Indy’s Six Best Bets for St. Patrick’s Day 2015

Turns out it’s easy being green.

Census records near the turn of the 20th century noted that more than 15 percent of Indianapolis’s immigrant population was from Ireland, and over 100 years later, pride in the Emerald Isle is as strong as ever in the Circle City. With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Tuesday this year, the party starts early this weekend, with festivals and specials at some of Indy’s most beloved Irish institutions. Here are our top recommendations for flying your Irish flag this year.


Nine Irish Brothers

The festivities begin a week early at this Lafayette institution that laid down roots in Indianapolis last summer. On Tuesday, March 10, the pub presents the Irish Citizen of the Year Award to Danny O’Malia, who is also serving as the grand marshal for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. On Saturday, March 14, starting at 11 a.m., the bar known for such Irish fare as deluxe “Pots of Gold” (potato skins stuffed with all the usual Reuben toppings) and classic fish and chips (even a half order will satisfy a hearty appetite) will be offering food and drink specials, trinket giveaways, and a full roster of music including Shawn Fitzpatrick, Brothers of the Sea, Hearthfire, and Lachlan. 575 Massachusetts Ave., 317-964-0990,


Downtown Indy’s Blarney Bash

Long starved for good street space for outdoor celebrations, post–Super Bowl Indy now has Georgia Street, which will serve as the location for food trucks, live music, and plenty of Guinness-quaffing on Saturday, March 14. Food trucks include southside New York–style pizza favorite Brozinni’s, as well as Der Pretzel Wagen serving corned-beef sandwiches on pretzel bread. Musical acts include My Yellow Rickshaw and Zanna-Doo! March 14, 2–10 p.m., free, Georgia Street,


Chilly Water Brewing Company

The 2014 explosion of local craft breweries included Chilly Water, which opened along the Cultural Trail in Fletcher Place last June. And while the name might not recall a pub in Dublin, the microbrewery is throwing its green hat into the St. Patrick’s Day ring with pints of nitrogen-poured Irish Stout on tap, corned-beef panini, and performances by The Jenaritas, known for bluegrass, bourbon, and unconventional covers. Other new beers include a Scottish Ale, a saison, and a seasonal IPA. 719 Virginia Ave., 317-964-0518,


The 18th Annual Indianapolis Irish Fest

The affinity that German and Irish immigrants have long found in American cities has long made the Rathskeller an intriguing spot for one of Indy’s most spirited Irish festivals. And they’ve dubbed March 14 “St. Practice Day”; the real performances are on St. Patrick’s Day proper, when an array of Irish favorites will be served and the live music all day will include the Irish Dancers of Indianapolis at 4:15 and the Gordon Pipers at 5 p.m. The Rathskeller, 401 E. Michigan St.,


Toasting two generations of the Golden Ace lineage: John, Chuck, Jimmy, and Jim McGinley
Toasting two generations of the Golden Ace lineage: John, Chuck, Jimmy, and Jim McGinley

McGinley’s Golden Ace Inn

Recently marking the 81st anniversary of when John and Ann McGinley of County Donegal, Ireland, opened this Washington Street institution that fills for live music and trivia nights, this is many eastsiders’ go-to place for St. Patrick’s Day fun year after year. A heated tent gets set up in the parking lot, and musical acts from Ireland this year include Eunan McIntyre and The Ryans. Just remember to bring cash—and expect a longer wait for the famous homestyle hamburger and chips. 2533 E. Washington St., 317-632-0696,


R Bistro

Executive chef Erin Kem is taking full advantage of this Mass Ave standard’s seasonal selections, which change weekly, by featuring an entirely Irish menu March 17–21. Highlights of her menu this year include a potted-crab starter with crispy flatbread, hearty lamb stew with soda bread, and an Irish-porter pudding. 888 Massachusetts Ave., 317-423-0312,