Chow Down: St. Paddy's Day specials

Begorra, ’tis time again to celebrate the birthday of Ireland’s favorite St. Patrick in Marco Island’s pubs as well as the 20-year anniversary of Rookie’s Bar & Grill and the annual St. Baldrick Foundation fundraiser. Friends, leprechauns and wannabe’s are invited to join in the many festivities taking place over the weekend and make merry with a pint of Guinness, Harp ale or green beer in a favorite Island pub.

Cathy O’Clarke’s Irish Pub & Grill hosts its annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving fundraiser between 5 and 8 p.m. Friday, March 16 in the pub’s parking lot. Cathy’s husband Mel Slawick will submit to having his head shaved in public to fund research for kids with cancer.

“We have 400 people, including youngsters registered who have solicited donations from friends and family by promising to have their heads shaved by Marco Island barber Russ Azzolina. We’re doing it different this year, putting a stage outside and having a regular DJ and Robbie Doherty perform to encourage people to participate and make a donation,” said Slawick.

Cathy O’Clarke’s will open at 11 a.m. and will close when the leprechauns go home on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, said Slawick.

The St. Patrick’s Day entertainment lineup on the outdoor stage includes Robbie Doherty, Irish sax player Michael Brennan and the Irish Dancers to name but a few of the stellar entertainers performing both days. The St. Patrick’s Special Party show starts at 6:15 p.m. in the Pelican Pub Room and tickets, priced at $45, includes a prix fixe three-course dinner of soup, entrée and dessert, and the show entertainment package. Call (23) 642-9709 for reservations or information.

O‘Donoghue’s Bar and Grill is tucked into a corner of Royal Palm Mall, 969 N. Collier Blvd. Owners Helen and Peter Donaghy and bar manager son Gavin will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with an open house 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. with music all day including Tommy Goodwin and Sharon, Peter Donaghy and Friends and Inish. O’Donoghue’s menu will be available all day, featuring authentic Irish menu specialties including corned beef and cabbage and shepherd’s pie along with Irish beers, such as Guinness and Harp, to wash it all down.

For reservations or information please call 239-389-0032.

Rookie’s Pub & Grill owners Bruce and Laura Bell and Sean Shea are going all out St. Patrick’s Day weekend to celebrate the pub’s 20 year anniversary with a big two-day long block party in the Marco Walk courtyard.

“Every year we mark the day of our opening with a one-day blowout, but this year we’re extending it to two days, Friday, March 16 and St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, the actual date we opened Rookie’s in what was then Mission Plaza,” said Laura Bell.

Rookie’s will be open 11 a.m. Friday, serving lunch and dinner including traditional Irish foods along with corned beef and dinners from the 200 to 250 pounds of corned beef brisket ordered and on hand for the party, said Laura. It suffices to say there will also be equal amounts of cabbage and potatoes as well as kegs of Bud on tap, Irish beers and of course, the green beer too. Friday’s entertainment commences at 6 p.m. with the Donald James band.

Rookie’s will be serving the corned beef dinners and the regular menu starting 11 a.m. until midnight St. Patrick’s Day. The entertainment lineup Saturday includes Jeff Hilt performing 4 to 6 p.m. inside Rookie’s, with Blind Lightning playing in the courtyard 4 to 7 p.m., followed by Mambo Brothers from 7 to 11 p.m., said Laura.

“We will be having drink specials along with green beer and corned beef and cabbage dinners both days and just the normal things including appetizers, salads, entrees, homemade soups and seafood’s from our regular reasonably priced menu.”

Rookie’s is open 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and noon until midnight Sunday. Daily happy hour 4 to 6 p.m. For information or reservations call (239) 394-6400.

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