Events Emily Svec, 25, and, Billy Porter, 23, at Gas Lamp for last year's St. Patrick's Day.

Emily Svec, 25, and, Billy Porter, 23, at Gas Lamp for last year's St. Patrick's Day.

2014 St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and parties

Published on March 11th, 2014 | by Mackensie Smith

You may need a wee bit o’ luck to make it through the full-fledged great green lineup of events across Des Moines this St. Patrick’s Day. This holiday is all about picking your favorite stops throughout the city. It’s a create-your-own-adventure swathed in shamrock shades and beads.

If you like, your merriment may begin this weekend, before the official holiday.


Before you head out on your route, impress your friends with a bit of knowledge about the holiday. Saint Patrick was a big deal. In fact, he was the patron saint of ol’ Ireland. March 17 started as a feast day for his greatness; it evolved into a cultural celebration of everything Irish.


If you call in sick for work to start the festivities early … we claim no responsibility. Have fun. Be safe. Don’t drive drunk. Wear green. Be nice. Avoid getting any leprechaun tattoos without considerable thought.

Weekend warriors

The Leprechaun Chase 10K

Before you head out to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day weekend, get your workout in for the day with a fun game reminiscent of childhood boys-chase-girls tag. The women get a 51/2-minute head start before the guys’ “chaser wave” launches. The themed Leprechaun Chase is complete with a path lined by kilted bagpipe players, a green beer after-party at el Bait Shop with an awards ceremony for age group winners and the best-dressed. Need extra incentive to get your arse in gear? If a woman wins the race, all women get a free drink at the party. Same goes for the men. See 39 photos from last year.

When: Starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, and the after-party will last all day

Where: The race starts and ends at Principal Park, 1 Line Drive

Cost: $40. You must register before Friday. Part of the proceeds benefit the Animal Rescue League of Iowa

Info: 515-280-3778;

St. Pabst Day Party

This two-day event pays tribute to a saint of canned beers. Bands will rock the Western Gateway. If you dig PBR, or just appreciate a deal, pay an extra $10 at the entrance for unlimited Pabst.

On Saturday catch The Wheelers, Andy D, Golden Street Choir Boys, DJ Richie Daggers, Ira Grace, The Jitz, Cover Girls, Reina Del Cid.

On Monday: Molly Gene One Whoaman Band, Dustin Smith & The Sunday Silos, Monday Mourners, JD Outlaw, DJ Richie Daggers, Electric Jury, Modern Era.

When: 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday

Where: Gas Lamp, 1501 Grand Ave.

Cost: $10 entry. Pay $20 for all-you-can-drink Pabst.

Info: 515-280-3778;

Pre-Paddy’s Pub Crawl

If VIP party buses are your thing, this pre-Paddy’s Day crawl is right up your Irish alley. The night begins at Mickey’s Irish Pub Clive for green beer and pizza before embarking on a magical journey across the Midwest land to Mickey Finn’s, Sully’s, Murphy’s Bar and Grill and ending the night at Mickey’s Irish Pub Downtown before busing back to where the long night of $2 Miller Lite and Coors Light draws began. Don’t forget, BYOC (bring your own cooler) for the bus. See photos from 2011 and 2009.

When: Saturday. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m., the crawl ends at 12:30 a.m.

Where: Mickey’s Irish Pub Clive, 1800 N.W. 86th St., Clive

Cost: $30 day of crawl

Info: 515-252-0248;

Get out of town

Holiday at Hotel Pattee

Looking to escape downtown before hitting it hard on Monday? Just about 40 minutes outside Des Moines is the classy, historic Hotel Pattee. Rent a room and don’t worry about driving home. Get a wee rowdy after a traditional menu including colcannon, Irish lamb stew, grilled sausage with onion and fennel, and brown soda bread. The Heath Alan Band will wind up the night at 7:30 p.m.

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Hotel Pattee, 1112 Willis Ave., Perry

Cost: $40 per person or $75 per couple

Info: 515-465-3511;

Follow the floats downtown

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

There’s no better way to start the day’s spirits than with a lively parade of Irish-inspired floats dancing and drumming their way through downtown Des Moines. Irish clans, families and themes will be represented in the annual event.

When: Noon Monday

Where: The parade route heads north on 15th Street from Martin Luther King Parkway to Grand Avenue. It turns east on Grand to Eighth Street, where the parade will continue south.

Cost: Free


Start the party

Friendly Sons Reception

The same Irish community that begins the day with the parade doesn’t let the party stop at the end of the route. Lads, lasses and Irish enthusiasts are invited to a reception featuring the song stylings of the band Kelly’s Clan and a Foy School of Irish Dance performance. Enter the lucky draw raffle for the chance to win the grand prize of a trip to the Emerald Isle.

When: 1-4 p.m. Monday

Where: Des Moines Marriott Downtown, 700 Grand Ave.

Cost: $10 to enter the lucky draw raffle (money goes to charity, prizes hopefully go to you)


Rock out on Court Avenue

Three-Day St. Paddy’s Day Block Party

Mickey’s Irish Pub Downtown took the Monday holiday as a cue to start the party on Saturday at 10 a.m. with a kickoff of DJs, live music and green beer. Sunday Funday is all about amusement with life-size Jenga, beer games and an awesome-sounding “pin the tail on Tim the Leprechaun.”

If you want one of the earliest starts out in the city, bundle up for Mickey’s patio at 6 a.m. on Monday for breakfast and grass-colored beer. Dance on into the street under the world’s biggest Irish flag for music from Lesson 7, It’s Complicated, Decoy, and Pop Rocks. Also, play witness to the first annual St. Patrick’s Day hot dog eating contest. (Please don’t regurgitate the green beer after watching lots of meat slide down the gullet.)

When: Saturday through Monday

Where: Mickey’s Irish Pub Downtown, 206 Third St.

Cost $10-$15, depending on whether you want to party one day, or be double trouble

Info: 515-288-8323;

Breaking down the bars

Grab your best pals, drape them in green beads and jig to these best bars for drink specials, entertainment and filling food. Pick your neighborhood bar below and don’t forget a designated driver.

Rise to the Occasion at Royal Mile

The UK-style Full Court Press-operated pub serves up Irish spirits every day and St. Patrick’s Day means a weekend-long celebration. Hit the bar over the weekend from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a first taste of its new breakfast menu featuring potato cake benedict, biscuits and gravy, Scotch egg and Irish steel-cut porridge with mixed berries. Pair with a Madame Mary bloody mary, made in Templeton, Ia., and you have a meal to warm your ribs.

On Monday, devour corned beef and cabbage while bagpipes play in the background (beginning at 1 p.m.). As Royal Mile manager Rob Jackson put it, “We’re just going to be ourselves on St. Patrick’s Day. Come, have a good time and be happy.”

When: Saturday through Monday

Where: Royal Mile, 210 Fourth St.

Cost: Free, unless you want beer or food.

Info: 515-280-3771;

St. Patrick’s Celebration at Whiskey Dixx

Free music and a dangerous number of drink specials (with no cover) highlight the party at Whiskey Dixx. Green souvenir mugs of beer will be handed out next to Jell-O shots, while tunes from Ryan O’Rien (11 a.m.-1 p.m.), the Snacks (2-5 p.m.) and Celtic band, The Bravewell Fellows (6-9 p.m.) tumble out of the underground bar onto the street.

When: Monday

Where: Whiskey Dixx, 215 Fourth St.

Cost: No cover.

Info: 515-288-3880

Doing St. Paddy’s Day at Down Under Bar & Grill

The Clive neighborhood bar keeps it cool on St. Patrick’s Day with free Irish stew while you throw back $1 shots, green beer and Jell-O shots. Sleep in. Roll in when you want.

When: 2:30 p.m. Monday

Where: Down Under Bar & Grill, 8350 Hickman Road, Clive

Cost: No cover.

Info: 515-278-6718;

An early start at Mickey’s in Clive

Mickey’s Irish Pub in Clive will host its annual tent party on Monday starting at 6 a.m. Pie in the Sky headlines a live music lineup that also includes DJ Prime, DJ Metro and Bruce Day. There will be corned beef and cabbage, as well as an early happy hour starting at 11 a.m.

When: Starting 6 a.m. Monday

Where: Mickey’s Irish Pub, 1800 NW 86th St., Clive

Cost: $5 after 3 p.m.

Info:, or the Facebook event page.

ALTimate St. Paddy’s Day Bash

Radio station, ALT 1063 is hosting a heated tent party (perfect for the never-ending winter) beginning at 6 a.m. with green eggs and ham. The Friendly Sons will pop over at 7 a.m. for an official Irish flag raising followed by bagpipers welcoming happy hour at 3 p.m.

Food will be fresh from the Hy-Vee grill, Red Bull is hosting a bar. Guinness, Smithwicks and Owney’s Irish Red Ale are on the drink menu.

When: 6 a.m.-close Monday

Where: Sully’s Irish Pub, 110 Grand Ave., West Des Moines

Cost: No cover and the first 500 in the tent get a free koozie.

Phone: 515-255-9970;

Love life at Limey’s Pub and Grub

This chill English pub will bring the neighborhood together in West Des Moines on St. Patty’s day for a breakfast buffet. The all-day party will be rocking with Guinness and green beer, only to be joyously interrupted by bagpipers at 6 p.m.

When: Beginning 8 a.m. Monday

Where: Limey’s Pub and Grub, 1970 Grand Ave., No. 29, West Des Moines

Cost: Whatever you decide to purchase for your palette!

Info: 515-222-0476

St. Patrick’s celebration at Mickey’s Irish Pub Waukee

Mickey’s Irish Pubs have specials all over the metro this time of year, but you’ll want to stop by the Waukee bar for four full days of Irish-infused events. Each day you participate in the party you receive a gold token, good for a free drink on St. Patrick’s Day.

Lucky Friday: Karaoke enthusiasts unite: Each singer will pick a prize out of a (mysterious sounding) pot of gold. Grab a $3 drink special of Smithwick’s, Bushmills Irish Whiskey and Harp before hitting the photo booth with props.

Shamrock Saturday: Get to the bar by noon for a green beer tapping and be back for the Cellar Dwellers Band (9 p.m.-1 a.m.) whilst ordering $4 drink specials of Irish car bombs, pints of Guinness and Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey.

Sunday Funday: The night bar turns into a morning family restaurant with a breakfast buffet (9 a.m.-1p.m.) and Irish craft making for the kids. Sticking around post-brunch? All bar beverages will be $1 off.

When the big holiday finally rolls around, find a heated patio and music from Brad Seidenfeld (3-6 p.m.) and Abby Normal (7-11 p.m.). Dine early for breakfast at 7 a.m., then stay for bagpipe and drum music at 10:30 a.m. Don’t forget the braised corned beef!

When: Friday through Monday

Where: Mickey’s Irish Pub, 50 S.E. Laurel St., Waukee

Cost: No cover.

Info: 515-987-9604;

Come together at Bennigan’s

The festive franchise claims “We’re all a little Irish on St. Patty’s Day!” Live music from No Glory (5:30-8 p.m.) and Standing Hampton (9 p.m.-midnight) will entertain patrons. There will also be a Miller Lite Girl meet-n-greet between band sets and plenty of time to purchase drink specials like $4 aluminum pints of Miller Lite and Coors Light.

When: 5 p.m.-midnight Saturday

Where: Bennigan’s, 4800 Merle Hay Road

Cost: No cover.

Info: 515-276-7777

Run it Off

St. Patrick’s 10K and Dr. Mike Kent 5K run/walk

St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t end on the 17th. Keep the spirit alive (and your body in shape) until the St. Patrick’s 10K and Dr. Mike Kent 5K run/walk at the end of March. The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Central Iowa organized the annual run to raise $500 scholarships for two graduating Des Moines metro high school cross country or track athletes. The weather will hopefully be warmer by then, so this is prime time to break out those obnoxious green running shorts.

When: 11 a.m. March 30

Where: Just west of Sully’s Irish Pub, 110 Grand Ave., West Des Moines

Cost: $25 if you register on or before March 23; $30 March 24 through race day.



About the Author

Mackensie is a contributor to Juice.

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