by Carrie Havranek
I know my husband is going to cringe at this headline, but sorry, O’Keefe. I know no one is truly Irish unless he or she lives in Ireland; yes, my dear husband even bristles at the term “Irish-American.” Please, just indulge me for the sake of a quippy headline.
St. Patty’s Day is next Thursday, yes, but the festivities around here seem to start early and keep on going. Here are five cool places for some great beer, tasty food, and good craic (that’s Irish for “fun”).
1. Porters’ Pub, Easton. My love of this place has been well-documented on the pages of LLPG, but with its stone walls, low ceiling and festive atmosphere nearly any day of the week—St. Patrick’s Day notwithstanding—it feels about as truly Irish as you can get considering one’s geographical location. The menu promises to be chockablock with the usual Irish suspects. Drink up!
2. Molly’s Irish Grille and Sports Bar, SouthSide Bethlehem. Last year, this new pub opened in the former home of the embattled Lehigh Pub, but this place has craft beers, bar food favorites and of course, a mix of Celtic-American fare: corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash, fish and chips, lamb stew, shepherd’s pie and the like. Expect it to get festively rowdy here.
3. Tap and Table, Emmaus. Okay, so this gastropub feels more like middle Europe, with its dark rustic wood, wrought-iron touches and candlelit ambiance, but this place is serious beer heaven. And St. Patty’s day makes me think of beer. If you’re all grown up and want to have a great cask beer that no one else in the Valley is likely drinking, this is your spot. Your beer is sacrosanct here: No one is going to dye it green.
4. Granny McCarthy’s Tea Room & Celtic Restaurant. Here’s the place to go for a filling Irish breakfast, a delicious, soul-satisfying bowl of potato leek soup and basket of brown bread, and a true Irish breakfast, complete with black and white pudding, and tea. This weekend, starting Thursday night, you can start the party with dinner and a traditional music session Thursday. The tea room will be open for dinner until 9pm on Friday night and until 6pm on Saturday. Brunch will be served all day on Sunday, and you’ll hear live music if you show up 1pm-3pm.
5. Parade of Shamrocks, Bethlehem. Allentown has a swell-looking parade I’ve not yet attended but which is now in its 54th year. This one, however, brought to you by those behind Celtic Classic, will flood downtown Bethlehem on Saturday, March 12, with shamrocks—so to speak. The mirth starts at 2:30 at 6th and Broad Streets in the form of floats, pipe bands, and continues down to the Celtic Classic grounds. At 5pm, Glengarry Bhoys, Emish, and the O’Grady-Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance will keep revelers entertained for hours under the Grand Pavillion tent. General admission to concert is $18.
Despite her seemingly unpronounceable middle-European last name, Easton-based writer Carrie Havranek is Irish both by marriage (the aforementioned John O’Keefe) and by genetics, via her maternal grandmother (McGowan).