Dine Newport Beach

Tasting Notes Blog

March 8, 2018

A Toast to St. Patrick

There’s an eclectic number of ways to celebrate March 17th in Newport Beach

In any given calendar year, St. Patrick’s Day is a day filled with festive revelry, happy camaraderie, and generous pours of beer that may or may not be shaded green. When March 17th falls on a Saturday, as it does in 2018, the revelry is a bit heightened and the kinship feels extra stronger.  The amount of beer may also be a little more copious, which of course can directly correlate to the other two elements being amped.

In Newport Beach, you won’t have to travel too far to find a killer place that’s perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans. The following places carry the kind of easy, breezy vibe you want to experience on the day. At the same time, they’re poised to celebrate March 17th in a manner that makes each experience wholly unique. Wherever you go, you’re going to leave with a smile on your face.

Before you go any further, some free advice. Be careful out there. Don’t drive if you’ve had too much to drink. Consider taking an Uber or Lyft instead of your own car. The potential consequences that stem from not heeding this friendly warning could be beyond devastating, to both you and others.

Balboa SaloonBalboa Saloon –  Balboa Village is undoubtedly going to be a haven for revelers on St. Patrick’s Day. After all, the neighborhood’s home to the Balboa Fun Zone. This venerable restaurant and bar is an outstanding spot to anchor yourself for a singular evening of Fun Zone fun. The historic building’s large windows provide a generous view of the neighborhood’s free-flowing crowd as you kick back amongst its maritime ephemera and enjoy beer, a slice of pizza, and a few classic bar snacks like pretzels.  If you’re feeling a bit lucky, you may even get the chance to challenge one of the regulars to a game of darts. Just don’t get your hopes up when it comes to winning.

Classic QThe Classic Q – If there’s one thing that make a night of quaffing beer on St. Patrick’s Day better, it’s imbibing in a cold one or two will playing a game of pool. There may not be a better place to rack ‘em up in Newport Beach than this Airport District mainstay. Its spacious digs are home to seven billiard tables boasting well-kept felt and warp-free surfaces, which means you’ll only have yourself to blame if you blow an easy shot. There’s also plenty to do while you wait between games, from indulging in brews and classic bar fare like nachos and angus beef sliders to catching a game on one of the venue’s 50 or so high-definition TVs.

Muldoon'sMuldoon’s Irish Pub – Ringing in St. Patrick’s Day can be so much more than hoisting a brew infused with green dye. It can also be a celebration of classic Celtic cuisine, and no place in Newport Beach acknowledges this better than this long-adored Fashion Island restaurant and pub. All the Irish favorites are properly made here, from the traditional corned beef & cabbage dish to shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash. More importantly, all of them are exceptional. They will provide a most exquisite base for the glasses of Guinness you’ll enjoy here. They have plenty of other beers here as well, but if you’re having brews with traditional Irish fare on St. Patrick’s Day, you should make at least one of them a Guinness, no?

Muldoon'sMutt Lynch’s – This year, March 17th is not just St. Patrick’s Day. It’s also the first weekend of March Madness. If you have a vested interest in the men’s college basketball tourney (read: if you filled out a bracket), you may have the need to train at least one eye on a TV to catch its second-round action. The strategically-placed TVs in this legendary Balboa Peninsula spot gives you the opportunity to do that as you imbibe in beers and mow down on Irish nachos, a burger, or something surprising like a strawberry and candied walnut salad, but the space itself offers something more. The atmosphere here is electric during the most mundane parts of the calendar, so it’s a given that it will be rocking and rolling with those not only in the mood to raise a pint to Ireland, but also with those hoping the tourney’s obligatory upsets don’t leave their brackets in tatters.

The Quiet WomanThe Quiet Woman – There’s something comforting about ringing in St. Patrick’s Day at a classic neighborhood joint. Few Newport Beach venues deliver such a vibe better than this venerable Corona Del Mar venue, which has been attracting an eclectic hodgepodge of local denizens since they first opened their doors in 1965. Some will come here on St. Patrick’s Day to order up a plate of roasted chicken piccata or split a massive 40-oz. porterhouse before going out for a night of revelry. Others will treat the venue’s buzzing bar as ground zero for late-night holiday fun. A few may even end up doing both. Regardless of your plans, this venue is prepared to accommodate. You’d expect nothing less from a venue that’s been a CDM staple for over 50 years.

Sgt. Pepperoni'sSgt. Pepperoni’s Pizza Store – You want to raise a glass on St. Patrick’s Day. However, you don’t want to engage in the typical affects associated with the festivities, particularly since the day falls on a Saturday. If this describes your anticipated mood on March 17th, consider this charming Back Bay joint as your sanctuary. Let’s state the obvious here: it’s a pizza place, which is rather far removed from the realm of corned beef and boiled cabbage. But eating here on St. Patricks’ Day shouldn’t just be considered as an act of rebellion; each pie delivers excellence, thanks in part to the venue’s insistence on using local ingredients whenever possible. They’re even better when paired with a beer poured from the venue’s constantly rotating taps, but you probably figured that out already.

Woody’s DinerHaving kids does not mean you can’t go out on St. Patrick’s Day. You just need to pick the right spot, one that will provide a satisfying meal and a good time within a fun yet family-friendly environment. If you want to simplify your search, all you need to do is just head to this casual Lido Village venue. Your little ones can enjoy kid-ready delights like chicken breast strips & fries, a quesadilla, or even chocolate chip pancakes since breakfast is served all day. You and your significant other can indulge in grown-up fare like meat loaf stacked with mashed potatoes or the veggie-loaded chicken stir fry – accompanied by a glass of beer, naturally. A good time will be had by all, and you won’t have to explain to your kids why the one guy in the corner is wearing a lampshade on his head.


Written by Rich Manning

Rich Manning has been covering the Orange County food scene for various publications since 2004. An avid lover of food, he revels in the diverse nature and multi-cultural influences of Orange County’s dining scene, and will pretty much try anything at least once. And while his profession has enabled him to humbly enjoy some remarkably exquisite epicurean adventures, he always finds great joy in the simple pleasures that a perfectly cooked hamburger and a dark, creamy stout routinely bring. Rich currently lives in Fountain Valley, CA with his wife, two daughters, and two dogs.

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