For the second straight year, Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade will not happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, fewer people will be gathering in South Boston’s bars and restaurants than would be typical during a pre-pandemic St. Patrick’s Day.
That said, those bars and restaurants are still open — indeed, bars and restaurants across the Commonwealth are open without percentage-based capacity caps despite the fact that restaurant workers still aren’t eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine — and the city’s licensing board recently made a point to stress the importance of the city and state’s COVID-19 guidelines to liquor license holders in South Boston.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh went a step further, suggesting in press briefings and on Twitter that Bostonians only celebrate the holiday in person with the people they live with, or virtually (via Zoom, FaceTime, etc.). COVID-19 data in Massachusetts is trending in the right direction, and the vaccine rollout is underway (though the state continues to vaccinate communities of color at disproportionately lower rates despite claiming that equity is among its chief objectives) — but there’s a reason the parade was cancelled in the first place, and a reason that the nation’s top public health experts believe Gov. Charlie Baker’s hasty reopening was ill-advised.
Even if the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, there are still very real risks associated with dining out, the brunt of which are shouldered by restaurant workers. As such, St. Patrick’s Day 2021 won’t — and shouldn’t — be like St. Patrick’s Day 2019 (or 2018, or 2017, or 1993, or...), but one does not have to get shitfaced on West Broadway by noon to enjoy the holiday. Here’s a list (admittedly not exhaustive) of bars and restaurants in Greater Boston offering Irish grub, and beer, for takeout and/or delivery on the holiday.
For the main course: corned beef and cabbage
The Burren in Davis Square is one of the very best Irish pubs in Greater Boston, if not the country. Ordinarily, this would be the premier spot across the river to gather with friends for traditional Irish music, too many pints of Guinness, bangers and mash, and a helping of corned beef and cabbage. Instead, order the corned beef and cabbage for takeout or delivery, and grab some Guinness draught cans at your local package store.
The Black Rose is also doing corned beef and cabbage for takeout on St. Patrick’s Day. The classic Faneuil Hall pub’s holiday menu also includes bangers and mash, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and a four-pack of Guinness cans that comes with custom Black Rose pint glasses.
Watertown’s favorite spot for rotisserie chicken and craft beer, Branch Line, is offering a St. Patrick’s Day menu that includes corned beef and cabbage (served with whole grain mustard sauce, root vegetables, Brussels sprouts with bacon, and Irish soda bread with whipped black pepper Irish butter; $80) or stout-braised lamb shank (served with mint chutney, colcannon, cauliflower cheese, and Irish soda bread with whipped black pepper Irish butter; $86). Both can be paired with beer and wine — go with the Death of Venus stout from Connecticut-based Relic Brewing, which is beloved by the insufferable beer nerds. Orders must be placed by March 15.
For something Irish, but decidedly not corned beef and cabbage because hey, it’s not everyone’s favorite
For Irish-style curry (in this case, sautéed peppers, onions, and tomatoes in a creamy curry sauce served over rice or french fries), bangers and mash, fish and chips, or shepherd’s pie, one could do worse than Mr. Dooley’s down by the waterfront, which is available for takeout and delivery.
And the Irish chicken curry at Olde Magoun’s Saloon in Somerville’s Magoun Square is worth your coins too, as is its Guinness beef stew. Both are available for takeout.
• 2021 Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade Canceled Due to COVID-19 [BOS]
• Capacity Caps Will Be Removed for Massachusetts Restaurants on March 1 [EBOS]
• Dining Rooms Shouldn’t Reopen Until Restaurant Workers Are Eligible for the Vaccine [EBOS]
• City Officials Remind Southie Restaurants and Bars to Follow COVID-19 Safety Measures for St. Patrick’s Day [BOS]
• What Are Massachusetts’s COVID-19 Rules for Restaurants and Bars Right Now? [EBOS]
• There Are Now 14 Massachusetts Cities and Towns at High Risk for COVID Spread [ML]
• Vaccination Rates Lag for Latino Residents [BG]
• CDC Chief Doubles Down On Warning As Mass. Opens Up [WBUR]
• The New Risks of Dining Out [E]