10. ASHFORD PUB
Want to hang out at a legit Irish pub this St Paddy's Day, but can't fathom flying to the other side of the world to do it? Try the west side's Ashford Pub, a dark, dank bar with very Irish owners. What could be better than that? Not much, unless you throw in some free food, plus dirt-cheap drinks, rad bartenders and around 20 beers on tap. (13308 Westheimer, 281-679-6112)
9. MOLLY MAGUIRE'S PUB
Yes, Molly Maguire's is all the way out on Kuykendahl, which may be a haul from the Loop, but inner-loopers would still be fools to pass it over. The beer is cheap, the drinks are stout, and there's Golden Tee a'plenty. Basically, it's a dark, unpretentious neighborhood hangout with a badass St Paddy's Day crowd. If you're over some of Houston's bigger Irish-style haunts, you should make your way out to the 'burbs. You may end up thanking us. (15945 Kuykendahl, 281-580-6167)
8. CELTIC GARDENS (Note: Celtic Gardens was replaced by a new bar with a similar theme, Irish Cowboy, on St. Patrick's Day 2016. 2300 Louisiana, 713-900-2500, irishcowboy.com)
This pub in the heart of Midtown is one of the best places to pretend you're Irish. Their big-ass St Patty's day party has got live bands, DJs and plenty of green beer — oh, and they're throwing in crawfish on Sunday. That means it's going to be insane here, so perhaps roll out of bed before noon this time. Even if you're not into green beer, the Gardens has a ton of other brews like Lily & Seamus American Wheat on tap, so you'll be shotgunning along with the faux-Irish crowd before you know it.
This tiny little Irish bar is worth every bit of day-drinking you'll have to do to keep a seat for the evening, so get here early on St. Paddy's day if you plan on staying late. And perhaps you should think about hanging out on the roomy patio if the weather is nice. No one wants to see your blinky "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" beads inside. (2611 Augusta, 713-706-4490)
6. THE HARP
If you venture out to The Harp this St Paddy's Day, you could feel more like you're in someone's packed sitting room in Ireland than in a bar. That's a good vibe for an Irish pub to have, especially when it comes with beer. As a bonus, the Harp celebrates St. Paddy's Day with Irish dancers, live music, bagpipers, drink specials and, of course, blinky beads. It's like St Paddy's Day has become Mardi Gras with those darn things. (1625 Richmond, 713-528-7827, theharphouston.com)
5. SHAY MCELROY'S IRISH PUB
This downtown pub is legitimately Irish — owner John McElroy had the bar flown in from Dublin — and will make you feel like you're back across the pond. The fenced-in patio is not technically in the street, but it still seems like you're brushing shoulders with the business district's foot traffic. The crowd here might seem more reserved than other Irish bars, but that should go out the window once the Bushmill's or Jameson's starts to flow. (909 Texas, 713-223-2444, mcelroyspub.com)
4. KENNEALLY'S IRISH PUB
Good old Kenneally's. We'd love this place whether it was an Irish pub or not, but the fact that it is an Irish pub makes it all the better. If you've never had their epic pizza, perhaps you should try some at Kenneally's 30th Annual St Paddy's Day Party on Monday. Yep, 30 years. They've obviously been doing something right. (2111 S Shepherd, 713-630-0486, irishpubkenneallys.com)
3. MOLLY'S PUB DOWNTOWN
Molly's once made Tom Horen's list of the Top 10 Irish Establishments in America, and rightfully so, because it's a true Irish-American pub. The food is fantastic, the drinks are always on special, and Molly's is the place to be on St Paddy's Day. It's packed from floor to, well, second floor with boisterous folks taking in the Irish dancing or downing Blind Russians. You should go, stat. (509 Main, 713-222-1033)
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2. LUCKY'S PUB
Lucky's is so built for St. Patrick's Day, it takes two locations to hold the sea of folks that flock to them. The Cypress-area spot is pretty cool, but the massive original just east of downtown simply can't be beat on March 17. Multiple rooms and bars means plenty of room to squeeze your happy ass into the crowd, but Lucky's also rocks a huge patio if you need some air. With a full four days of festivities (starting Friday) like a golf tournament, green beer, a parade, leprechauns, bagpipers and more, Lucky's has about all the chaos you could ever want in St. Paddy's party. (801 St Emanuel, 713-522-2010, luckyspub.com)
St Patrick's Day at Griff's is not a party, it's an institution, with six days of celebrating. With an Irish Stew cookoff, St. Paddy's Queen contest, cornhole tournament and Old Timer's night, with drink specials for the folks who like to sit around reminiscing about what St Paddy's Day used to be, Griff's is all about the festivities surrounding this holiday. On the actual day, the area around the Montrose bar expands to 100,000 square feet of festivities, including bagpipers, bands, dancing leprechauns and an amount of green-beer buckets that must be seen (or guzzled) to be believed. (3416 Roseland, 713-528-9912, griffshouston.net)