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Seven ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day other than drinking green beer

Annalise Mantz
Written by
Annalise Mantz

Come March 17, the city will be packed with happy revelers covered in green plastic beads, cheesy leprechaun costumes and fake ginger beards. But if your idea of luck of the Irish means avoiding all the drunken debauchery, you better skip the parade and pub crawls. Here’s what to do for St. Patrick’s Day if you’d rather not spend it drinking green beer with a bunch of sloshed college kids.

Joe Hurley’s Annual Irish Rock Revue
OK, so this event actually happens the weekend before St. Patty’s Day, but Irish rockers still won’t want to miss it. Every year since 1999, singer-songwriter John Hurley has brought dozens of musical acts together to perform the “great Irish songbook” and fête the Emerald Isle. Expect to hear covers of U2, Thin Lizzy, Van Morrison, Sinéad O'Connor and other Irish greats.

The Irish Pub Cooking Class
If you’d prefer to eat your way through the holiday, sign up for the Institute of Culinary Education’s pub-themed cooking class. James Beard Award–winning author and chef Peter Berley will teach you how to whip up seven traditional Irish dishes, from a hearty beef and Guinness stew to crispy fish and chips to sticky toffee pudding.

St. Patrick’s Day Whiskey vs. Beer and Cheese Pairing Class
Whether your beverage of choice is a pint of Harp lager or shot of Tullamore Dew, Murray’s Cheese has just the thing to pair with it. Spend an hour and a half getting schooled in combining fromage with drinks, and leave with the perfect crumbly cheddar or funky farmstead blue cheese for your palate.

Scone and Soda Bread Workshop
Traditional Irish fare goes heavy on the carbs: Spuds, bread and pastries are all big players in the cuisine. Make two of the most classic baked goods—soda bread and scones—in this two-hour baking class. They’re best enjoyed with a strong cuppa tea, but we won’t be mad if you’d rather have an Irish coffee.

Whiskey Wars
In the late 1800s, illicit whiskey distillers ran rampant in Vinegar Hill—so much so that President Ulysses S. Grant once sent 500 artillerymen to help law enforcement crack down on these tax-evading moonshiners. Today, Kings County Distillery still produces barrels and barrels of whiskey out of the same neighborhood—only this time, it's legal. Tour the facilities and learn about the area's shady past on this St. Patrick’s Day walk.

Circle Line St. Patrick’s Day Cruise
Kick back and relax on this booze cruise down the Hudson River. The Coney Island Brewery suds are a definitely upgrade from the food coloring–laced stuff they’ll be serving in dive bars all over the city. Plus, there will also be plenty of Irish-themed appetizers to snack on during the ride, like corned beef and cabbage pinwheels and potato croquettes. 

Irish Brunch
Top o’ the mornin’ to ya! Get a taste of the Emerald Isle at Time Out New York’s brunch event on the Saturday after the festivities. Dig into rashers of bacon, baked beans, scones, bread pudding and other traditional favorites at the buffet. Since the event is sponsored by Guinness, you know there will be plenty of suds on tap. In fact, your first two pints are free!

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