Ashley's 338 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-9191; ashleys.com: March 17 starts early at Ashley's multi-tap in Ann Arbor — some St. Patrick's purists are said to leave the pub at 2 a.m. closing the night before and line right up again to wait for it to open at 6:30 in the morning. But with over 70 beers on tap and a bustling British decor — check out the London tube-themed Underground — Ashley's might make spending the night in a line of green-faced college students worth it. For a $10 cover, pub-goers get an all-you-can-eat breakfast of eggs, sausage and hash browns plus drink specials on Jameson, car bombs, Guinness and a host of other Irish beers. The pot of gold at the end of this rainbow is the free T-shirt handed out to all Ashley's customers.
Bailey's Pub 22091 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-277-3212; 1777 Canton Center Rd., Canton; 734-844-1137; 1965 W. Maple, Troy; 248-435-3044: This year the Bailey's Pub triumvirate has had to forgo its usual "St. Practice Day" warm-up, since all the debauchery of St. Pat's itself will take its Saturday slot. But of course Bailey's Pub will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day with lots of drink specials and live Irish bands. All three locations will open at 9 a.m. and will serve various food and drink specials, some of them green, and a handful of bagpipers might make an appearance.
Bastone 419 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-544-6250; bastone.net: This unpretentious, quirky Belgian brewpub usually serves fare heavily influenced by Germany and France. But with Irishfest, you can also get shepherd's pie (braised ground beef and rutabaga topped with golden-baked potatoes, $13.95), braised lamb shanks (braised in ale sauce with colcannon, $17.95), corned beef and cabbage ($15.95) and more. Seasonal beers include a Farmhouse Grand Cru, a moderately hoppy beer that is dry and full of Belgian yeast notes. Having a few? Get a limited-edition Irishfest pint glass for $6 and your refills are $2 off the regular beer price throughout Irishfest, or until March 29.
The Blarney Stone 27253 Woodward Ave., Berkley; 248-541-1881: In typical St. Patrick's Day fashion, Blarney Stone will have promotions and specials filling up the days leading up to March 17. On St. Patrick's Day itself, doors open at 7 a.m. Giveaways and contests will go on all day, and one of the bar's two parking lots will be taken over by a massive, heated beer tent, lending comfort if it's cold.
Claddagh Irish Pub 17800 Haggerty Rd., Livonia; 734-542-8141: Claddagh opens its doors at 7 a.m. for the early birds who have some Irish cheer. Entertainment throughout the day and into the evening will consist of live bands and a DJ — the folkier Danny and Johnny band starting at 9, a U2 cover band at noon and DJ Crazy Keith from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. Come out and visit your favorite Guinness and Jameson girls. The cover for this event is $6; $20 VIP tickets are available early at the bar and include a free T-shirt as well as permission to skip the line.
Conor O'Neill's Traditional Irish Pub 318 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-665-2968: The closest thing Ann Arbor has to an Irish bar, Conor O'Neill's is all St. Patrick's, all week long. Tonight there's Irish-themed trivia, and those who wear green will get $4 draft beers all night. Tomorrow, Detroit's own Celtic rockers the Kreellers will make an appearance, as will $3 car bombs, and Friday is the traditional Pre-St. Patrick's Day Party, with music provided by Mogue Doyle. Opening at 7 a.m. on St. Patrick's Day itself, Conor's will have live Irish music, Irish dancers and Irish bagpipers throughout the day. If the regular menu is any indication, the St. Patrick's Day fare will be among the best in Michigan at inexpensive prices. Save some room for dessert, because the Guinness ice cream sundae and Bailey's Irish Cream cheesecake top Conor O'Neill's dessert menu.
Cowley's Old Village Inn 33338 Grand River Ave., Farmington; 248-474-5941; johncowleys.com: Cowley's kicks off its St. Patrick's Day celebration at 10 a.m., and the live bands begin at noon and will play until closing, including The Shawn Riley Band and a band called "Free Beer." The Irish-inspired menu will include Irish spring rolls and corned beef and cabbage sandwiches, and Cowley's will serve food till 9 p.m. for those interested in a late-night dinner after a day filled with drinking. Cover for this event is $10 and 21 and older are welcome.
Danny's Irish Pub 22824 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-546-8331: Danny's is a cozy pub adorned with shamrocks and green decor. They kick off their St. Patty's party at 7 a.m. Drink specials include $4 for any Irish whiskey. Food specials include shepherd's pie, corned beef sandwiches, Irish stew and Guinness chili. No cover.
Dick O'Dow's 160 W. Maple Rd., Birmingham; 248-642-1135; dickodowspub.com: Opening at 7 a.m. for breakfast, the big day will see two bands playing, starting at 10 a.m.: The McGlynns, and Company of Strangers. There will be a specialty menu that includes many Irish favorites, such as shepherd's pie and Irish stew. Other cuisines are infused with Guinness and Jameson flavors. Don't worry about overpaying just because of St. Patrick's Day, because normal prices will prevail and there will be no cover. Dick O'Dows will be open until 2 a.m and will serve food until 11 p.m.
Dooley's Tavern 32500 Gratiot Ave., Roseville; 586-296-2739; 12414 Hall Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-323-3501; dooleysirish.com: Even though Dooley's celebrates St. Patrick's Day every month on the 17th, the actual St. Patrick's Day is their specialty. Dooley's will open at 7 a.m. and feature an outside drink tent with a full bar, live music, leprechauns and bagpipers. There will be specials on green beer, Bailey's, Guinness and more. There will also be a shortened menu of Irish-inspired items such as Reuben sandwiches and pizza, corned beef sliders, corned beef and cabbage, and more.
Duggan's Irish Pub 31501 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-549-3659; dugganspub.com: The two-story, neon-green-lit pub will feature live music and green beer. Variety is key, and Duggan's offers 26 beers on tap and 37 different bottled beers. The pub will host a live broadcast from 104.3 WOMC from 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; $5 cover; open 7 a.m.-2 a.m.
Foran's Irish Pub 612 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-3043; foransirishpub.com: Foran's makes its home in the historic Grand Trunk Railroad Station on Woodward and Congress. In this historic space, they commonly offer special food, drink and entertainment on the big day. Foran's beer selection is all "home-based." Select Irish brews are $5. All beers on tap are from Michigan breweries; along with 30 other bottled Michigan beers. Call after 5 p.m. for details.
Gaelic League and Irish American Club 2068 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-964-8700; gaelicleagueofdetroit.org: Wander in on an off-day and it's no big whoop: a quiet private club with green-tinted sunlight streaming in. The barkeep might even joke self-deprecatingly that it's just a "shot-and-a-beer joint." The bar doesn't look like much, with a small stage at the end, but step up into the carpeted lounge and it begins to resemble an early 20th century club, with rough plaster, dark, old wood split with age, old-fashioned lanterns on the wall, and even a fireplace flanked with bookcases. And that's not to mention the large hall in the rear. Members: free; non-members: $10. And it's a private club, so any shenanigans mean you'll be out on the street. Play nice.
O'Connor's Public House 324 Main St., Rochester; 248-608-2537; oconnorspublichouse.us: Opening at 7 a.m., the entire day will be filled with live entertainment on two stages, one inside and one in the tent out back. O'Connor's will also feature an impressive 5 bar set up and a complimentary limo ride home (first come, first served, you pick up the tip). Arrive before 11 a.m. and enter the drawing for a free Ipad. Spike, Shannon and Fletch from Mojo in the Morning will also be on hand from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. DJ X will keep the party going in the tent. O'Connor's will be open until 2 a.m.
Irish Tavern 4703 Elizabeth Lake Rd., Waterford; 248-683-9056: Opening at 9 a.m. the entire day will be filled with Irish music from the Entertainers, as well as a live DJ. Bagpipers will play throughout the day and everybody can enjoy the great corned beef specials. Green beer is a must for a St. Patrick's Day celebration and the Irish Tavern will have plenty at standard prices. The tavern will be open until 2 a.m.
Kennedy's Irish Pub 1055 W. Huron St., Pontiac; 248-681-1050: Opening at 7 a.m., start off your St. Patrick's Day by really getting into the "green" spirit and enjoying a breakfast featuring green eggs and ham. Continue the Irish meal later on by having corned beef and cabbage for dinner. Live music will be performed all day, featuring the Gaels. Try out the Olympic-inspired drinking game by participating in the Green Apple Pucker luge, created for the competitive drinkers.
The Lager House 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668; lagerhousedetroit.com: OK, so years of rockin' and rollin' may have chipped away at the bar's Irish identity, but where else can you chill in the "Jerome P. Cavanagh Social Room" on parade day? Located in the midst of Corktown, it's no surprise that the Lager House is a prime spot for enjoying the parade, and for continuing the celebration on St. Patrick's Day itself. Doors will open at 9 a.m. on St. Patty's Day and the party won't stop till 2 a.m. Enjoy live entertainment at night without a cover charge. Expect the kitchen to turn out some Irish-related dishes.
Malarkey's Irish Sports Bar 14980 Dix-Toledo Rd., Southgate; 734-281-2616; malarkeyspubs.com: To start, enjoy a scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Malarkey's giant, signature tent will open at 1 p.m. and features a live performance from 50 Amp Fuse at 7:30 p.m. Inside, 2 Dudes and a Chick will perform. There will also be battling pianos and, later, DJ Dick, as well as bagpipers and live leprechauns to hype up the Irish spirit. Bud, Miller and Jäger girls will be giving away prizes all day long. The Irish menu includes corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, stuffed cabbage and, of course, green beer.
O'Blivion's Corktown Café 1800 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-962-1383; oblivions.net: Occupying a prime spot on the parade route, O'Blivion's Corktown Café is normally one of the best places to catch the parade. On St. Patrick's Day itself, O'Blivion's will have corned beef and cabbage for lunch, Guinness stout on draft and live music from the Barley Boys Jug Band. Hot dogs, domestic beer and earplugs will also be on hand for confirmed Yanks. The bar will be open 9 a.m.-2 a.m. for St. Patricks's Day.
Old Shillelagh 349 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-964-0007; oldshillelagh.com: Come out to join the Shillelagh celebrating St. Patrick's Day. The bar claims to have the hugest St. Pat's party in town. For the past 10 or 15 years, the Shillelagh has celebrated the land of the leprechaun in two heated tents that can hold hundreds of people. Practice your Irish party spirit on Friday at the "St. Practice Day" party, which starts at 11 a.m. with live entertainment. Wear your green on Saturday to the St. Patrick's Day Party, starting at 7 a.m. Tents open at 8 a.m. Giveaways, food and beer will be plentiful. The Shillelagh will have about 15 beers on tap and is featuring the "Irish flag shot," made with Grand Mariner, Baileys and Midori, which resembles the orange, white and green flag. Who knows what will take place amid all the excitement this year; $10 cover charge.
O'Mara's 2555 W. 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-399-6750; omaras.net: This brewpub calls itself "Michigan's best-kept Irish dining secret." Their shepherd's pie and Irish stew are menu staples. On St. Patrick's Day O'Mara's will open at 8 a.m., serving items from its breakfast menu until 11 p.m. In the afternoon, catch four live shows for a cover charge of $5 for Madigan's Attic (playing two sets), and Ron Coden, and a $10 cover for Blackthorn. O'Maras has also opted for a pre-Pat's party on Friday, which will include sets by Ron Coden and Blackthorn.
O'Tooles 4000 Cass Elizabeth Rd., Waterford; 248-683-3494; otoolesbars.com: O'Tooles will open at 8 a.m. and accommodate live entertainment all day long, with Jerry Sprague, Michael Lush and Marlero Adams playing sets during the daytime, and DJ Brad spinning Irish tunes after dark. From 8 to 10 a.m. you'll get a free breakfast with purchase of a beverage, and a $5 cover goes into effect around noon. O'Tooles closes at 2 a.m., but if you're ready for more on Sunday, stop by for a morning after party with a Bloody Mary bar available.
Palette Dining Studio inside MGM Grand Detroit, 1777 Third St., Detroit; 313-393-7777; mgmgranddetroit.com: They don't use the B-word to describe Palette Dining Studio, but it's buffet-style eating — ratcheted up several notches, because everything is done to excess in casino-land. But for St. Patrick's Day, you can expect a special menu, including hearty colcannon, servings of shepherd's pie, fish and chips, cabbage and noodles, Irish lamb stew, shortbread cookies and corned beef. In fact, the eatery is bringing in 600 pounds of whole rounds of corned beef just for the big day. For all this excess, it's only $22 for lunch and $28 for dinner.
Rosie O'Grady's 279 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; with locations in Chesterfield and Clinton Twp.; 248-591-9163; 4rosieogradys.com; Rosie's will have a limited Irish menu, featuring corned beef and cabbage and corned beef sandwiches, specially for the St. Patrick's Day celebration ($5 cover). If you haven't seen their huge new space on Nine Mile Road yet, you will be amazed when you do. Doors open at 7 a.m.
Sheehan's on the Green 39450 Five Mile Rd., Plymouth; 734-420-0646: This is Sheehan's 35th Annual St. Patrick's Day Event. By celebrating, they will open their doors at 10 a.m. inviting everybody to partake in the St. Patrick's Day festivity. The menu will include trusty corned beef and cabbage, corned beef sandwiches and Irish stew. Expect live sing-alongs, especially after a few green beers. Don't worry about the weather because Sheehan's will have a heated, covered outdoor patio in case you need to take shelter. They'll even provide a free cab ride home when the party comes to an end at 2 a.m.
Sean O'Callaghan's 821 Penniman Ave., Plymouth; 734-459-6666; seanocallaghanspub.com: Sean O'Callaghan's St. Patrick's Day festivities will feature live music from The Strangers and The Sean Riley Band from 11 a.m. to midnight. Doors open at 7 a.m. on St. Patty's Day. On Sunday, March 18, O'Callaghan's will open at 9 a.m. for the annual Plymouth Shamrock Run.
Special thanks to editorial interns Rachelle Damico, Sharon Jacobs and Jackie Rollin for their assistance compiling this column.
See any omissions or inaccuracies? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or e-mail [email protected]