Growing up, my mom went all out for St. Patrick's Day. Though we didn't spend our day drinking at an Irish pub, she made sure there was no lack of leprechauns and four leaf clovers every time March 17th rolled around.
In the morning before school, she would make us cereal with green milk, claiming "the leprechauns dyed it green," and she made corned beef and cabbage for dinner, despite the fact that my father, the Irish one, ironically despises it. So it's safe to say that I take St. Patrick's Day pretty seriously.
Now that I'm older, my celebration methods are a bit, well, rowdier. With St. Patrick's Day fast approaching, what better way to spend it than at your local Irish pub? Whether you're trying to turn up for the Irish or just want a traditional Irish meal, here are the best places to celebrate the big day on 17 college campuses.
1. The Irish Lion: Indiana University
More of a restaurant than pub, The Irish Lion serves up traditional Irish fare that will make you forget you're in the middle of Indiana. They're famous for their Blarney Puffballs, which are basically fried potato and cheese balls. Sounds like the perfect thing to eat after a long day of celebrating good old St. Patrick.
2. Caffrey's: Marquette University
From what I can tell, Caffrey's is the place to go when you're trying to get drunk AF in Milwaukee. Tuesday is "Ain't Patrick's Day" with $2 Jameson shots, $3 Irish beers, and $4 car bombs. Thursday is Mug Night, where you can buy a 14 oz. mug for $3, and fill it with $2 beers or rails all night long. If that wasn't enough, you can also ride the rail on Saturdays and Sundays.
3. Dublin Square: Michigan State University
How you know Dublin is legit: the giant, hand-carved mahogany bar was actually made in Dublin, Ireland, and then shipped and reconstructed in East Lansing. Students flock here every week for Half-Off Wednesdays (literally everything is 50% off), and rumor has it that they start lining up at 5 am on St. Patrick's Day. True commitment.
4. Local Whiskey: Penn State University
With over 200 different whiskeys to choose from, Local Whiskey is the place to be if you're trying to drink like a true Irishman. On Wednesdays, all whiskey is 20% off, and on Thursdays, Old Fashioneds are just $6. Cheep and Irish, does it get much better?
5. Tommy Nevin's: Northwestern University
Northwestern students head to this Irish pub every week for "Nevin's Thursdays." With the abundance of pool tables and dartboards, the atmosphere is different from most popular college bars these days. They even have live Celtic music sometimes if you're trying to get your jig on.
6. O'Bryan's Nine Irish Brothers: Purdue University
The shepherd's pie from Nine Irish is actually on the list of things to eat before you graduate from Purdue, so what better time to try it than St. Patrick's Day, the one day a year where everyone is Irish. Be sure to ask for the story behind the name, you won't be disappointed.
7. McGurk's: St. Louis University
Recently ranked as one of the 21 best Irish pubs in America, McGurk's doesn't mess around when it comes to St. Patrick's Day. They have live music from open to close, and it's such a good time that people actually come from Ireland just to play here. If it's good enough for the Irish, how can it not be good for you?
8. Finnigan's Wake: Wake Forest University
Finnegan's Wake has all your must-have Irish fare—Guinness stew, corned beef, and cabbage—as well as some more creative spins on the classics, such as shepherd's pie nachos (whoa) and Guinness fried veggies. The Guinness will be flowing and the U2 will be blasting, so it's sure to be the most lit party in Winston-Salem.
9. O'Brien's: University of Southern California
If you like to kick off your St. Patty's celebrations early, O'Brien's is for you. They open up bright and early at 6 am every year, and the green beer flows all day and night long. They also serve Irish favorites like bangers and mash and fish and chips to keep partiers fueled.
10. Murphy's Pub: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Murphy's is one of the more chill bars in Champaign. It's not the place to go if you're trying to have a wild night out (looking at you, Red Lion), but it's a good time nonetheless. Don't underestimate U of I's St. Patrick's Day celebration though—their "Unofficial" St. Patrick's Day is legendary in the Midwest.
11. Looney's Pub: University of Maryland
Looney's is one of the most popular bars in College Park, and for good reason: extended happy hour on Fridays, their famous Orange Crush Buckets. Oh, and they sell Jell-O shots. They also make fire crab dip, because this is Maryland after all.
12. Fado Irish Pub: University of Miami
Fado is the place to be in Miami for St. Patrick's Day. Last year's celebration included Guinness pint glass engravings, Irish trivia, and an all-day party that started at 10 am with bottomless drink specials. If that's any indication of what this year's celebration will be like, Miami students should make a point of stopping by on the big day.
13. O'Rourke's Public House: University of Notre Dame
Whether you love or hate Notre Dame (there's no in-between), you've got to admit that they pretty much win St. Patrick's Day by default since their mascot is literally a leprechaun. With trivia on Monday nights and karaoke on Tuesdays, O'Rourke's helps these Irishmen get lit all year round.
14. The Pint Pot: University of Oregon
Upon entering The Pint Pot, you will immediately be transported across the pond by the Irish memorabilia on the walls and the TV's exclusively showing soccer games—sorry, football. Be sure to try their soda bread and their famous Guinness pie, a twist on the traditional shepherd's pie. For St. Patrick's Day, they pull out all the stops with a day-long block party, complete with live bagpipes.
15. Trinity Irish Pub: University of Virginia
Trin, as UVA students call it, holds a special place in my heart, as it's where I've spent a majority of my nights (and days, if we're being real) out during my four years of college. With its infamous spinach artichoke dip, $3 burger Thursdays, Stein Sundays, and three different floors with increasing levels of ratchetness, there's never not a reason to go to Trin.
16. Ri Ra Irish Pub: University of Vermont
Serving up some of the best burgers in Burlington, Ri Ra is the place to hit up for some St. Patrick's Day fuel. Pair that with any of their Irish beers on tap and some live traditional Irish music, and you've got a St. Patrick's Day well spent.
17. Mondays: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Mondays is known for their suspiciously strong drinks. If that scares you, show up on Tuesday nights for their $9 bottle of rosé deal—yes, that's a thing. It's definitely not the place to go if you're just looking for a casual night out, which makes it the perfect St. Patty's Day (or night) destination.
So there you have it, kids. If your school made the list, make sure to stop by your town's respective Irish pub on St. Patrick's Day if you want to celebrate right. May your day be filled with Guinness, Jameson, maybe a car bomb or two, and all things green. Sláinte!