Going Erin Go Bragh From Balboa Park To Gaslamp Block Party & Irish Bars
Of course there’s a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in a city as fun, carefree and lively as San Diego.
In fact, there are two, a parade on the Saturday prior to St. Paddy’s Day (or, in the case of 2018, ON St. Patrick’s Day because it’s on a Saturday) and a block party in the Gaslamp, plus a lot of lively Irish bars on the actual St. Patrick’s Day, whenever it’s not on a Saturday.
The Gaslamp has some good Irish bars, The Field, Dublin Square and Harry’s Pub among them.
There’s a huge parade that lasts for hours on 5th and 6th Avenues in Balboa Park. It starts at 11 a.m., and tens of thousands of people line up on both sides of the street. The savvy ones arrive well equipped for the event; they bring food and beverages. Red plastic cups are a big part of the scene.
It’s good to have beverages to put into those red cups because the parade itself is really kind of boring. If you didn’t know better you would think it’s a Memorial Day parade because at least half the entrants are police, fire and military. There are a couple of trucks with bands on them and they are in the back of the parade.
There’s plenty of spaces to walk up and see the parade at any time during the event.
In other words, there’s no reason to cut short your Friday night just to be there at the start of the parade.
THE BEER GARDEN
Adjacent to the parade route on 6th Ave., is a massive beer garden.
And when we say massive, we mean massive. It holds a couple of thousand people. Beers are sold for $6 – you buy tickets to get your beers – and has side-by-side stages where bands play righr after each other.
The beer garden is open at 10 a.m., but it’s not until about 12:30-1 that it gets busy. The footprint is so large that it never get shoulder-to-shoulder crowded and there’s never a line to get into it.
It’s great for meeting and mingling, with most of that taking place by the stages. Plenty of room for dancing and a lot of people do it, cutting loose in good Irish St. Paddy’s Day tradition.
Unlike the Gaslamp block party, the beer garden is free.
There are food booths – including one with what has to be the World’s Largest Pizza Slice ($6) – outside the beer garden. Chips, water and sodas are sold in the beer garden for a buck.
24th ANNUAL SHAMROCK GASLAMP BLOCK PARTY
In the Gaslamp on the 17th, they roll out the green carpet (literally) for a block party called ShamROCK.
From 6 p.m.-midnight, there’s stages of music, beer and participating bars.
For 2018, the entertainers are Everlast, Black Irish Texas, Too $hort.
Tickets are $55. VIP tickets are $100 through March 15 and $110 through March 17. On top of that you can purchase a drink ticket package. The Custom Clover Crawl includes three ($15) or six ($30) drink ticketsvalid at 15 bars locations (including inside the shamROCK venue). The bars include Analog Bar, Coyote Ugly Saloon, Ciro’s Pizzaria, East Village Tavern and Bowl, Garage Kitchen + Bar, Greystone Steakhouse, Henry’s Pub, McFadden’s, Social Tap, Tilted Kilt, Tin Roof.
The Lucky Leprechaun VIP Package includes VIP entry, three complimentary drinks inside the venue, four complimentary drinks (one at Casablanca, Coyote Ugly, East Village Tavern and Bowl and Knotty Barrel), $1 off drinks at the Lucky Leprechaun VIP Bar, access to the Exclusive VIP Lounge and VIP comfort restrooms.
Website & Tickets: www.sandiegoshamrock.com
THE GASLAMP ST. PATRICK’S DAY IRISH BARS
It’s a shame the Gaslamp organization charges so much to get into its block party. And that doesn’t even include drinks!
This a massive party with stages of bands and DJs along 6th Ave. And thousands of people go to it. It’s the St. Patrick’s Day version of its Fat Tuesday block party (which is also $45 but does include a parade).
However, $45 is a lot of beer money and the aforementioned Irish bars are fun. You can even throw Hennessey’s into the mix because it has bands, too.
And that’s just equivalent of the foam at the top of your beer. The Gaslamp has dozens of dozens of fun and lively bars of every variety. Just be sure and be in them by 8 p.m.; for some charge covers ($5-10) and that’s when the lines start to form.
Heck, just go straight through from the parade to the beer garden to the Gaslamp. We even stopped Stout Public House (125 6th Ave), what locals refer to as “the hockey bar” for a pint. We would have been well served – literally – to stay in there longer than one beer, too, for it packs in the party potential.
So San Diego does indeed have a great party scene on St. Patrick’s Day weekend!