When the Feast of Saint Patrick comes around each year, everyone pretends to be Irish for one day. That temporary transformation comes in many forms, many of which involve green-tilted fluids and merriment. Fortunately for all, Tacoma is filled with ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, whether you want to take a run or down a beer or catch some live music.

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Rock Costume Contest at The Swiss

The Swiss will have a rock costume contest Friday night that will be capped by the 80s glam-rock tribute band Hairstorm in all its hairsprayed glory. Expect flashbacks from the days when true rockers wore Spandex and jelly bracelets to perform their power ballads. Expect heavy sets of tunes from Skid Row, Van Halen, Def Leppard and White Snake for just $8.  Saturday will round out the weekend with the Pierce County Pipes and Drum Band at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, followed by dance hits courtesy of Dance Factory that will run well into the night.

St. Paddy's Day Run Tacoma
The St. Paddy’s Day Run takes place March 11. Photo courtesy: Tacoma City Marathon Association

St. Patrick’s Day Dash

The annual St. Patrick’s Day dash is set for March 11, so emerald-themed runners can run a 5k, 10k or half marathon along Tacoma’s waterfront without messing up their full-on party plans the following weekend. And there several options on that front, particularly since the day of all-things-green falls on a Saturday this year. That fate of the calendar means many venues will have activities Friday and Saturday.


On the other side of town, O’Malley’s promises all the goods one would expect at an Irish bar on St. Patrick’s Day, making it the destination spot of Sixth Avenue’s bar scene. This year’s lineup includes a mix of Celtic and rock bands and bagpipes o’ plenty to go along with Irish whiskeys and Guinness pints to wash down bangers and mash during the traditional Sixth Avenue tavern tour.

Live Music O'Malley's
Hairstorm is on tap at O’Malley’s. Photo credit: Steve Dunkelberger

Live Music at Jazzbones

Not to be overlooked on the party side of the day, Jazzbones will host the crowd-pleasing cover band Kry followed by DJ Switch.

Party at Doyle’s Public House

Doyle’s Public House will open its doors at 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday and have full slates of music both days in its tented parking lot turned party central. Ockham’s Razor and Rusty Cleavers will headline the roster Friday. Ethan Tucker, Stephanie Anne Johnson and Jordani are set to perform along with Pierce County Firefighter Pipes and Drums and the Gritty City Sirens burlesque troupe on Saturday. Tickets available in advance on Brown Paper Tickets or at the bar for folks interested in avoiding the line at the door. Advance tickets are $10 and cover both days, while tickets are $10 each day at the door. On tap Saturday and Sunday will be a special “Credit Card Retrieval” breakfast followed by Lost and Found Brunch. The lucky people to order the last shot from each bottle of Jameson will be entered into a drawing to win two round trip tickets to Dublin, Ireland. Doyle’s is certainly a solid place for people to visit if they are more interested in hanging around a while rather than doing a pub crawl around town.

Gritty City Sirens
Gritty City Sirens are going to make an appearance at Doyle’s. Photo credit: Steve Dunkelberger

Donations and Beer at Parkway Tavern

In the spirit of giving, the Parkway Tavern is holding its own twist on the holiday with “Ode to St. Pants” Friday that will have brews from Schooner Exact Brewing, Iron Horse Brewing and Bale Breaker Brewing. Each donation of pants bound for the Tacoma Rescue Mission will land a raffle ticket for prizes and swag.

Live Music at The Harmon

The Harmon will have Clan Gordon Pipe Band starting the festivities at 6 p.m. on Saturday, followed by Maddy Dullum. Special on tap will be Jameson oak soaked Black Tartan.

Live Music at Odd Otter Brewing

Odd Otter Brewing will have a no-cover Kim Archer show with green beer and details about its 2017 Pint Club.

Church Services

It should also be noted that church services at the 120-year-old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church are also taking place. Saturday’s Vigil Mass starts at 5:30 a.m., while Sunday’s slate has services at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. just in case any activities at of the above venues call for self-reflection time and maybe some penance.