Green Day: Where to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Santa Monica & Los Angeles

By Sheri Winters of Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
Green Day: Where to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Santa Monica & Los Angeles
Photo: r3m3dy, Flickr
Finn McCool's in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica may feel as far from Ireland as the moon to the Earth, but then you’d be surprised — if you let a local be your guide, you might discover a lot more of Ireland in our corner of California than you thought.

And what better time to find some local Erin go Bragh spirit than St. Patrick’s Day? Here’s a way to celebrate all day long:

O’Brien’s Irish Pub
Sure, you can kick off St. Patty’s Day with green-dyed pancakes, or you can go authentic with a traditional Irish breakfast served at O’Brien’s. Starting at 6 am, this casual neighborhood pub opens its doors for an all-day fry-up (to use the native term) — eggs, Irish bacon, baked beans, even white and black pudding. It’s the sustenance you’ll need before starting on those Irish Car Bombs (you know: a shot glass of Bailey’s and Irish whiskey dropped into a pint of Guinness). Traditional Irish music begins at 4 pm and turns to Irish Rock at 9 pm.

Finn McCool’s
A 15-minute walk will have you at Finn McCool’s just in time for lunch. Fitted with a bar imported straight from Ireland (shipped through the Panama Canal), this place is known for great food and great music. The chef-owner, Geraldine Gilliland, is an icon in these parts — an award-winning cookbook author and Northern Ireland native who serves authentic Irish dishes. You can count on shepherd’s pie, fish and chips served in newspaper, and of course, corned beef and cabbage. There will be traditional Irish music, too, starting at 1 pm.

Border Grill
From Finn McCool's you’re going to jump in a cab and head to downtown LA, because you’re due for a cooking class. Top Chef Masters stars Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are teaching an all-green menu in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. That means ingredients like avocados, tomatillos, cilantro and lime. For $75, you’ll learn some new recipes, eat a multi-course lunch, and toast St. Patrick with a “Green Gazpacho Margarita.” Classes available at 11 am and 2 pm.

Casey’s St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival
Finally, you’re going to stroll over to LA’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day street fair, hosted by Casey’s Irish Pub. The festival shuts down two city blocks and usually attracts 10,000 people. There’s a big stage where bands like The Young Dubliners and Hollywood U2 (your requisite U2 cover band) will keep the party going all day, until 2 am. There’s no admission charge, and when you’ve had your fill, you can queue up at a Casey’s-sponsored taxi stand at Wiltshire and Grand.