There are a million ways to do St. Patrick’s Day.
And as the unofficial end of winter brings with it months worth of pent-up party energy, there are just as many ways to do it wrong.
Here are the top five ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, broken down by what kind of party you’re after.
The Social Butterfly: St. Pat's Trolley Crawl
The good thing about being confined to small spaces? You’re forced to make new friends. Grab a seat on the trolley with the friendly crews from MyDrinkOn.com and ChicagoTwentySomething.com at this 15-bar trolley crawl that runs morning, noon, and night (and then some).
Sat 8a-4p. Meet at O’Malley’s West, 2249 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Park. $35 here.
The Traditional Rager: St. Patrick's Week at Fado
At Fado Irish Pub, St. Patrick’s Day becomes St. Patrick’s Week with a raucous week-long celebration featuring live bands, firemen bartenders, European “football,” and Irish pub films. Also, you can get your head shaved for charity. Or chug beer out of ice sculptures. Or both.
100 W. Grand Ave., River North. (312-836-0066). Cover charges vary.
The Early Riser: Kegs & Eggs Brunch at High Noon Saloon
If you feel like getting a jump on the action without having to set an alarm, stroll in at 10a for a brunch of chilaquiles and huevos rancheros paired with endless green beer and bloody Marys. By the time the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band rolls in at 6p, you’re guaranteed to be way into bagpipe music.
Sat 10a-1p. High Noon Saloon, 1560 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wicker Park. $25 at door.
The Class Act: St. Patrick’s Day Weekend at Tavernita
For a more relaxing change of pace, head to the upscale confines of Tavernita for a (slightly) more refined Irish celebration featuring specialty items including corned beef croquettes paired with the green tea vodka-based Green Booty O’Collins. Wear green at St. Pat’s Day for 15% off your check.
Sat-Mon. Tavernita, 151 W. Erie St., River North (312-374-1111). No cover.
The River Monster: Shoreline St. Patrick’s Day Cruise
The best way to see the green river? Get right on top of it; which you can do on this 90-minute Chicago River cruise with corned beef and cabbage, Irish coffee, and plenty of Guinness. The afternoon session already sold out, but the early cruise drops off before the parade, so there's still time to get right in the thick of things.
Sat 10-11:30a. Departs from Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., River East. $49 here.