Since Thursday evening, slowly but surely I've been training my body for Tuesday's inevitable hangover with shots of whiskey and Guinness, corned beef and hash and shepherds pie like a good Irish girl, bikini season be damned.
Whether you decided to sacrifice a sick day to the HR gods or at 5 p.m. you're butt will be glued to the bar stool with a guinness in hand, there are plenty of watering holes worth your time this St. Patrick's Day, each with their own drunken charm. Strap on your green beer goggles and lets take a look at a few, shall we?
Most Creative Name: Silky Sullivan's Restaurant and Bar (Fountain Valley):
Anything remotely related to Ireland most likely comes with a long elaborate story. It's best told by an older guy who might be prone to exaggeration. Silky Sullivan's name originated from one of the best "come-from-behind" racing horses who's parents were from Ireland. Everything in restaurant-bar is based around Silky Sullivan, Irish culture and sports. This spot has been around since 1984 and sits directly across the street from Fountain Valley City Hall and caddy-corner to the police station. It was one of the first establishments to feature televised sports in Orange County. The owner made sure the long lines that would form outside the bar on game days were satisfied by personally playing each game in the joint. Their menu features all traditional style Irish faire along with some specialties from the kitchen, like pub curls…all I know is they are cheesy and fried and apparently, very tasty. Give them a shot.
Best Irish dive: O'Hara's Pub (Orange):
Now where would my bar list be without a good old dive?! Paying your respects to your local Irish pub, especially on St Patty's, is like paying homage to your parents or grandparents: you know you have to do it at least once a year and you know despite the fact that it's usually out of your social circle, it's one of those things that has to be done and you walk away happier…or was that the Jameson talking? Replace visiting beloved parents with 'braving the locals who have been soaking their brains in Jameson all evening' and guy in a leather kilt guarding the door and you get O'Hara's Pub. After I stumbled through the doors and a bartender in a kilt poured me a Guinness, I didn't hesitate to stick around and share some laughs with the local culture. Of course I had to ask: "So are you wearing this kilt traditional style?"
His response: "Let's put it this way: If I wasn't, this would be considered a skirt, not a kilt."
This bar might not be the place to order corned beef and hash and take in some live Irish jigs, but it's certainly the place to raise a glass of Guinness with your newly proclaimed best friends.
Most Upscale Irish Pub: Muldoon's pub (Newport Beach):
The exact opposite of the last bar is, of course, located in Newport Beach. Budget was no issue to create this most authentic Irish pub. In fact I don't think budget is much of an issue to anyone as all I saw in the parking lot: Beamers, Mercedes and Ferraris as far as the eye can see! The interior's brick walls are lined with Irish blessings, rod iron gaelic designs and a healthy supply of framed vintage guinness posters along with a man in a traditional Irish getup who serenades everyone's shepherd pies and guinness consumption with traditional Irish tunes on the bagpipes. Golf is on the tube and the crowd is between a well-dressed 30 years old to khakis and golf caps 60 plus. If you're looking for a mellow St Patty's day experience, this spot is your ticket, although I will admit it was insanely entertaining to watch six old people in golf polos and cardigans chug Irish car bombs like old pros. Along with the obvious emerald apparel, make sure you bring the other type of green that we wish grew on trees. Shit's expensive!
Staple saying: "Slàinte" which means "Cheers" in Gaelic.
Most likely to find college kids: Branagan's Pub (Fullerton)
Located in the heart of downtown Fullerton, Branagan's Irish Pub features all of the traditional Irish faire: flags, guinness on tap as well as six other Irish beers, a nice looking menu including their tasty shepherd's pie and lots and lots of college kids. When I arrived at this beloved local spot, I had exactly two days, 2 hours, 42 minutes and 36 seconds until St Patty's day. Yes, there is a clock on the dark green walls that is counting down the seconds along with vintage whiskey posters, staple sayings from Irish writers and plenty of Irish flags. It's safe to say this spot takes pride in it's heritage. Branagan's will feature live traditional Irish music and even an Irish blessing done at noon today. So skip the ramen and Netflix que, go shake hands with the priest and offer to buy him a guinness. Save the ramen money for bar tender tips!
Staple saying: "Heaven has no beer, that's why we drink here!"
Most tanned locals: Molly Blooms (San Clemente)
If you've spent time partying at the south end of the Orange County line, you've probably made it to this local Irish bar. You know a local when you see a perma-tanned bleach blondie talking about last week's swell or hitting up the bar for another cold Guinness. Soon you begin to realize your pasty complexion reveals your non-local status (as if the stares when you walked through the door weren't obvious enough) and that's why said local keeps staring at you…what, you thought he was checking you out? This spot continues to be the Cheers of San Clemente and, even if you're not from San Clemente, this bar grows on you…fast. Is it a coincidence that it is an Irish bar?
Staple saying: "Slàinte" which means "Cheers" in Gaelic.
Darkest Pub Interior: Gallagher's Pub and Grill (Huntington Beach)
Brave the Huntington Beach parking and five year olds with plugs and you will find a fun gem off of Main street that showcases live music every Friday and Saturday night and even live traditional Irish music on Sundays at 3 p.m. Based around a typical Dublin pub setting, the dark interior decor features railroads signs and hard hats giving this a legitimate pub feel. It can been noon and sunny outside and somehow this dark interior swallows the light …which is good for happy hour.
Staple saying: "May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead."