7 best Irish pubs in Orange County for St. Patrick’s Day

Original article posted on The Orange County Register and written by PAUL HODGINS | pauldavidhodgins@gmail.com |PUBLISHED: March 16, 2017 at 7:00 am | UPDATED: April 4, 2017 at 9:07 am

Branagan’s Irish Pub

One of downtown Fullerton’s friendliest pubs is serving a green pancake and Lucky Charms breakfast Friday, from its 6 a.m. opening until 10 a.m., and a limited menu after that: corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and fish and chips. You can wash down all that goodness with one of 29 beers on tap. A Catholic priest will give a blessing at some point, though his arrival time hasn’t been determined yet. In the afternoon, the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Pipes & Drums Band will bust in and play. Closes at 2 a.m. 213 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton; 714-447-3544, branagans.com

Dublin 4 Gastropub

Owners Jean and Darren Coyle are celebrating their restaurant/bar’s fourth anniversary on St. Patrick’s Day. (It’s a family business: Ali, their daughter, is a sommelier next door at WineWorks for Everyone, a sister restaurant, and son Drew is the mixologist at Dublin 4.) There’ll be three beers on draft: Guinness, Harp and Smithwick’s. The featured dishes of the day will be corned beef (cured in-house) and a short-rib Guinness stew. Music will include bagpiper Colin Armstrong and Chase Boyle playing traditional music. The full regular menu is available. 11:00 a.m.-midnight. 26342 Oso Parkway, Suite 102, Mission Viejo; 949-582-0026, dublin4gastropub.com

The Harp Inn

This O.C. institution has always attracted first-rate musicians, but they pull out the stops on March 17. “We’ll have two great bands that day,” said owner John Lyons. Cillian’s Bridge plays noon-4 p.m., then Swagger performs 5 p.m. until closing at 2 a.m. Irish breakfast, served until 11 a.m., includes many products imported from the old country, including sausage, bacon and black-and-white pudding (“You don’t want to know what’s in it,” the bartender once warned me), as well as eggs, potatoes, beans and toast. Another menu is available all day: bangers and mash, fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, corned beef sandwiches. There’ll be green beer, “although we hate to do that to a perfectly good beer,” Lyons said. For more serious quaffers: Guinness, Harp, Smithwicks and Angry Orchard Cider. For the snobs, there’s Sculpin IPA on tap. 130 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa; 949-646-8855, harpinn.com

Macallans Public House

A full day of festivities at this classy, cozy Brea restaurant includes performances by bands, a strolling bagpiper and Irish-inspired food and spirits. The special dining menu will highlight traditional Irish favorites with a Macallans twist. Featured entrees include corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips, bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie, pub pretzels and the Macallans burger. Beverage specials include 22 Irish whiskeys, Macallans’ signature Irish coffee, and four Irish beers on tap. Four specialty craft cocktails. Macallans will extend the party to Sky Lounge, an open-air venue adjacent to the restaurant. Three bands will perform. A DJ will also spin tunes. Access to the upstairs area, bands and DJ is $25 (includes unlimited Irish buffet and choice of specialty cocktail or beer). Hours: restaurant 10 a.m.-1 a.m., Sky Lounge noon-1 a.m. 330 W. Birch St., Brea; 714-529-1224, macallanspubbrea.com

Muldoon’s Irish Pub

At this snug and comfortable spot below street level near Fashion Island, you’ll always feel like you’re on the other side of the Atlantic. The food can be a bit pricier than in most Irish pubs, but the soda bread alone is worth the trek. Doors open at 9 a.m. and the party doesn’t end until 1 a.m. Breakfast will be served until 11 a.m. The regular menu (served all day) includes Irish stew, fish and chips, house-made corned beef and cabbage, St. Paddy burger, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and Irish soda bread. Two bands will play: Van Dieman’s Band from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and the Droppers from 5 until closing. No cover. 202 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949-640-4110, muldoonspub.com

O’Malley’s on Main

This downtown Seal Beach favorite will open at 7 a.m. for breakfast; lunch, dinner and general celebrating will commence at 11 a.m. and run until 1 a.m. Limited menus are in play for the day, co-owner David Copley said. He’s proud of his bar’s whiskey collection and promises his bartenders know how to pour “the perfect pint of Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s and Kilkenny.” No cover. 140 Main St., Seal Beach; 562-430-0631, omalleyssealbeach.com

The Shamrock Bar & Grill

“Falling on a Friday and all, it’ll be a madhouse this year,” said Christina Duncan, who has owned this popular Newport pub with her husband, Frank, for 25 years. Along with Irish breakfast, the specials will be a Reuben sandwich, corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips and Guinness Irish stew. They’ll pour old country beers (Guinness, Harp and Smithwick’s), Magners Irish Cider and Irish coffee. Hours are 8 a.m.-2 a.m., “but the food will finish when we can’t walk around anymore,” Christina said. Jim Rice and crew perform Irish music starting at 3 p.m., then Brian McGilly, more of a rocker, gets going around 9. 2633 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach; 949-631-5633. The Shamrock on Facebook

140 Main St, Seal Beach, CA 90740