Where to Eat, Drink and Be Merry on St. Patrick’s Day
Feast on corned beef, Irish soda bread, fresh Guinness, whiskey drinks and more.
In March 2020, restaurants across Northern Virginia closed their doors to inside service as the nation—and the hospitality industry—grappled with the unwelcome arrival of Covid-19. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, from parades and concerts to traditional bar and restaurant parties, were canceled. Now, with the vaccine rollout in full force and a year’s-worth of health and safety precautions in place, the holiday marks a reemergence for many local restaurants, bakeries and taverns. Effective March 1, Gov. Ralph Northam extended the curfew on alcohol sales to midnight. Caution is still in order, but this year promises socially-distanced outdoor celebrations with Irish dancing and music, plus takeaway menus with traditional dishes and plenty of green-hued drinks. You’ll have to wait until 2022 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Mattie & Eddie’s Irish Bar and Restaurant, a new farm-to-table concept from chef Cathal Armstrong, slated to open this spring in the former Siné space at Westpost (Pentagon Row). But the establishments below are offering a taste of Ireland right now. Sláinte!
The Irish pub marks 15 years in Clarendon this year, and will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish dancers and live music. O’Sullivan’s stocks more than 100 whiskeys—from Bushmills to Writer’s Tears—and specializes in Celtic pub specialties like Irish brown bread, potato cakes, lamb burger with curry aioli and a Guinness beef burger with mashed potatoes, Guinness gravy and spicy onion rings. Take-out and also delivery available. //3207 Washington Blvd., Arlington (Clarendon)
The Shirlington Irish pub opens early, at 10 a.m., on St. Patrick’s Day for indoor and patio dining. The Boyle School of Irish Dance will be performing starting at 5 p.m. and live music starts at 5:30 p.m. If you cannot snag a table—reservations are suggested—or prefer to mark the occasion at home, Samuel Beckett’s is also offering family-style meals for six people with a variety of traditional Irish entrées. Add a Jameson cocktail kit to-go for $30 ($40 if you order the kit without food), which includes four whiskey cocktails, a cooler bag and lots of holiday swag. If you’d like to take a warm drink to walk around the Village at Shirlington, the pub is offering an Irishman’s Martini—made with Irish whiskey, Bailey’s, Kahlua and coffee—for takeaway for $10. //2800 S. Randolph St., Arlington (Village at Shirlington)
The Little City distillery and restaurant is celebrating St. Pats with live entertainment, photo props and a special menu from March 17-21. Falls Church Distillers has a spacious indoor lounge and an expansive parking lot set-up with picnic tables, corn hole and a fire pit for chillier nights. The bar will feature colorful Lucky Charms and Thin Mint Martinis, and a green pilsner from veteran-owned Tucked Away Brewing Co. in Manassas. Cocktails and food are also available to go, via pick-up or delivery. Coming up: A 2-day distillery workshop April 14-15. //442 S. Washington St., Falls Church (Falls Church City)
All of Vintage Restaurant Group’s Arlington and Falls Church pubs will be serving Irish dishes to mark the holiday, including corned beef and cabbage, Guinness stew and Reuben sandwiches piled with fresh corned beef. All locations have outside seating with heaters, as well as Vintage Restaurant blankets for purchase. Cuddle up with an Irish coffee finished with brown sugar and cream, or—if March 17 proves to be a warmer day—try a Nitro cold brew made with D.C. brewed Alchemist Coffee. All of these sister restaurants also offer food and drinks to go. //William Jeffreys, 2301 Columbia Pike; Ragtime, 1345 N. Courthouse Road; Rhodeside Grill, 1836 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; Dogwood Tavern, 132 W. Broad St., Falls Church
The Arlington bakery will be going green on St. Patrick’s Day with viridescent goodies like mint brownies, Grasshopper Pie, green Rice Krispy treats and Shamrock MEGArons (because petite macarons just won’t do). All orders are handed over curbside, Wednesday through Sunday. Advance online orders are recommended for holiday treats. //2166 N. Glebe Road, Arlington (Waverly Hills)
The Falls Church City microbrewery opened in the former Mad Fox space in June 2020. It will celebrate its first St. Patrick’s Day in the Little City with a pre-ticketed event on Saturday, March 13. Table reservations are available on the heated patio or inside (with the option of a private dining room). Food specials, such as corned beef fries and sliders, will be available alongside two featured beers—The Dubliner, a dry Irish stout; and Four Leaf IPA, brewed with Centennial, Amarillo and Comet hops. //444 W. Broad St., Falls Church