St. Patrick’s Day in Los Angeles is the one day of the year that all the refugees from the East Coast get nostalgic for New York and Boston. The answer – head west as far as you can to Santa Monica – a city that takes the holiday – and partying – seriously. Given that March 17th falls on a Sunday, it promises to be a weekend long celebration.
Breakfast at the Beach
Main Street in Santa Monica is Shamrock Central and O’Brien’s at Main and Pier Avenue rightly claims to be St. Paddy’s HQ. The digital clock over the bar has been ticking since last year. When I stopped in this week, it was at 10 days, 12 hours, 42 minutes and counting down by the seconds to the 17th when the pub will open at 6 AM for Irish breakfast. Even if you’re there at the crack of dawn, you’ll already be running late. The party starts on Friday night and continues on Saturday with live Irish bands.
If Guinness isn’t your morning cup of tea, try one of the other popular breakfast spots. The Omelette Parlor and M Street Kitchen on Main both have lines on the average Sunday, so be prepared to wait. Getting to know the regulars is half the fun.
If you’re taste runs more to champagne than beer and bloodies, book a table at one of the two upscale hotels at the end of Pico Boulevard. At Shutters on the Beach, you can eat right down on the beach path. At Casa del Mar next door, the dining room, Catch, has spectacular views of Santa Monica Bay.
Afterward, do like the locals and stroll the beach path north to the Santa Monica Pier or south to Venice. Or head back to Ocean Avenue to welcome the winners of the 28th Los Angeles Marathon.
Just about the time you’re lifting your first glass, ten thousand runners will be leaving Dodger Stadium and heading west. Whoever scheduled the race for St. Patrick’s Day has a wickedly Irish sense of humor. The finish line on Ocean Avenue is right at the end of Santa Monica Boulevard.
Pub Crawling and Bar-Hopping
There’s no shortage of bars. The veterans are Ye Olde King’s Head and Britannia- both on Santa Monica just blocks from the beach. Across the street is The Misfit, a trendy bar with great food and an even better scene.
By all means, trawl the Third Street Promenade, but for the locals, there’s no place like Main Street, one of the planet’s best pub-crawling streets. Besides O’Brien’s, look for Finn McCool’s, Brick and Mortar and the Library Ale House. Be warned, this is a crowd that knows how to raise a glass.
Many of Santa Monica’s bar crawlers take their Irish music seriously and
St. Patrick’s Day brings Celtic Groupies who follow their favorite acts. At O’Brien’s, try to catch Slugger O’Toole. At Finn McCool’s, the favorites are Marian Griffin and the rock band Ground Zero.
Also worth checking out – two famous Santa Monica watering holes. Chez Jay on Ocean was recently awarded landmark status. A good thing too, since the place is currently hidden from view by massive construction projects around it. No matter. You’ll still find a flock of loyal regulars and some first-rate corned beef and cabbage on the menu all day. Best to reserve for dinner. Back on Main Street, The Galley has been popular since it opened in 1934. Doors open at one and don’t close until everyone is gone. Worth putting your name on a table here too. The famous Galley Girls are expecting a crowd.
Go To Guide
O’Brien’s 2941 Main Street, Santa Monica 310/396-4725
The Omelette Parlor 2732 Main Street, Santa Monica 310/399-7892
M Street Kitchen 2000 Main Street, Santa Monica 310/396-9145
Shutters on the Beach 1 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica 310/458-0030
Casa del Mar 1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica 310/581-5533
Ye Olde King’s Head 116 Santa Monica Boulevard, 310/451-1402
Britannia 318 Santa Monica Boulevard 310/458-5350
The Misfit 225 Santa Monica Boulevard 310/656-9800
Finn McCools’s 2700 Main Street 310/452-1737 www.finnmccoolsirishpub.com
Brick and Mortar 2435 Main Street 310/450-3434
Library Ale House 2911 Main Street 310/314-4855
Chez Jay 1657 Ocean Avenue 310/395-1741
The Galley 2442 Main Street 310/452-1934