There are many Irish symbols and traditions we associate with St. Patrick's Day here in Chicago. Music isn't always one of them but it is an important! No holiday or cultural celebration is complete without it, really. In addition to the parades, the Jameson and the sea (or river) of green you'll find all throughout Chicago this Saturday and Tuesday, these spots will offer the traditional sounds of Ireland.
The Abbey Pub has long been known for throwing one of the most authentic St. Pat's parties in the city. This year the celebration returns for two days, both with 12 hours of continuous live music (that's a full day of tunes for the non-mathematically inclined). In addition to a trolley to and from the downtown parade on Saturday, March 14, Irish dancers and bag pipers will take the Abbey's stage along with Celtic bands like Larry Nugent's Holy Hour Band and Fitz & The Celts.
On St. Patrick's Day proper, the party continues with shows from the O'Hare School Of Irish Dance and a performance by The Great Whiskey Project. Interestingly, this writer has always referred to St. Pat's weekend by the same name.
Not surprisingly the Irish American Heritage Center also has two full days of celebration planned this coming Saturday and Tuesday. More than 10,000 Irishmen and women are expected to enjoy they live music, food, dance and crafts. Out of the many options you have for celebrating the holiday in Chicago, this is definitely one of the better family-friendly ones.
Five stages will host singer/songwriters on loan from Ireland, full bands, traditional dancers and other musical acts starting at 1 p.m. and lasting until midnight on Saturday. Tuesday features live music from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., ending with the "world's greatest U2 cover band" Without U2 (a title they gave themselves). We'll see if they live up to (their own) hype. Tickets for Saturday are $12 and Tuesday's tickets are $10.
Division Street is to St. Patrick's Day in Chicago as Bourbon Street is to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Ten of the Gold Coast's most visited bars have teamed up for the ultimate March 17 bar crawl. She-nannigans House of Beer, The Original Mother's, Bootleggers, Mother's Too, The Lodge Tavern, The Hangge-Uppe, Mahoney's Pub & Grille, Pippin's Tavern and River Shannon will all host live Irish pipers and drummers Tuesday evening. Take a break from your green beers and get to She-nannigans from 5-8 p.m. for a performance from local Celtic rockers Kevin Flynn & The Avondale Ramblers whose tribute to Chicago (above) is one of this writer's favorite St. Pat's jams. For more information visit RushAndDivision.com.