Your Ultimate Guide to Murphy’s St. Patrick’s Day Block Party in Chinatown
Bust out your green apparel for the biggest St. Patrick’s Day party in town.
Photos: David Croxford
Celebrate all things St. Patrick’s Day as Murphy’s Bar & Grill turns Chinatown green with partygoers on Friday, March 17. Here’s our ultimate guide to the “grandest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the Pacific.”
What’s Going On
The annual Murphy’s Bar & Grill St. Patrick’s Day block party brings 15,000 to 20,000 people to Honolulu’s “Irish Corner” between Merchant Street and Nu‘uanu Avenue every March 17.
Murphy’s opens at 11 a.m. for lunch in the restaurant and across the street in the parking lot, where booths will be set up to sell food, beverages, T-shirts and other souvenirs.
Keiki are invited to join in on the St. Patrick’s Day festivities from noon until 4 p.m. The keiki fair is a hit for the kids, with booths for cotton candy, popcorn, face painting, crafts, storytelling, balloons and more. Kids can also enter to win a quilt handcrafted by Marion Murphy. After 6 p.m., children are allowed but it’s not recommended because of the large crowd.
Nu‘uanu Avenue and Merchant Street will be blocked off at 5 p.m. to kick off the party at 6 p.m. with more booths, DJ stages, dancing and live music from Celtic rock ’n’ roll bands Doolin Rakes and Elephant.
Throw on your green tops, pants, skirts, tanks, tutus, etc. and keep an eye out for the craziest outfits roaming around Chinatown! Most partygoers wear green to celebrate the holiday, which originated in Ireland, “The Emerald Isle.” Legend has it that wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day makes you invisible to leprechauns, who won’t pinch you if they can’t see you. Leprechauns or not, the streets of Chinatown will be greener than ever.
Foods to Try
You’ll need a four-leaf clover and lots of luck to help you decide what to eat. Murphy’s Bar & Grill is offering a menu that includes fresh corned beef and cabbage, steamed clams, sweet chili salmon, fresh shucked oysters, lamb shank, grilled steak sandwich, fish and chips, shrimp scampi, and more. Each plate is between $8 and $15.
Save room for dessert, including key lime pie, Marion Murphy’s legendary Irish whiskey cake and bread pudding with Irish whiskey sauce.
The 30th annual block party is more than just a time to celebrate; it’s an opportunity to support local nonprofit organizations. A portion of the proceeds will support the Hawai‘i Children’s Cancer Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, Hospice Hawai‘i and the Hawai‘i Foodbank. Over 30 years of St. Patrick’s Day block parties, Murphy’s Bar & Grill has donated more than $100,000 to local charities.
Go with the classic fresh corned beef, and $2 for each pound sold will be donated to the Hawai‘i Children’s Cancer Foundation. Owner Don Murphy expects to sell 2,500 pounds throughout the week and says the $5,000 will help the charity continue to provide services for pediatric cancer patients and their families.
Murphy’s Oyster Bar will also donate 30 cents from each oyster sale to local nonprofits, including Ronald McDonald House, Hospice Hawai‘i and the Hawai‘i Foodbank. At last year’s block party, 6,000 oysters sold out in three-and-a-half hours.
Continuing the Tradition
Start the celebration early at lunch with the ladies! Each year, the first 100 women who dine at Murphy’s Bar & Grill for lunch on March 17 receive a free flower lei. This 30th year brings the total number of lei given out to 3,000.
Where to Park
Keep in mind that Smith and Merchant streets will be blocked off and the open-air parking lot off Nimitz Highway and Nu‘uanu Avenue will be used for booths during the block party. Although there aren’t any parking specials for the event, Chinatown Gateway, Chinatown Cultural Plaza or the Chinatown Municipal parking lot on Smith and Beretania streets, among others, have affordable hourly rates.
Remember to stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes and have fun!
It’s best to bring cash for food, parking and anything else you want to purchase.
Please drink responsibly. Arrange for a designated driver, taxi or Uber to get home. Don’t drink and drive!