chris atchison/metro toronto
Struggling to find a place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Here’s a round-up:
14 Duncan St.
Ambience: It may be more pub than hardcore Irish bar, but Gracie’s is a surefire bet for those looking for a big night out — or full day, for that matter —on that annual fest in St. Patrick’s honour. The line on Saturday will probably begin to form shortly after the doors open at noon and will probably remain until close, so arrive early for a chance to greet the Leprechaun (see below).
Authenticity factor? Medium.
Will I pick up an Irish chick/dude? Not necessarily, but if you’re Irish you’re probably guaranteed to score.
Will there be Leprechauns on the bar? Hell yeah! Once again they’ve hired a wee man (specifically Allan Redford) to play the role of the beloved keeper of the treasure at the end of the rainbow. You’ll see him dancing across the bar all night long, so it’s not just the Guinness talking.
Good craic? Definitely. Gracie’s has become one of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day spots in the city.
James Joyce Irish Pub
386 Bloor St. W.
Ambience: It’s inevitable that the Joyce will be jammed within hours of opening tomorrow — this has long been the bar of choice for U of T students looking to get their Irish on come March 17. While the décor may leave a lot to be desired, the crowd and lively atmosphere make up for it.
Authenticity factor? Medium to high.
Will I pick up an Irish chick/dude? Maybe someone of Irish descent, but someone with an Eire passport is a long shot.
Will there be Leprechauns on the bar? No, just regulars propping it up from about noon onwards.
Good craic? Yes, but the party can get tiresome when the crowds build and floor space becomes scarce.
The Irish Embassy
49 Yonge St.
Ambience: Bay Street wheelers, dealers and power players usually make the Embassy their unofficial home away from home, so expect some of the same clientele, even on a weekend. The décor inside is reminiscent of some of Dublin’s more iconic buildings (granted not as old or as iconic), but with a modernized, slightly trendy feel to attract a varied crowd.
Will I pick up an Irish chick/dude? With the right business card, anything’s possible.
Will there be Leprechauns on the bar? This crowd’s a bit too P.C. for that sort of thing.
Good craic? Very, but in a decidedly corporate sort of way.