The Luck of the Irish

What began as a religious feast in celebration of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, on the date of his death has transformed into a worldwide celebration of Irish heritage every March 17. Whether you have a Celtic heritage or not, this is the month to channel your inner Irish by donning your best green outfit and noshing on a feast of some of the country’s traditional cuisine. Throw in a Guinness or a green beer, and you’re sure to have the happiest St. Patrick’s Day at these local Irish pubs and restaurants.

An Tobar Irish Pub

Located in Maitland, An Tobar, which translates to “the well” in Gaelic, was built to resemble the Dublin streetscape. To get the authentic look, the 60-foot bar as well as the restaurant’s booths, tables, chairs and barstools were built in Ireland and installed by Irish craftsmen.
Chef Joe McFadden’s menu features authentic Irish dishes like Traditional Irish Potato & Leek Soup, Irish Croquettes, Bangers ‘N’ Mash and some American favorites. Along with a selection of draft beers, wines, scotches, bourbons and whiskeys, the bar also serves unique, hand-crafted cocktails like a twist on a Bloody Mary called an Irish Michelada. This mixture of Absolut Cilantro, Harp lager, tomato juice and bitters is garnished with a salted rim, lime and bacon.

What’s happening for St. Patrick’s Day? Beginning at 11 a.m. on March 17, An Tobar’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities will include a variety of drink specials, music from local artists and an authentic Celtic drum and bagpipe group called Cu Dubh, and traditional Irish pub fare. During the event, there will be a raffle for an Orlando City (or team of your choice) watch party for up to 20 guests in its private upstairs bar, and food and beverages for two hours. There is no cover charge and parking is free.

Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub & Eatery

Its name comes from an old sailor’s tale of a heavenly place with a glass of grog that refills itself, an endless supply of tobacco and maidens who dance nonstop to a fiddler’s music – the legend of Fiddler’s Green. Much like the place in this tale, Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub & Eatery in Winter Park keeps guests happy with food, drinks and fun.

A mix of traditional Irish fare like Corned Beef and Cabbage and Shepherd’s Pie, and American dishes like a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and a variety of burgers make up the menu. Clever representations of both cuisines include Irish Egg Rolls, which are crispy spring rolls filled with corned beef and cabbage, and wings or chicken tenders tossed in a Guinness-based barbecue sauce.

Fiddler’s Green offers 24 beers on tap, a selection of wine and a full-liquor bar complete with more than 60 whiskeys. Between its weekday happy hour specials to its live music and trivia nights, there is always something to celebrate at Fiddler’s Green.

What’s happening for St. Patrick’s Day? Celebrate early with the 9th annual Fiddler’s 5K on March 4. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity of Winter Park-Maitland and Conductive Education Center of Orlando. Each participant over the age of 21 will receive a free beer at Fiddler’s Green after the race. New this year is the Fiddlers 5K-9, which not only allows you to run or walk with your pup and receive a finisher’s medal for both of you but also includes prizes for best dog costume and best human-dog look-a-like.

Hagan O’Reilly’s Irish Pub

A Winter Garden favorite, Hagan O’Reilly’s Irish Pub offers familiar food with an Irish twist as well as some notable Irish classics. On the menu you’ll find Irish Quesadillas that are grilled and stuffed with mashed potatoes, corned beef and cheddar cheese; Scotch Eggs, a deep fried classic of ground sausage wrapped around a hard-boiled egg; and Corned Beef and Cabbage with potatoes, carrots, parsnips and a parsley-horseradish sauce. Of course, a hearty Shepherds Pie and Fish-n-Chips are options, too.

The bar guarantees the ultimate European draft experience and the perfect pour every single time. This is done using a nitrogen generation system, which helps the beer come out at the perfect temperature then settle and separate into a delicious brew. Then, once you have your food and drink, you can settle in to enjoy entertainment every day of the week including poker night on Tuesdays, trivia on Mondays and the sounds of Johnny Snags Norton, who plays traditional Irish music on Fridays and Saturdays.

What’s happening for St. Patrick’s Day? Celebrate the luck of the Irish all weekend long with the traditional Irish fare and drinks that Hagan O’Reilly’s is known for every day of the year.

Harp & Celt Irish Pub

For the past 10 years, Kathy Mulvaney and her business partner Lisa Boyd have been at the helm of Harp & Celt Irish Pub in downtown Orlando. It is known for opening early in the morning, sometimes as early as 7 a.m., to give soccer fans a place to watch the game. The bar serves about 15 draft beers including a good pint of Guinness.

You can stop in for breakfast on the weekends or lunch and dinner every day of the week. Specialties include Fish and Chips, Cottage Pie (and other varieties of savory pie), and corned beef sandwiches. The corned beef, the soups and a tasty bread pudding dessert made of croissants and soaked in a Kahlua cream sauce are all made in-house.
Not commonly recognized as authentic Irish cuisine, curries are popular pub grub. So about every six weeks, Harp & Celt hosts The Viceroy Chipshop Curry Club, where guests can pre-order Chef Paul Skingley’s famous curry. The next curry night will be held at the end of the month.
A fun fact is that former President Barack Obama visited Harp & Celt on Oct. 11, 2011. He drank a pint of Guinness and ate Irish Nachos.

What’s happening for St. Patrick’s Day? Harp & Celt is planning a weekend-long celebration. Similar to years past, there will be an outdoor bar and a live band set up in the alley that separates the pub from its neighboring establishment. The alleyway party will be on March 17 only and festivities will be indoors the rest of the weekend. St. Patrick’s Day is the one time of year that Harp & Celt serves Corned Beef and Cabbage.

O’Shuck’s Pub & Karaoke Bar

This small, hole-in-the-wall bar on International Drive was opened in 2003 after its three owners combined all of their dreams for owning a bar into one solid idea. One owner always wanted to open a pool hall, another dreamed of running his own Irish pub, and the other imagined a sports bar. Its name began as a common shout of an expletive and after running several names by friends, O’Shucks stuck.

While there is no food on the menu at O’Shucks, there is always fun. The bar is known for hosting karaoke every night at 9 p.m. as well as for having some of the best drink specials in town including nickel beer nights from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday. You can also enjoy happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Monday through Friday.

What’s happening for St. Patrick’s Day? At the St. Paddys Day Weekend Party from March 17-18, you can enjoy karaoke inside the bar and live music from Impulse Cover Band underneath a tent in the parking lot. Drink specials include $4 Guinness from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., $6 Guinness from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., $6 Bushmills and $2 Jello shots.

Raglan Road Irish Pub

Disney Springs has seen many changes in the past couple of years, but one thing has remained familiar: the high-energy atmosphere and authentic cuisine at Raglan Road. Everything at this pub and restaurant, from the owners and the chef right down to the building itself, is authentically Irish.

Just over 10 years ago, Master Chef Kevin Dundon created a modern Irish menu based off of fresh, natural tastes and Celtic creativity. Dishes include Fish & Chips (even in a gluten-free variety), Kevin’s Heavenly Ham with savoy cabbage, colcannon potatoes, parsley cream sauce and a raisin cider jus, and Bangers & Booz with a Guinness and onion banger (or sausage) on mashed potatoes and topped with caramelized onions and beef stew.

Of course, you can accompany your meal with a tasty pint of beer (but not a half pint) and a side of live entertainment. Irish dancers take the stage each evening and a variety of bands play live music daily.

What’s happening for St. Patrick’s Day? Every year, Raglan Road is home to one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the area. This year, the Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival will be held March 16-19 inside and around the restaurant. There will be Irish food and drinks, face painting and entertainment from Young Dubliners, The Byrne Brothers, HanaLena Band, The Raglan Roots Coalition, Swingin’ on the Gate, Rollickin’ Rua and The Raglan Road Irish Dancers. Show up early if you want in on all the fun because guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, expect a $10 cover charge for each person 18 years old and older on March 17 only.

Special Mentions!

Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub

Last August, Scott Vocca and Vicki Gish, the owners of Claddagh Cottage, received news that the strip mall where the pub was located would be sold to build a Walgreens. As the year came to a close so, too, did the doors of its original location on Curry Ford and Conway Roads.

“The Claddagh Cottage is home to many,” Gish says. “Some are regulars who were there every day or every week, while others occasionally or only when we had live music. But no matter the frequency, it was home to them – their neighborhood pub.”

In the months since its closing, supporters have stepped up to help move Claddagh Cottage, and its well-known food, perfect pour of Guinness and its every-other-Wednesday Irish sessions with The Bronx Boys, to a new location down the street. Gish is quick to credit their supporters for helping to make the move possible. There is no opening date just yet, but Claddagh Cottage is expected to re-open later this year.

Paddywagon Irish Pub

The newest Irish-inspired addition to Dr. Phillips is Paddywagon Irish Pub. Located in the Dellagio Town Center, this neighborhood bar prides itself in serving cold drinks at a fair price. While you play darts, pool or corn hole on the patio, you have your choice of more than 25 local and craft beers and a selection of wine. Hungry? Order in from one of the neighboring restaurants inside the Dellagio plaza. Paddywagon’s St. Paddy’s Day Block Party will begin at 12 p.m. and will include games, prizes, live music and more.


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Written by Lyndsay Fogarty

Lyndsay Fogarty has had many roles at Central Florida Lifestyle, working her way from intern to contributing writer to managing editor. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication where she earned her degree in journalism. Along the way, she has learned that teamwork and dedication to your craft will get you far, and a positive outlook on the present will get you even farther.

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