, Heineken, Coors and Michelob are on tap. "Nothing fancy," Mills says. "There’s no call for it here."

Seamus O’Toole and Terry Traynor, owners of Eamonn’s, an Irish bar and restaurant on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, have planned an entire weekend of festivities for their patrons. On Friday, March 14, from noon to 2 pm, Patrick Harkin of Bensonhurst will perform live bagpipe music. From 4 pm to 6 pm, radio station Q104 will broadcast live from the restaurant.

Harkin returns on Saturday and Sunday, from 3 pm to 6 pm, and again on Monday, March 17, from 11 am to 8 pm. Guitarist Mick Dunne, from Dublin, arrives around 8:30 pm to perform Irish ballads and contemporary Irish pop music. Between Dunne’s sets, DJ Richie will spin Irish tunes.

In honor of the day, O’Toole and Traynor have added corned beef and cabbage, and beef or lamb stew to their a la carte Irish menu.

There are two Peggy O’Neill’s bars: one in Bay Ridge and a bar with a restaurant in Coney Island. At the Bay Ridge location, free corned beef and cabbage will be supplied to customers from Friday, March 14 through St. Patrick’s Day, Monday, March 17. At 10 pm on Monday, an open mic will allow patrons to sing their favorite Irish ditties. Plan on hearing "Danny Boy" a few times too many. A $5 fee will be charged at the door.

On Monday, March 17, at 9 pm, the Coney Island branch of Peggy O’Neill’s presents cover band Unforgettable Fire’s "Tribute to U2." Tickets are $10 if ordered in advance at (718) 449-3200, or $15 at the door. Between sets, patrons can enjoy free corned beef and cabbage. Shepherd’s pie and Gaelic steak (a strip steak sauteed in Jameson Irish Whiskey) round out the restaurant’s holiday a la carte menu.

Chic THAT Bar on Smith Street in Boerum Hill presents "Gays and Lesbians Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day." On Monday night, March 17, Chef Billy Thorsen will add corned beef and cabbage to his menu of snack food. The bar, famous for its "happy get lucky" drinks with names like Tai Mai Up and Get in the Sling, has added two more for the occasion: the Lucky Leprechaun (creme de menthe, creme de cacao and vodka) and the Nutty Irishman (Bailey’s Irish Cream and Frangelico).

"Call back when the lads are in," said a woman at the Wicked Monk in Bay Ridge, in a thick Irish brogue. The lads are Declan Rooney, of Monaghan, Ireland; Paul Clegg, of Dublin; and Mike Dorgan of County Cork, who own the bar. The Wicked Monk is known for its stained glass and gargoyle-laden interior as well as 25 varieties of international bottled beer and 15 beers on tap.

For Saint Patrick’s Day last year the New York Order of Fraternal Bagpipers blew the Wicked Monk crowd away. This year they’re back by popular demand. Catch them on Monday, from 6 pm to 4 am. A catered dinner of corned beef and cabbage will be served.

Starting at noon on Saint Patrick’s Day, the kitchen at 66 Water Street in DUMBO will begin serving a full Irish breakfast with bacon, sausage and baked beans. For lunch and dinner traditional Irish favorites include corned beef and cabbage, roast spring lamb, fresh baked ham with colcannon (a mix of mashed potatoes and cabbage flavored with parsley and chives) and shepherd’s pie.

Owner Brian Donohue has planned an afternoon-into-evening of Irish rock ’n’ roll. From 3 pm to 5 pm, the Celtic Irish Band, from Ireland, will play U2 and Thin Lizzy covers. From 9 pm to midnight, New York City’s own Irish rockers Black 47 take over, and a DJ continues the theme from midnight until 4 am. If all that booze, food and rock ’n’ roll becomes too much, you can pass out in front of the fireplace in the bar’s whiskey room.

Finding your own slice o’ Ireland this Saint Patrick’s Day is easy. Few neighborhoods are without bars to welcome you. Join their parties, toast to all things Irish, and feel no guilt if those Irish eyes get bloodshot - after all, "Ulysses" wasn’t written on ink fumes alone.


Eamonn’s (174 Montague St. at Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights) accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and Diner’s Club. Entrees: $10.95-$16.95. The bar is open 11 am-4 pm daily. (718) 596-4969.

Farrell’s Bar & Grill (215 Prospect Park West at 16th Street in Park Slope) accepts cash only. The bar is open 10 am-3 am daily. (718) 788-8779.

Peggy O’Neill’s (8123 Fifth Ave. at 81st Street in Bay Ridge) accepts American Express, MasterCard and Visa. The bar is open 11 am-4 am daily. (718) 748-1400.

Peggy O’Neill’s (1904 Surf Ave. at West 16th Street in Coney Island) accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Entrees: $7.95-$13.95. Open 11 am-4 am daily. (718) 449-3200.

66 Water Street (66 Water St. at Dock Street in DUMBO) accepts American Express, Visa and MasterCard. Entrees: $12-$20. The bar is open from 11 am-4 am daily. The kitchen is open 11 am-midnight. (718) 625-9352.

THAT Bar (116 Smith St. at Pacific Street in Boerum Hill) accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Entrees: $7-$10. The bar is open 4 pm-4 am daily. (718) 260-8900.

Wicked Monk (8415 Fifth Ave. at 84th Street in Bay Ridge) accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. The bar is open 11 am-4 am daily. (718) 921-0601.

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