One of the liveliest holiday celebrations in Chicago, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t all cheap green beer and Irish Car Bombs. Rather, restaurants and bars go all out with specials and events that highlight Irish recipes and contemporary culinary riffs, from Green Chartreuse cocktails and minty cake shakes to fried chicken Reubens and potato skin poutine. Here’s your guide to some of the best St. Patrick’s Day eats and sips in Chicago.
You can always count on whimsical mixology at this envelope-pushing River North bar, and for St. Patrick’s Day that means mezcal and Green Chartreuse cocktails served in honey bear glassware with lime and Maraschino. Plus: lime leaf Palomas with kaffir-infused tequila; Guinness galore; pulled pork sliders; Korean fried chicken sliders; and “lucky” nachos heaped with corned beef, cabbage, and jalapeños. DJ Nick McCord hits the tables between noon and 5 p.m.
Details: Doors open at 11 a.m. on March 14; drink specials available all day and food specials from 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
For a front-row seat to Chicago’s famous river dyeing, you can’t get any closer than Pizzeria Portofino. It helps that the glam new restaurant is hosting a cocktail and pizza party for the occasion. General admission for the shindig guarantees entry, and the food and beverage minimum will be applied to the final bill, while VIP entry includes an elevated booth, a designated server, and Giuliana Prosecco.
Details: March 14; packages available from 8–10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Fisk & Co.
Located a stone’s throw from the Chicago River, Euro-chic Fisk & Co. is celebrating the boozy holiday by raising a glass to Chicago’s homegrown spirit: Malort. Malort rep Katey Bunny will be on hand with free samples and swag, along with special Malort cocktails from bar manager Melissa Carroll. Dubbed the Handshake, the drink features Malort, grapefruit cordial, lemon juice, grapefruit bitters, and Wild Onion Pilsner.
Details: March 14
ETA Restaurant + Bar
Born in Dublin, chef Stephen Henry knows a thing or two about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, and he’s doing so with a slew of interesting food specials on the day of the parade. These include omelets studded with Irish smoked salmon and smoked Gouda; poutine with potato skins, braised short rib, Irish whiskey pepper sauce, and Gouda; jumbo scallops with hen of the woods mushrooms, white wine, cream, and white Cheddar; and Baileys Irish Cream cheesecake with hazelnut ice cream and Irish whiskey caramel sauce. Green beer will also be on draft.
Details: Specials available March 14
Mon Ami Gabi-Oak Brook
For a different kind of green beverage, head to Mon Ami Gabi in Oak Brook for a sophisticated green high tea. The holiday-inspired soirée features assorted teas, tea sandwiches, and St. Patrick’s Day–inspired pastries.
Details: March 10, 3–5 p.m.; $39.95 per guest and $19.95 for children 12 and under
If you’re looking to go big for St. Patrick’s Day, there’s no better place than the world’s largest rooftop bar, right? Offshore is offering frozen Irish coffees, Jameson shots, Guinness, corned beef sandwiches, and Irish breakfast platters all day long on March 14. The views of downtown and the lake don’t hurt either.
Details: All day March 14
Ocean Prime Chicago
You haven’t tried Irish coffee like this before. Made with triple-distilled Tullamore DEW Irish whiskey, French press coffee, and green-dyed whipped cream, the beverage is as lustrous as it is festive. Best enjoyed by the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Chicago River, naturally.
Three words: tater tot buffet. Four more words: corned beef sandwich station. If you’re not sold yet, you might be dead inside. This Old Town mainstay is going hard for the holiday with its brunch buffet, which also includes four drink tickets.
Details: March 14, 9 a.m.–noon; $25
JW Marriott Chicago Lobby Lounge
Chef Michael Reich embraces his inner Irishman for his St. Patrick’s Day specials at the Lobby Lounge. These include a corned beef Reuben with Russian dressing and sauerkraut on toasted marble rye, plus Irish coffee and Baileys cheesecake.
Details: Menu specials available March 13–17
St. Patrick’s Day specials take the form of cookies and cocktails at all Beatrix locations in March. The former is an adorable iced clover cookie in the shape of a shamrock, while the drink du jour is called Whiskey in the Jar, a riff on Irish coffee made with Dubliner Honey Irish whiskey, espresso, cream, and cinnamon.
Details: Cookies available March 13–17, cocktails available March 13–20
Forget about the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake—Portillo’s is the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day. All locations of this local institution will be serving a mint chocolate shake for the holiday, made with vanilla-mint ice cream blended with chocolate frosting from the eatery’s famed chocolate cake. For an additional 50 cents, the shake can be upgraded to a full-blown cake shake. Live large.
Details: Shakes available through April 12
Honey Butter Fried Chicken
As if you needed any excuse to visit this Avondale chicken mecca, Honey Butter is bringing back its annual fried chicken Reuben for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s made with fried chicken strips, pimento cheese, caramelized onions, Thousand Island dressing, and house-made sauerkraut, all heaped on a pumpernickel bun.
Details: The sandwich is available March 17–23; $11