March is the time for St. Patrick’s Day Parades, corned beef and cabbage, the wearing of the green, and,  of course, fun times  with good Irish food and drink at an authentic Irish Pub!  With St. Patty’s Day fast approaching,  I made it my mission to seek out the five best Irish bars in Atlantic and Cape May …Counties, South Jersey. It’s a tough job, but it had to be done and so I did it.

I visited all of the  bars you’ll see in my top five and did my best to sample their food and drink…to verify their authenticity of course.  Anything for my job.  Each of these bars offers plenty of Irish beverages and a varying amount of real Irish food.  It’s not unusual to find other types of food of some of their menu’s as well. It was almost necessary to disqualify one bar for listing an “Italian Hoagie” next to the Shepperd’s Pie and beef stew on it’s menu.  Such indiscretions were eventually overlooked because of the overall Irish look and feel of the pub.

All of this week’s top five picks have big plans for March 17th, with some planning month-long celebrations of all things Irish.   I came away with the impression that you could have a fine time Celebrating St Patty in any of the bars you’ll read about in the top five.

I hope you take the time to try a least a couple of these fine Irish establishments as part of your St Patrick’s Day celebration, and, as the Irish say, “May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.”

Number Four: Ri Ra in the Quarter at the Tropicana, Atlantic city -opened in 2005.    If you can't go to Dublin, bring some of Dublin to South Jersey.  That was was the idea behind Ri Ra.  The bar was built entirely from authentic salvage materials, including some from Dublin's  famed Henry Grattan Pub.  Open daily from 11:30a.m. -2 a.m., Ri Ra serves lunch and dinner with an Irish Bistro approach.

Ri Ra is a great place to have your favorite Irish beverage while watching a good live band.  St. Patrick's Day, Ri Ra features two live bands, Irish dancers and bagpipers!

Tomorrow...check back for pub # 3 in South Jersey's Top Five Irish Bars!