Tuesday, March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day. Although rooted in the spiritual mythology of Ireland, it has since become a world-wide phenomenon where thousands of cities simultaneously celebrate their Irish culture by holding parades, festivals and dying rivers, beer and food green.
Winnipeg is no exception and St. Paddy’s has become a milestone moment in our pub culture calendar. In advance of our tippling Tuesday, Savour Winnipeg presents 14 Peg Pubs Perfect for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
1. Finn McCue’s – Johnston Terminal, The Forks
Hefty wood beams, wainscoting and wallpaper give this Forks market public house a decidedly authentic feel. Wile away St. Paddy’s Day playing pool and darts, and enjoy a spectacular selection of Irish whiskeys and beer.
2. Dylan O’Connors – 2609 Portage Avenue
Since it’s days as a Keg, Dylan’s hasn’t undergone a drastic overhaul. Threatening to be pub in name only, it redeems itself with some truly bucolic bites and burly brews.
- 112 Osborne
- 172 Main
One of the staple Irish pubs in Winnipeg, every bit as worn and weary as a favourite old pair of sneakers, and smells about the same. Menu highlights are the scotch eggs and so-named Best Burger in the City (it really is an awesome burger).
The Main street location is Kilkenny to the Village’s Guinness–not without its own charms, but a second choice to those seeking the definitive Irish experience.
4. The King’s Head Pub – 120 King Street
The first choice for pub crawlers in the ‘Peg, The King’s Head has become a bit of an institution over the years. Wash down heaping helpings of chips with a fantastic selection of local and UK beers. They’ll be celebrating all day with music from The Braggarts and Celtic Way. Get there early!
5. Shannon’s Irish Pub – 175 Carlton
Boasting a spectacular hand-made wooden bar, the main area is dressed in orange and green, the colours of Ireland’s Protestant and Catholic faiths. Kilted psuedo Irish lasses serve the holy trinity of Irish beer (Guinness, Kilkenny and Smithwicks) table-side.
6. Elephant & Castle – 350 Saint Mary Avenue
On the main floor of Winnipeg’s Delta Hotel, the Elephant and Castle is land-marked by an unmistakable red phone box out front. The atmosphere is more pastiche of a pub, and seating is rather limited, but the menu does a fine job representing UK staples. Booze infused highlights are the Guinness braised Meatloaf and Jameson’s Chicken with mushroom cream sauce.
7. J. Fox’s – 414 Academy Road
Having quickly transformed the space formerly occupied by Academy Bar & Eatery, J. Fox’s is the newest pub themed restaurant in Winnipeg. A small, intimate bar/lounge is separated from the restaurant by an impressive field stone column. A short menu hints at some sophistication, even if execution falls slightly shy of the mark.
- 1824 Pembina Highway
- 2100 McPhillips Street
- 826 Regent Ave West
- MTS Centre
As generic and mass-market as it gets, this is a typically north American interpretation of a pub. Tawdry kilted and flouncy bloused servers deliver mournful morsels that scarcely pay homage to pub grub. To the uninitiated, the menu is good on paper. On the palate…not so much. But hey, you’re here to drink with your chums and Tavern United’s sprawling floor plans guarantee you’ll be able to do just that.
9. Fox & Hounds Tavern – 1719 Portage Avenue
One of the old-timers, Fox & Hounds has been around for as long as I can remember. In spite of its inauspicious location, the character of the exterior continues inside, with plenty of wood and brick. A surprisingly elegant dining room, replete with linens, is wasted on a pedestrian and un-focused menu.
10. The Thirsty Lion Tavern – 525 Dale Boulevard
Having said farewell to the Charlie, the Thirsty Lion is the self-appointed A-list watering hole for Charleswood denizens. Attached to the Red Lion Inn, it’s a fair interpretation of a Celtic pub with cozy nooks, dark wood trim and brick walls. The usual suspects are on tap with a smattering of traditional pub fare on the menu.
11. Luxalune – 734 Osborne St
The owners of now defunct Luxsole introduce Winnipeg’s first gastro-pub. Luxalune sports a relaxed atmosphere where sophisticated tapas play the role of pub grub. Asian and south American influences predominate, but check out their clever interpretation of Fish n Chips-baked potato skins stuffed with fish and caper aioli. And when you’re talking imports, it’s not just the usual suspects…they’ve got some of the best from at home, and all over the world.
12. The Irish Association – 654 Erin Street
Not surprisingly, the Irish, and those of Irish descent among us, take St. Paddy’s pretty seriously and mark the occasion with a three day festival.
The Irish Club is open all day Tuesday starting with an Ecumenical Service, and then an annual St. Patrick’s Lunch with music provided by the traditional musicians of Comhaltas Winnipeg.
During the afternoon, there’s live music from Larry McLennan, Al Smith, and Kate Ferris. The McConnell and McDonnell Schools of Dance will appear during the afternoon and evening, as well as a piping display from the Winnipeg Celtic Pipe Band. The festival concludes with crowd-rousing music and antics of Ard Ri.
13. The Lo Pub – 330 Kennedy
Emphasizing local bands, and brews the Lo Pub is quickly gaining a reputation as the place to be and be seen. Plenty of good brews on tap for their St. Patrick’s Day bash which will feature live acts from The Paperbacks, Quinzy and DJ Rob Vilar.
14. The Round Table – 800 Pembina
Roaring fireplace and medieval themes make this more like a noble’s manor than public house. Half restaurant, half lounge, both sides sport plenty of oak beams, nooks, and old copper curiosities. Beef is the main feature of the menu, but you’ll also find kingly classics like crown rack of lamb, pork tenderloin and chikcen. No special festivities planned, but making your own is half the fun.