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A Local’s Guide to Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland

St. Patrick’s Day will be a little different in 2021; for a look at the things you can do to celebrate safely this year, scroll to the bottom of this post!

March 17 is fast approaching, and everyone will suddenly be Irish – at least for the day! St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland is quite the celebration, complete with a parade, Irish pubs full to the brim, live music, and more! 

Cleveland certainly has reason to do St. Patrick’s Day big each year: there are over 72,000 people in the area of Irish descent! In fact, as we discussed in our Sister Cities of Cleveland article, the County Mayo in Ireland has been a Cleveland Sister City since 2003. Many of the citizens of that county immigrated to the US and eventually settled in Cleveland during the construction of the Erie Canal system. 

As a result, Cleveland turns into quite a party each St. Patrick’s Day! To get ready for the celebrations, we’ve got all the details on St. Paddy’s Day in Cleveland! 

So grab your beer and say, “Sláinte!”

Everything You Need to Know About St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland

What is St. Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish Catholic holiday celebrated on March 17 of each year, which is the anniversary of the death of Saint Patrick, who is said to have possibly passed on March 17, 461 AD. 

Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle. He was credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, and there are several myths and legends surrounding him. 

The celebrations started over 1,000 years ago in Ireland. The holiday falls during the Lenten season, and families would go to church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. 

Celebrations have certainly evolved over the years, with the holiday now more of a celebration of Ireland and all things Irish. Dublin is the most famous location for the festivities in Ireland, where the celebrations usually go on for several days. 

Temple Bar in Dublin, Ireland
The famous Temple Bar in Dublin, Ireland

However, many US cities have their own extravagant celebrations. New York City has one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the world, and Chicago famously dyes its river green for the holiday. 

Cleveland is no exception, as we like to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day here as well! 

Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Note: The St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been canceled for 2021, but will hopefully be back next year!

This is easily the most popular and must-see thing to do in Cleveland during St. Patrick’s Day! The St. Paddy’s Day Parade brings in upwards of a half million people and was started in 1867. There are plenty of floats and live music, and loads of people enjoying the festivities. 

The parade typically starts at 1:04 pm on March 17 at the intersection of Superior Avenue and East 18th Street. It then goes west and passes through Public Square before turning right on West Roadway and right on Rockwell Avenue. It then ends at the intersection of Rockwell Avenue and Ontario Street. The parade lasts for about two hours. 

Be sure to check for road closures ahead of time as these streets and surrounding areas will be blocked off. 

This is a fantastic way to kick off the celebrations with a half million of your closest friends!

St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland (pre-2020, of course!)

Where to Eat and Drink on St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland

After (or perhaps before) the parade is through, you’re going to want to celebrate the Irish way with a lot of great food and drinks! So for tasty beer and Irish-American fare, this is where you want to eat and drink during St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland.

Many of these spots have live music on and surrounding St. Patrick’s Day each year, too!

Note: Some of these places ARE still going to be open for St. Patrick’s Day in 2021 with food and drink specials, live music, and more. Others will be open for take-out. Others will be closed. We’ve tried our best to include this information, but would still suggest checking with each place individually before making any plans!

1. Flat Iron Cafe

1114 Center St, Cleveland (The Flats)

Established in 1910, the Flat Iron Cafe is the oldest Irish pub in Cleveland. It has live Irish music playing during St. Patrick’s Day, and even serves up kegs and eggs starting at 7 a.m. They also offer free shuttle rides to the parade and a pipe and drum band performs here after the parade!

In 2021: They are OPEN. Kegs and eggs start at 7 a.m. Live music from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Cleveland Firefighters Pipes & Drums will perform at 3 p.m. Carry out food will also be available.

2. Flannery’s Pub

323 Prospect Ave, Cleveland (Downtown)

Grab a pint of Guinness or an Irish whiskey and have some corned beef at this traditional Irish pub in downtown Cleveland. Flannery’s usually has live music and it gets very busy after the parade here. This large pub is a great spot to feel like you’ve transported yourself to Temple Bar in Dublin.

In 2021: They open at 11 a.m. and will be following mask/social distancing guidelines, meaning space will be limited.

3. Old Angle Tavern

1848 W 25th St, Cleveland (Ohio City)

This sports bar, located on popular W 25th street in Ohio City, is always the place to go for watching soccer games! But, during St. Patrick’s Day, it’ll get a bit rowdier as parade-goers or those starting their celebrations will come to the Old Angle Tavern for live music, a fresh pint of Irish beer or cider, and perhaps some lamb stew or shepherd’s pie.

In 2021: The tavern is open for dining, but no word on whether they are doing anything for St. Patrick’s Day this year. 

4. Gormley’s Pub

19500 Center Ridge Rd, Rocky River

With live music including a bagpiper and pipe and drum band, toasted corned beef sandwiches, and a great variety of beer, if you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a bit further from the busy downtown area, this is a great spot to go! Plus, Gormley’s usually opens their doors around 6 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day so you can celebrate early! 

In 2021: They will be open starting at 7 a.m. this year. There will be music (including a bagpiper at 11 a.m. and the West Side Irish American Club Pipe Band at 6 p.m.), and a DJ from 5-9 p.m. The pub’s parking lot is approved for outdoor drinking, so if the weather is good you can enjoy your pint outside.

5. The Harp

4408 Detroit Ave, Cleveland (Detroit Shoreway)

Aside from this bar having one of the best patios in Cleveland with some incredible views over Lake Erie, this Irish pub serves up a solid list of Irish beer including Guinness, Harp, and Smithwicks. Plus, you can mix it up with their mixed draughts like a Black and Tan (Bass Ale and Guinness). 

On St. Patrick’s Day itself, expect quite a few party-goers hanging out and enjoying the live Irish music at The Harp, as well as lots of corned beef sandwiches and shepherd’s pies.

In 2021: The Harp re-opened earlier in March for dining. No word on whether their hours or offerings will be any different on March 17.

6. Slyman’s

3106 St Clair Ave NE, Cleveland (AsiaTown)

Slyman’s is famous for its delicious and ginormous corned beef sandwiches, and is a perfect choice to soak up any beer from St. Patrick’s Day celebrations! Enjoy their roast beef, corned beef, or pastrami on a sandwich or have it for breakfast with eggs and homefries. 

This place is buzzing all day during St. Patrick’s Day and serves over 1,000 pounds of corned beef! 

In 2021: The original Slyman’s location will be open starting at 6 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day for carry-out only, but it’s recommended you pre-order. You can also get Slyman’s excellent food at 3 different Slyman’s Tavern locations. AND this year the Slyman’s Tavern Food Truck will be out at Lakewood Truck Park from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on March 17.

7. Parnell’s Irish Pub

1415 Euclid Ave, Cleveland (Downtown) 

Serving up craft beer, Irish whiskey, and Irish beer and cider, Parnell’s Irish Pub in downtown Cleveland is a great spot to wander into before or after the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. They open their doors bright and early to celebrate the day! 

In 2021: Parnell’s is currently closed, and won’t be reopening until April 1, 2021. So no St. Paddy’s Day celebrations here this year!

8. PJ McIntyre’s Irish Pub

17119 Lorain Ave, Cleveland (Kamm’s Corner)

Voted the #1 Irish Pub in Ohio by Delish, PJ McIntyre’s is a fantastic spot to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland! 

This place serves up a warm Irish welcome on St. Patrick’s Day with signs in gaelic and friendly crowds. They even nail the smell of an Irish pub by burning turf like many traditional pubs do in Ireland. 

Enjoy the tasty Irish food including a full Irish breakfast and partake in the day’s events here including a Lucky Charms eating contest as well as live Irish music, bagpipers, and dancing. 

In 2021: They will be open starting at 7 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, and will have live music, bagpipers, and Irish dancers throughout the day. They are also having a “St. Practice Day” event on March 16 with live Irish music.

9. Hofbrauhaus Cleveland

1550 Chester Ave, Cleveland (Downtown)

While not an Irish pub by any means, this place still throws it down on St. Patrick’s Day! Starting with kegs and eggs in the morning before the parade, they also serve up corned beef hash and bangers and mash throughout the day. 

Plus, they’ve got all the live music and liters of beer to keep the celebration going all day and into the night. 

In 2021: There doesn’t seem to be anything special planned.

10. Great Lakes Brewing Company

2516 Market Ave, Cleveland (Ohio City)

While not known as being an Irish pub, Great Lakes certainly gives off those vibes at the main bar area! Plus, they always make a big deal out of St. Patrick’s Day as well with live music, the Fatty Wagon bus transporting people to and from downtown for the parade, food specials, and plenty of Irish-inspired beer like Conway’s Irish Ale and Wolfhound Stout. 

In 2021: GLBC’s brew pub has been closed, but it will be re-opening on March 17 for limited indoor and outdoor dining! They will be serving traditional Irish breakfast that morning (reservations required), and then the bar, beer garden, and patio will be open from noon- 10 p.m. There will be live music, and performances by the Pipes & Drum Trio at noon and the Cleveland Firefighters Memorial Pipes & Drums at 4 p.m. Reservations are recommended, and take-out will also be offered.

What to Wear for St. Patrick’s Day

Green, of course! Almost everyone gets dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland, with green shirts or pants, decorative hats, or other accessories. Local clothing brands like Cleveland Clothing Co. also always sell Cleveland-inspired gear for the holiday, too.

How to Celebrate on Your Own at Home

As you can imagine, St. Patrick’s Day won’t be quite the celebration it has been in years past. Much like in 2020, 2021 is not the year for large group gatherings. So while many of the events are canceled this year (including the famous Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade), there are ways to celebrate at home!

Check out these ways to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day from the comfort of your own home:

  • Order Takeout: Many of the bars and restaurants listed above are still serving up Irish fare for the holiday that you can get to-go! Purchase some beers and food from them to support local businesses and enjoy it while safely distancing at home. 
  • Listen to Irish Music: Just because you can’t listen to Irish music live, doesn’t mean you can’t put up a Spotify playlist or Youtube some great songs to dance around to! 
  • Watch Pups March During a Virtual St. Patrick’s Day Parade: The City Dogs Cleveland will have another virtual parade with their adoptable pups again this year. This year, the event is happening on Saturday, March 13, at 10:30 a.m. More info here. Or you can watch last year’s virtual parade here
  • Purchase a Shamrock Pin to support the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Planning Committee! Wear it around your home while celebrating! (Order here.)
  • Virtually Run the St. Patrick’s Day 5K! 

While St. Patrick’s Day this year may once again be different than in years before, it can still be a lot of fun here in Cleveland thanks to these ideas! 

When things get back to normal, it is quite a party you’ll want to partake in!

Which thing would you most like to do on St. Patrick’s Day?

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