Duffy’s Tavern in Paterson is famous for its feast on St. Patrick’s Day – a day when the decades-old Irish pub is inundated with hundreds of revelers from across the state, making it the country.
Two years ago, Duffy’s was forced to close just before their biggest holiday of the year. Bartender Kara Phillips remembers standing in the middle of the empty bar in shock. The bar had closed early and the normally full seats were empty.
“It was weird,” she said, “We never close. Not even in the middle of a snowstorm.
This year not only marks the first St. Patrick’s Day since the pandemic will have no capacity limits or mask mandates, but it marks Duffy’s Tavern’s 40th St. Patrick’s Day.
Like year after year, expect the party to spill out of the tiny pub, past the green Irish walls and buzzing neon sign. The street behind the bar will be closed and covered with tents for revelers. Irish step dancers from the Ridgewood School of Dance will perform. Bagpipe players will play.
Phillips, who has worked for owner Terry Duffy for five years, said there was no such thing as their St. Patrick’s Day party. Customers flock to Paterson from all over the country.
“We have long-time customers who come from Florida,” she said. Old and newcomers alike will devour more than 3,500 pounds of corned beef and cabbage – the most they’ve had every year before.
“We smell like corned beef for days,” Phillips said.
The traditional Irish meal is homemade at the pub. However, the menu is reduced on St. Patrick’s Day. Dishes including fish and chips and split pea soup.
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The drinks of choice will not shock anyone familiar with the holidays. Phillips said they went through many Guinness and Irish car bombs made by dropping a glass of Irish cream and whiskey into a glass of stout.
On Thursday, performances will also run all night. Uncle Floyd will perform at 4 p.m.; group 77 plays at 10 p.m. in the tent; and DJ Brad will spin at 10 p.m. at Shamrock Bar. The party will rage from 9:00 a.m. until around 3:00 a.m. the next morning.
What you won’t find at Duffy’s is green beer. The tavern leaves the artificially dyed brew to other bars – and, according to Phillips, Duffy’s customers don’t seem to miss having green beer.
Duffy’s Tavern is located at 856 River St., Paterson; 973-684-0788, duffystavernnj.com.
Other Places to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
Hearth & Tap Co. will host a full Irish breakfast at 8am. The day continues with pipers and Irish dancers. The whole building, including its wood and stone elements, was constructed using Irish products. 125 N. Kinderkamack Road, Montvale; 201-307-6300, hearthandtap.com.
Shannon’s Rose serves a St. Patrick’s Day menu through March 31. Dishes include Guinness Beef Stew and Scotch Deviled Eggs. At 11 a.m. on March 17, they will be hosting a brunch and a pixie costume contest for the kids. The winner will receive free meals for the children for a year. Irish dancers and pipers will liven up the brunch and later the party will go on all night. Customers will also get $10 off Uber rides with a promo code.
Celtic corner will serve Irish dishes and beer. 312 Lafayette Ave, Hawthorne; 973-949-3767, celticcornernj.com.
Biddy O’Malleys will serve Irish dishes and beer. 191 Paris Avenue, Northvale; 201-564-7893, biddyomalleys.com.
by PJ Finnegan will serve Irish dishes and beer. 274 Fairview Ave, Westwood; 201-664-7576, pjfinnegans.com.
Restaurant Plaza 23 will have live music from the Play it Forward School of Music from noon to 2 p.m. Dine on corned beef and cabbage specialties. 411 Highway 23, Pompton Plains; 973-835-1952, no website.
Rebecca King is a food writer for NorthJersey.com. For more on where to dine and drink, please register today and sign up for our North Jersey Eats newsletter.
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