By Valerie Moloney
Back in the day, when U2’s Joshua Tree was on constant rewind and playback on my cassette machine, little did I know that my life would be forever changed by an Irishman—and no, his name isn’t Bono. In the 12 years that I’ve spent with my husband, a Croom, Co. Limerick native, I’ve learned this about the Irish: 1)That they can play music with spoons. 2)That black and white pudding are equally strange and delicious. 3)A night at the pub always ends better with a snack box, a perfectly packaged meal of plump chips and fried chicken.
This St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll be joining the rest of America in celebrating my adopted Irish pride at my favorite downtown Chicago Irish bars. A note to out-of-towners: Many Chicago hotels are located near the parade route, making it even easier to combine your pub crawl with a stroll to see the infamous Chicago River being dyed green on March 12. Check out these Chicago hotels, plus a few more in Boston and New York that set the Celtic mood way before March 17.
Must-stop: Celtic Crossing
With wood booths, a fireplace and none of the bric-a-bar defined by sports bars feigning as Irish taps, Celtic is the textbook Irish pub. Even if you don’t make it here on parade day, stop in for a quiet pint earlier in the week to “have yourselves a chat” before the mayhem ensues.
Suggested hotel: Trump International Hotel and Tower
Must-stop: Paddy Reilly’s
The Prodigals, the resident band, won’t be there for St. Patrick’s Day, but will be playing on March 11. Belly up to the bar for a pint of Guinness, and get ready to dance your arse off.
Suggested hotel: The James New York
Must-stop: Flann O’Brien’s
The Irish pride themselves on a lack of pretense, which makes this no-frills Brigham Circle tap a reliable hangout for pub grub and pints. Skip the burger for the breakfast of champions: the traditional Irish breakfast.
Suggested hotel: Fairmont Copley Plaza
Insider tip: Book a St. Patrick’s Day package on Orbitz by March 11 to snag savings at select Chicago, Boston and New York hotels.
Valerie Moloney is a writer for Orbitz who was born in the Philippines, lived in Morocco and married a native Irishman. She now covers hotels around the world and contributes to the Orbitz blog.