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St. Patrick’s Day, I imagine to most reading this, is one of the single greatest holidays of the year. Better than Christmas because none of the gifts disappoint. Better than Easter because there’s no guilt for how few times you go to church. Even better, dare I say it, than Cinco de Mayo. First, a […]

St. Patrick’s Day, I imagine to most reading this, is one of the single greatest holidays of the year. Better than Christmas because none of the gifts disappoint. Better than Easter because there’s no guilt for how few times you go to church. Even better, dare I say it, than Cinco de Mayo.

First, a little history of St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick himself lived in 387-461 CE and is the most recognizable of the patron saints of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day originated from the Catholic Church as a holiday, and in the early 17th century was initialized as an official feast day. Behind the shamrock, as legend goes, St. Patrick used one to illustrate to his followers the Holy Trinity with its three leaves. Now, it’s pressed in the foam of Guinness.

So, what’s one of the best Irish bars in Milwaukee to celebrate this shinning jewel of the drinker’s season? Paddy’s Pub, located at 2339 N. Murray Ave.

Now, it’s not the most authentic of Irish establishments, but it has two very key elements I look for in a bar. The first is character. It is, truly, unlike any establishment that I’ve seen in Milwaukee. The outside looks like some sort of impregnable fortress, with no windows on the outside and a wrought-iron gate blocking the door. Inside, it looks somewhat like a house converted into a bar, with knick knacks covering the walls, an old stove by a fake fireplace and odd furniture.

The spade up the sleeve though is the coziness. It’s hard to describe exactly, but Paddy’s has a certain quality about it that seems more intimate than most places. The chairs and tables are small and packed closely together, and the lack of windows adds a cellar-like feel.

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The second element: the drinking. On St. Paddy’s, do as the Romans do, or in this case, the Irish. Drink Guinness. It may seem cliché, but the beer is internationally known and has an almost infinite string of awards for a reason. But for some bars, this presents a slippery slope of sorts. Guinness can be a fickle mistress and not just the day after. If the bar has a keg, but not many people drink it, it can go flat, and the freshness is almost completely lost. Adversely, if it’s used a lot, but the bar doesn’t keep the keg lines clean, it develops a rancid taste from the beer-clogged arteries of tap. Drink Guinness at Paddy’s; trust me.

Now, something has to be mentioned in regard to the demographic that patrons Paddy’s. For the most part, it’s tailored to the older group, not nursing home old, but not the youth. In my opinion, this can add to an establishment. Old drinkers know bars. It’s not to say that I haven’t seen the youth reveling in everything Paddy’s has to offer, it’s just that there are fewer of them then at, say, The Y-Not bar. But, on St. Patrick’s Day, I doubt anyone has to worry about this. I suspect any bar with a shamrock on its sign is going to be overflowing with people.

On top of everything, Paddy’s has live music, for free, no cover charge. And this Thursday is no exception.

Add all this together with the incredible fact that the Milwaukee bus system is giving free rides after 6 p.m., and there’s really no reason not to go out.

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If I had it my way, St. Patrick’s Day would be one of those long, three-day holidays where everyone takes off work. Instead, we have to make do with one day by tipping back our shamrock-decorated Guinness and toasting to the Irish.

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