I did Erin Express so you don’t have to (even though you really should)
The only time it’s acceptable to start drinking at 7am
As March begins, we have a lot to look forward to.
Spring break is just around the corner and as the weather grows warmer our cabin fever starts to grow and everyone is looking for ways to get out of their winter funk.
Luckily, in Philadelphia we have the perfect outlet — Erin Express.
Erin Express is the biggest bar crawl in the city the two weekends leading up until Saint Patrick’s Day. Fifteen bars through West Philadelphia, Center City and Northeast Philadelphia open their doors to those who are willing to celebrate the Irish holiday for three weekends straight.
A huge fleet of buses go around the city to each location and leave every 15 minutes from 12pm-6pm. So, just jump on the bus and see where the day takes you.
This sounded fun, so I decided to try it.
Living in Philadelphia for almost half my life, and choosing to attend school in the city, Erin Express was always a pre-St Paddy’s Day tradition held by college kids and adults alike. When I hit college age, I knew I had to try it. The past two years I had to work when friends from Drexel, Penn and Temple alike were attending, so I decided this year would be my year.
Thankfully, some high school friends who do not attend school in the city who were on spring break around this time were also anxious to try it. So, we bought our green and all planned to meet up at a friend’s house at Drexel the first Saturday of Erin Express.
You have to be a morning person.
Erin Express festivities start at 9am at most bars, so the only logical thing to do is attend a pregame at 7-830am. And, that means meeting up before the pregame has to be before that. My friends decided on 7am as our meeting time and stocked up on mimosa supplies, beer and bagels — the essentials.
My friend, Saranya, was the only true EE veteran among us so we put the plans of the day into her hands. She laid out the multiple fraternities across University City that were hosting festivities and which bars that we were able to hit through out the day.
Get ready to have a day.
While we started our small pregame at 7am, there was a whole day ahead of us. We headed out to the first fraternity at 9am ready for what was ahead of us.
After staying there for a short time and playing, nay killing it, in drinking games we decided to head to the main event of the day. This was around 11am.
We decided to call an Uber to get us to our next destination. While the bus is a key part of the Erin Express experience, they did not start running until noon.
We stepped into Bonner’s Irish Pub to start our experience. It was packed wall to wall in green shirts, beads and shamrocks on rowdy college kids. The atmosphere was truly one that was unique to this day’s festivities.
Every single person in this bar was there to kick off their St. Patrick’s Day off with a bang.
While we were standing there, we had heard that this bar was just the prelude to an even larger environment down the block at the 23rd Street Armory. This is what people call the “Warehouse.”
Around 12 noon we decided to head over to see what this warehouse was all about.
The warehouse is truly where it’s at.
Walking into the 23rd St. Armory was truly exciting.
The huge venue was packed with beer trucks, food trucks and hundreds of people ready to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day just a little bit early, both in the month and in the day.
The DJ rolled off hit after hit that kept the crowd signing and dancing for the whole day. Walking through the crowd, even if you lost your friends, you either met new people who complimented your shirt, head-wear, or you ran into that random guy in your Monday, Wednesday, Friday class who’s now your best friend due to the common bond of this crazy holiday.
While some people decided to catch the buses leaving every few minutes outside of here to get a ride to the next bar, many people decide to stay here all day just because of the large party atmosphere.
Evening calls for naps, and diner food.
As the day winds down, it’s time to find your friends and decide the next move. Personally, my friends and I decided to go back to one of our friend’s house to take much deserved naps around 5pm, and then grab the greasiest food we could find at a local diner.
Overall, you NEED to try Erin Express.
Erin Express truly is the craziest and most unique holiday that Philadelphia has to offer. It is something that every single college student in Philadelphia needs to try at least once.
So next weekend, on the second weekend, hop on that bus, put on your green and try it out for yourself.