Whoever was in charge of scheduling St. Patrick’s Day on a Monday this year must have had one massive hangover after their shenanigans in 2007. For working stiffs like myself, this means that I have to use a vacation day, just to ensure that I get my fill of green beer, mardi gras beads (since when did they become Irish?), and inebriated sing-alongs. For the unseasoned rookie, the fact that St. Pat’s falls on a Monday could result in Tuesday also being a write off. Fret not, whether you’re experienced or new to celebrating this magnificent day in Kingston, the following is your definitive guide of places to go on St. Pat’s.
Tir Nan Og is said to be the land that the Irish faeries flead due to the Milesian invasion. In Tir Nan Og, faeries spent their days feasting, gaming, love-making and enjoying beautiful music. The faeries even celebrated the thrill of battle, for anyone slain is resurrected the following day. It is the paradise that mortals can only dream of, and the name of the most essential gathering place for St. Patrick’s Day revelers in Kingston.
The party kicks off around 11am with live music that lasts all day long, featuring: The Ones, Fathers of Confederation, Smitty and more! As this prime destination fills up fast, they’ve closed the side street to erect a massive beer tent, which also serves as a waiting line to get indoors. Admission to the tent is free, but it will cost you $10 to get a warmer seat inside the pub. The vibe at the Nog will certainly put you in the mood to get your Irish on!
The Toucan is widely recognized as Kingston’s first Irish Pub, and luckily for you it’s just around the corner from the Nog. The upstairs space is a beautiful Dublin-styled pub called Kirkpatrick’s, named after Kingston’s first mayor. This is a great place to catch your second wind after enduring the overcrowded TirNaNog. Don’t come expecting more live music at this venue, as the Toucan’s focus is on green beer and unbeatable pub food. Speaking of nutrition, they offer half price wings on Mondays with the purchase of a frosty beverage. Again, this is a great, albeit less entertaining stop over on your journey to find that infamous pot of gold.
The Kingston Brewing Company
Whether you choose to hit up the Kingston Brew Co. before or after stopping by the Toucan and Kirkpatrick’s, this is another fine location to take in the day’s festivities with friends and family. Similar to the above mentioned locations, the Brew Pub is always jam packed with eager party goers on St. Pat’s. In years past this venue rivaled the Nog with outstanding live entertainment, however they’ve since downgraded the festivities, and lost a bit of luster in the process. Even so, the Brew Pub is still a worthy destination, primarily because of their fine seasonal and regular brews, including our favorites: White Tail, Dragon’s Breath, and various ciders.
Last but not least are a few destinations that could serve as solid supporting venues for your St. Pat’s pilgrimage. As the Nog, Toucan, and Brew Pub often fill up to capacity, there are numerous other places that are well worth an honourable mention. The Merchant Tap House offers a huge space, as well as a vast selection of beverages for your consideration, though they have also opted out of live music. A few blocks up Princess Street and just around the corner on Wellington is the newest hot spot – The Iron Duke. Freshly renovated, with flatscreen televisions from wall to wall, you may have trouble getting into this trendy but relatively small hangout. Last but not least, if you’re day includes a voyage through the famed ‘hub’ district, The Brass is your best bet for fun with green companions.
Wherever your St. Patrick’s Day adventures take you, be sure to “enjoy responsibly”, or else you’ll be praying to the blarney stone come Tuesday.