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Irish As I Wanna Be

We here at The Barhopper strive for true impartiality, and to recognize all equally and stuff. . .but really, how could this column not make special mention of St. Patrick’s Day? The bars open early, the people stay up late, and everyone gets to be a little bit Irish. That said, authenticity does still count for something, and so this year’s Irish bar round-up introduces The Blarney Factor. Green beer? You’re going to have to do better than that. . . PADDY’S PUB 2339 N. Murray Ave. • 223-3496 Ambiance: Crowded and good-spirited, brightly-lit in a good way. Lots of ornate wood carving and ironwork on the walls. There’s also a fireplace, and a couch in front of it. Crowd: Mostly 20s through 40s, and there seemed to be a college student presence. On Tap: Strongbow, Harp, Guiness (expertly poured), Blue Moon, Hacker-Pschorr, New Glarus, Miller Lite (with a shamrock on top), Bass, Newcastle. Top Shelf: Lovely Assistant assures me that the large selection of Scotch and Irish Whiskey is excellent. Juke Box: House sound, which means U2 and Irish traditional in this case. Men’s Room: Single occupancy, with a small green marble table and plant. Also the same “We’re Irish” poster featuring a redhead and an Irish setter that I remember from the old country.* Women’s Room: “It’s a bathroom. It’s clean. It doesn’t smell weird. It’s bright.” Lovely Assistant rocks the short sentences on this one. What’s Up For St. Patrick’s Day?: Paddy’s will open at 6am and remove all of their furniture — and still be packed wall to wall, according to our waiter. Blarney Factor: Through the roof. All manner of Irish posters and paraphernalia line the walls, beer and whiskey selection is Emerald Isle oriented, and there’s live Irish traditional music on Thursdays. Additional Comments: There’s a projector for showing movies on the wall, though it was hard to actually hear them. *”the old country” in this case refers to Mick O’ Shea’s in Baltimore, MD. JUDGE’S IRISH PUB 1431 E. North Avenue • 224-0605 Ambiance: A big interior geared towards fun — lots of pool tables, dart boards, golf video games, and even a foosball table. The bar itself is a large square that fills up the middle of the space nicely. Friendly bartender. Crowd: Mostly young and party-hearty. On Tap: Miller Lite, Bud Lite, Riverwest Stein, Hi-Life, Bass, Sprecher, New Glarus, Newcastle, Leinie’s Red. Top Shelf: Parrot Bay, Stoli, Absolut, J.D. Juke Box: House sound again. G. Love and Special Sauce provided the tunes for most of the night, followed by what sounded like a southern rock compilation. Men’s Room: It was bright. I’d had two beers on an empty stomach. I have nothing more to say. Women’s Room: “They don’t believe in hot water,” says disbelieving Lovely Assistant. What’s Up For St. Patrick’s Day?: Judge’s will open at 9 in the morning and provide free t-shirts to the first 100 people in the door. There’s also a Best Buy gift certificate drawing and rumors of authentic, old-school Irish stew. Blarney Factor: A mixed bag. There’s a neon shamrock Budweiser sign, lots of stuff painted green, a huge black and tan Guiness poster, and an Irish flag over the bar, but on the other hand there’s no Harp or Guiness on tap. Additional Comments: Some type of hangover prevention drink is available for a dollar. Well, have a lovely St. Patty’s Day everyone. Next month: drinking in April!