St. Patrick’s Day is a serious holiday in Pittsburgh. The large Irish constituency (and many other ethnicities for that matter) prepare for this special day months in advance. Green beer needs to be made (just a little food coloring), parade routes need to be mapped out, and large quantities of corned beef and cabbage need to get cooked. If you live in Regent Square, you will begin to see green-clad pedestrians milling about waiting for the bars to open so that they can begin celebrating (that’s not a flask I see at 10am is it?!). They start to form small groups… complete strangers wearing green scarves, colorful hats and shamrock beads. Do they all know each other? Probably not, but during this particular holiday it doesn’t matter; they’re all brothers and sisters.
Laughter can be heard on the streets in the early afternoon, and smiles can be seen everywhere; it is a celebration after all.
So, why do the flocks amass in this particular area of the city? The Irish bars. In one block, and on one side of the street, a green face-painted goblin can hop from bar to bar without having to get in a car. Start with Dunning’s, head down to Murphy’s Tap Room, The Map Room, and end up at D’z and The Loft. That’s five drinking establishments within a few hundred feet… an ideal setting for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
There’s one bar in particular that enjoys the steadiest, and most loyal patronage from the time it opens its doors on St. Patrick’s Day- Murphy’s Tap Room. A truly authentic Irish bar, Murprhy’s serves pints of Guinness (poured the right way), and a wide selection of Irish whiskey. There’s also tasty grub cooking so that you don’t have to tilt our first beer on an empty stomach. Karen, one of the long-time bartenders will be making her almost famous ham and cabbage for $2.00 a bowl.
Jay, the manager at Murphy’s Tap Room has been working during the busy St. Patrick’s Day holiday for several years.
“We have to significantly increase our liquor order”, says Jay, “much of our sales can be attributed to Guinness draft, and people also enjoy a shot of Jameson’s.”
“After the parade and on St. Patrick’s day, we get a crowd of friendly people that are here to have a good time, and very rarely cause trouble… they’re a happy bunch.”
Murphy’s will also be having live music on the afternoon of the parade as well as on St. Patrick’s Day.
The Soblowskis will be performing on Saturday, and The Moon River Ramblers will play at 4pm on St. Patrick’s Day.
Kathy Cauley, owner and proprietor, encourage people to come have a good time.
“Don’t expect green beer, we don’t serve it here.”
When I asked her why, she explained, “Is there green beer in Ireland? No.”
Murphy’s will be playing Irish music on the jukebox in between the live performances.
The back bar will be open at 4pm so thirsty patrons won’t have to wait long for a drink.
Melissa Cronin, a local, frequents Murphy’s because of the friendly people and reasonable drink prices.
“When you don’t have a lot of extra money, you can afford to have a few drinks here,” she says. “I’m really looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day at Murphy’s.”
Murphy’s Tap Room will be open parade day- Saturday the 12th of March at noon, and on St. Patrick’s Day, the 17th at 11:00am. If you plan on going during the evening hours, expect the bar to be extremely crowded and festive. If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience Murphy’s Tap Room during St. Patrick’s Day, it’s time to go; the combination of authentic Irish music, Guinness, and friendly people will surely make for a memorable experience.
Chef Chuck Kerber