And so, on St. Patrick’s Day, when most of us haven’t been depriving ourselves at all, let us celebrate the man by driving out our hunger and sobriety, even if we haven’t been particularly hungry or sober. And we’ll wear some green. I mean, why not?

You could make your devotion known at any old watering hole or restaurant, but why not keep to the spirit of the day and get a wee nip and a belly full of stew at one of Oklahoma City’s dedicated Irish restaurants?

Probably the best known is James E. McNellie’s Public House, or simply McNellie’s, as the brosephs call it. You’ll find this hub nestled in Midtown at 1100 Classen Drive.

With 350-plus beers on the menu, there’s a reason it’s popular with the aforementioned bro-dawgs, and they’re sure to enjoy the big block party it throws annually.

right Irish beers at Sean Cummings' Irish Restaurant & Pub

“We don’t do green beer or green food because there are just too many people to serve,” said McNellie’s General Manager Joe Wolf. “We expect between 3,000 and 4,000 people in here between 10 a.m. and 1 a.m.”

If throngs of partying people dancing to a DJ or enduring bagpipers aren’t your things, McNellie’s is glad to offer up a quieter celebration year-round. The menu has shepherd’s pie and potato-leek soup daily, but the real winner is the Reuben. Wolf said McNellie’s cures its own corned beef in-house.

Plenty of Guinness will be flowing at Sean Cummings’ Irish Restaurant & Pub, 7523 N. May, on St. Patrick’s Day, said owner Sean Cummings. The crowds swell come March 17, and pack a powerful thirst.

“We go from serving about 100 a night to 800 in a full day,” said Cummings. “We’ll probably go through about 15 kegs of Guinness, all told.”

There will be six bands playing throughout the day and plenty of fun to be had, but no green beer here, either, he said.

“My parents are from Ireland,” Cummings said. “We try to keep it pretty traditional.”

And this year they’re starting a new tradition: the St. Paddy’s Race at Lake Hefner. This 8K event starts early — 10:15 a.m., so no pre-partying the night before — with costumes and prizes. More information is online at

Over at Saints, 1715 N.W. 16th in the Plaza District, owner Patrick Ireland said they’ll have a party, but added that “every day is St. Patrick’s Day here.”

“If you want a shepherd’s pie made with the traditional lamb or some of our baked courgettes, you can get them here, whether it’s March or December or any other month,” he said.

One addition for the party will be Wayne “The Flyin’ Fiddler” Cantwell, playing with Ian Bittle, Michelen Cyphers and Bill Swift from 7 to 11 p.m.

So if you’re Irish, or you’ve got a friend who’s Irish, or you just enjoy the fresh, clean scent of Irish Spring, there are plenty of places to go for your corned beef and cabbage and to wear your shamrock-on-the-ass jeans.

Or if it’s all too much for you, wait a week and go back. They’ll still serve you Irish food, Irish beer and Irish whiskey, just with fewer people trying to pinch you.

Photos by Shannon Cornman

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