St. Patrick’s Day is quickly approaching! We look forward to this holiday every year, because it isn’t like some of the major holidays that require months of preparation, gift-buying and schedule clearing. Yes, we still love those attention-hogging holidays, but St. Patrick’s Day has a carefree and laid-back quality that we are simply relieved to experience each year. All it takes is a little green wearing, fun loving and a pursuit of quality drinks and food.
We’ll leave the green outfit curation to you, but we thought we’d help you find all that Fort Collins has to offer this St. Patrick’s Day in order to maximize your experience. If you’ve lived in the area during St. Patrick’s Day in past years, you’ll know that the annual Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a pretty big deal. So we’re going to mention some of our favorite things happening at the parade, so you can know what to expect this year. We’ll also draw your attention to a couple of Irish bars in the area, because what better place to experience the luck of the Irish?
Wherever you go and whatever you do, release your inner Irishman and participate in one (or all!) of the many St. Patrick’s Day festivities taking place in Fort Collins this year!
All of this pep talk about indulging in food and beer has given us the urge to work out. Thankfully, Fort Collins’ St. Patrick’s Day parade is preceded by their 18th Annual Sharin’ O’ the Green 5K Run/Walk, presented by Partners Mentoring Youth. This is the perfect chance to get a workout in while supporting a wonderful cause.
Register in advance, get your active gear on, then show up at Library Park at 8 a.m. to hit the ground running at 8:15! Youth 17 and under get to participate in the 5K for free, but must still be registered online in advance. If you’re lucky enough to be over 21, you can celebrate the completion of the race with a free pint of Odell beer at the finish line!
Get the party started a few days before the 17th by watching the Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade make its way through the streets of Fort Collins on Saturday, March 12 starting at 10 a.m. This is an annual event the city looks forward to each year since it started two decades ago, and 2016 is no exception! Stand amongst the excited crowd primarily lining up along College Avenue to see the creative floats, performers and parade walkers. The entries in the parade are required to adorn themselves or their float in St. Patrick’s Day costumes and decor, and will be evaluated by a panel of judges to see who receives the first-, second- and third-place prizes. In fact, a few of our very own “Groupies” will ride through the parade dressed in St. Patrick’s Day attire, and will even have a booth at Old Town Square so be sure to keep an eye out for them and say hi!
The parade starts on Walnut Street, heading northwest, then travels south down College Avenue. As mentioned, that’s where the majority of viewers station themselves, although many watch the parade from residential streets as well. The parade turns left, heading east on Magnolia Street, and turns left again on Remington Street, making its way north towards Old Town Square.
Because a lot of the action takes place along College Avenue, we wanted to point you in the direction of a few bars open for business on that street. That way, you’ll know where you can grab a beer and enjoy a bite to eat while watching the parade or after it has passed.
The Crown Pub may not be an Irish pub but its authentic English style will make you feel like you’ve stepped across the pond to sip on some inventive cocktails and creative global fare. The Crown Pub has Guinness on their beer menu, so that’s a good place to start on St. Patrick’s Day.
Take a walk on the wild side at The Drunken Monkey, a tropical-themed bar and restaurant. You can even sit on hanging swings at the bar, so you’ll feel like you’ve stepped away for a little vacation from the parade madness. Top the experience off with some of their amazing food and a drink.
Another bar you’ll want to check out while experiencing the parade madness is The Mainline Ale House, which will be offering lots of drink specials on March 12. Last year, they offered Shillalies, a shot made with Bailey’s and Jameson Irish whiskey. So who knows what we can expect from this ale house specializing in local craft beers and cocktails! If you’re in search of a bite to eat, you won’t be disappointed by their lunch and dinner plates perfect for pairing with their local craft beers.
Did you know that there are over 1500 whiskeys at The Whisk(e)y? Check out their whiskey list if you want to get overwhelmed — in a good way. Better yet, check out their space for yourself to experience their inviting family-like atmosphere, order a bite to eat, and enjoy St. Patrick’s Day in style.
Tony’s Bar is one of the best places to go during the parade because they host two vantage points perfect for watching it pass by! The parade passes by Tony’s front patio on College Avenue, then passes it again on Remington Avenue, which can easily be viewed from their rooftop patio. Their rooftop patio was recently renovated, so it is equipped for any weather changes, if there is in fact “rain on this parade.” Tony’s will also offer a variety of specials on both the day of the parade and St. Patrick’s Day, including (but not limited to) $2.50 green beers, $5 Irish Car Bombs, $10 corned beef and cabbage, and a $10 combo with a Tony’s St. Patrick’s Day t-shirt and green beer! All around, it’s sure to be a party at Tony’s Bar on both the 12th and 17th of March.
Don’t get swept up in the flow of parade too much that you pass by The Town Pump, which is offering a special price for their Irish Car Bombs during the parade and on St. Patrick’s Day itself. They will open at 9 a.m. on the morning of the parade to accommodate the crowds eager to get the party started on College Avenue!
This locally owned and operated craft beer bar and gastropub provides a delicious farm-to-table food menu with 74 beers on draft and even more in bottles. You’ll feel at ease in their comfortable space — and with a quality craft beer in hand.
If you’d rather pump yourself up for the parade with a cup of coffee, retreat to Starry Night Espresso Cafe for a hot caffeinated beverage. They serve locally roasted organic fair trade coffee, a simple menu of sandwiches, soups and salads, as well as some handcrafted baked goods and desserts.
Celebrate your completion of the Sharin’ O’ the Green 5K or simply the end of the parade festivities at the Old Town Irish Party hosted by Wilbur’s Total Beverage. This is a free “green beer garden” with a local twist, as it will feature Odell microbrews and green Coors Light beers.
You can also hear performances from local musicians on the Old Town Square Stage. You can hear The Seers Band from 12 – 1 p.m., the Shaley Scott Band from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. (you may remember her from the Food Truck Festival) and Blue Grama from 3 – 4:30 p.m.
All around, it’s going to be a blast, and a wonderful opportunity to experience Fort Collins culture in the heart of Old Town.
After all that drinking, jumping, celebrating, and walking around, it’s very likely you’ll have worked up an appetite. March 12 is one of the final days of Downtown Fort Collins’ Great Plates 2016. Read up on what Great Plates is all about, and make your way to one of the 36 participating restaurants for a special deal and chance to donate to Food Bank for Larimer County.
You may be wondering what you’ll do on St. Patrick’s Day itself, as it isn’t until five days after the parade. On Thursday, March 17 (and often, the days before and thereafter), you can take advantage of a few special St. Patrick’s Day deals in the area!
Thursday, March 17: Snowbank will have Mac’N out front serving up their gourmet macaroni and cheese full of corned beef and cabbage, and a selection of Irish-themed and green dishes from their food truck. Snowbank’s Dry Irish Stout will be available in the taproom throughout the day as well.
Saturday, March 19: Who says the Irish party has to stop after St. Patrick’s Day has passed? Umami Mobile Eatery will be parked out front of Snowbank Brewing, serving up Irish-inspired fare. On this celebratory Saturday, Snowbank will be tapping their Irish Car Bomb Stout in their taproom.
Thursday, March 17: Road 34 will offer specials on Colorado Car Bombs, Odell’s Nitro Cutthroat Porter or Lefthand’s Milk Stout, Jameson, Guinness, Irish Car Bombs and of course — green Coors Lights. It’s always a party at Road 34, and they always do St. Patrick’s Day right.
Thursday, March 17: William Oliver’s Publick House will serve Horse and Dragon Brewing Company’s Irish Red on tap. Starting at 4 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, all proceeds from that beer will be donated to the Firefighter Community Compassion Fund. Additionally, William Oliver’s Publick House will host a pipe band made up of firefighters, who will play two different sets on St. Patrick’s Day!
That title seems a bit obvious, because of course all Irish bars are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day! It is, of course, the day they look forward to each year. So what better place to grab a true Irish beer and a bite of Irish faire?
Saturday, March 12th: Mulligan’s Pub will be open all day with bagpipes, live Irish music and their special Irish menu available all day. If you want to escape from the crowds of the parade, travel down College Avenue just a bit and unwind at Mulligan’s Pub!
Wednesday, March 16th: Mulligan’s is kicking off St. Patrick’s Day with a complimentary Guinness toast at midnight on the night of the 16th. They will also be running specials on Jameson, Guinness and Irish Car Bombs that night!
Thursday, March 17th: Mulligan’s will open early for breakfast with a free keg of Killian’s for their traditional Breakfast & Keg kick-off. They’ll also offer their same Irish menu all day. Party with live Irish bands, bagpipes and Irish step-dancers throughout the day at Mulligan’s! It will be a St. Patrick’s Day experience you won’t forget.
And last but certainly not least — Lucky Joe’s! They are, in fact, the title sponsor of the parade we’ve been talking about all this time. Located in the heart of all the madness in Old Town Square, Lucky Joe’s is the perfect place to visit during the parade or on St. Patrick’s Day itself.
They will have $4 Jameson and ginger ales, along with great deals on other Irish whiskeys. Lucky Joe’s will be featuring their special St. Paddy’s Day menu with corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, Guinness stew, and fish and chips. And of course, they will be serving up lots and lots of Guinness.
Have a fun and safe time celebrating this year!