Survival O’ the Fittest

Anything ‘green' goes at Flanagan’s on St. Patrick’s Day: from feather boas to green eyelashes. Anything ‘green' goes at Flanagan’s on St. Patrick’s Day: from feather boas to green eyelashes.

DCP’s guide to surviving St. Patrick’s Day 2011

By Matt Clevenger

Anything ‘green' goes at Flanagan’s on St. Patrick’s Day: from feather boas to green eyelashes.

St. Patrick’s Day only comes around once a year, and getting the most out of the beer-soaked holiday’s many events and activities requires some careful planning and preparation. Money is tight, schedules are tighter and every moment counts when you start pounding Guinness at 5:30 in the morning. For the uninitiated, this handy survival guide offers some tips to get you started and if you’re as lucky as a leprechaun, the only thing you’ll miss is work the next morning.

The Warm-up

Dublin Pub will kick-off their St. Paddy’s celebrations a day early on March 16, with a special show featuring indie-rock legends Guided By Voices and opening act the Dirty Socialites. Tickets are $25 pre-sale or $30 the day of the show, and can be purchased at the Dublin Pub or online at, but act fast – there are only about 1,000 tickets available, and as of last week, the Dublin Pub had already sold almost half of those.

Dress for Success

Wearing green is essential on St. Patrick’s Day, unless you want to go home redder than a ginger’s hair from being pinched by every drunken reveler you pass by. Green hair dye and face paint are two good ways to make sure your green is always visible and should work to keep even the worst touchy-feely types at bay. Of course green isn’t for everyone, and sometimes you might actually want to get pinched, so for those instances green socks, underwear and even tattoos are always a good concealable option. Don’t have a tattoo? Just draw one on with markers. No one will ever know the difference, as long as you avoid water and don’t break a sweat at all.

Regardless of your color choice, be sure to dress for the weather. Extended forecasts from are calling for a 40 percent chance of showers in Dayton on St. Patrick’s Day, with a high of 53° and a low of 43°. Mother Nature is unpredictable, however, so layers are always good and easy to change if you get soaked with green beer. Sensible shoes are a must, as well, especially if you already plan on staggering and stumbling by the end of the day.

Checks and Balances

Skilled partiers know that the right equipment is essential and St. Patrick’s Day offers several unique challenges when it comes to the question of what to take with you. Here’s a quick checklist of things that every designated drinker should carry with them that day.

1. Cash
– While most bars do accept plastic these days, there are still a few that don’t, and anyway cash is often the only form of payment accepted outside under the St. Patty’s Day tent. Even if they do accept plastic, do you really want to get caught holding up the beer line so your Discover card can clear?

2. A flask – Beer lines can be long and a flask is always good for jump-starting a conversation with friendly strangers. Fill it with Irish whiskey if you want to be authentic, but just be sure you don’t get caught with it inside the bars.

3. Gum/Breath Mints – Absolutely essential. Your teeth may already be green, so why make a bad situation any worse?

4. Water – Staying hydrated is important during a marathon-drinking bout like St. Patrick’s Day, and as silly as it sounds, those with experience know you do have to drink something besides beer and whiskey if you want to last for the entire day. Water is usually free, so just think of it as a five-minute break for your wallet if you have to.

5. Hand sanitizer
– Outdoor tents usually mean outdoor port-o-potties, so ladies especially will want to be prepared for anything. Bring a big bottle and share with your friends, but don’t get it confused with your flask.

6. Designated Driver
– If you’ve had too many, don’t even try it. St. Patrick’s Day is like shooting fish in a barrel for cops and the Crowne Plaza is offering a special $102 rate for rooms that night so there’s no excuse for driving home if you shouldn’t.

Excuses, Excuses

St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, presenting a double problem for those of us who are gainfully employed. If you have any vacation time or sick days left, Thursday and Friday are the days to use them, but if not, start planning your excuses for the boss now. Remember, everyone else will be trying to pull off the same trick, so you’d better think of something good. Sickness and car trouble are always a good choice, but it’s a small world out there, too, so watch out for random co-worker sightings that can spoil your alibi.

Tent City

Dayton offers many options for St. Patrick’s Day partiers, and almost every bar in town will be hosting some sort of special event on Thursday. The possibilities may seem a little overwhelming, but just remember, as a general rule, traditional Irish bars always put on the best St. Patrick’s Day parties, and in Dayton the three biggies are Harrigan’s Tavern, Flanagan’s Pub and Dublin Pub.

Harrigan’s Tavern
Harrigan’s Tavern in Kettering will kick off their St. Patrick’s Day festivities early Thursday morning, serving breakfast starting at 5:30 a.m. “We have a tent outside,” bar manager Laurie Bush said last week. “We’re going to do breakfast with corned beef hash, scrambled eggs and toast. Then we do cabbage rolls, reubens, hot dogs, cheeseburgers and pizzas as well.”

Harrigan’s Tavern has always been known for great food and the bar also offers one of the area’s longest-running St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. “It’s been a long time,” Bush said. “Maybe 20 to 30 years, easily. Probably even more.”

Live music will run from 10 a.m. until midnight at Harrigan’s and admission will be $8 for a wrist band. Twenty-two ounce draft beers range from $4 for Budweiser and Bud Light, to $6 for Guinness, Harp and Bass.

Flanagan’s Pub
Flanagan’s Pub on Stewart Street will also feature an outdoor tent and stage, opening at 9 a.m. with live music starting at 9:30 a.m. Local rock station 104.7 WTUE will broadcast live all day from the bar, also starting at 9:30 a.m., and a lingerie show hosted by Diamonds Cabaret is scheduled for 6 p.m.

“We’ve been associated with WTUE on St. Patrick’s Day for 35 years,” Flanagan’s owner Pat Flanagan said. “It used to be we did the afternoon and evening shows from Flanagan’s, and now they do all the shows.”

Admission is $10, or $15 for an all day “in and out” pass. Flanagan said customers will be able to park for free at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, since the bar expects to see approximately 5,000 to 5,500 visitors throughout the course of the day. “Obviously last year was down a little because of the economy,” he said. “But we think it will bounce right back this year.”

The tent has to close down at 11 p.m., due to noise ordinances, but the bar itself will be open until 2:30 a.m. Flanagan’s kitchen will close at 2 p.m., but Centerville Catering will offer sandwiches and snack foods in the tent after that.

Dublin Pub

Of course, no St. Paddy’s guide could be complete without mentioning Dublin Pub and their well-known traditional Irish St. Patrick’s celebration. “We do not do green beer,” Dublin Pub owner Steve Tieber explained. “Our St. Patrick’s Day is more of an authentic St. Patrick’s Day, which is why we do all authentic Irish music, the Irish dancing and all the product that we serve under the tent is Irish beer. So there won’t be any green beer or domestic beers for sale underneath the tent.”

“We have all the traditional Irish food, which is the beef stews and the corned beef and cabbage, but we have that everyday,” he said. “That’s one of our features and we sell that underneath the tent as well.”

The bar opens at 5:30 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day for breakfast. Live music starts at 7 a.m., and both 107.7 the Mix and 103.9 the X will broadcast live from Dublin Pub that day. The first 100 customers there in the morning will receive a free St. Patrick’s Day t-shirt, and for the fourth year in a row there will also be a shuttle bus running constantly between Flanagan’s Pub and Dublin Pub. “Flanagan’s and Dublin Pub have a shared partnership,” Tieber said. “We have a free shuttle bus that goes back and forth from their St. Patrick’s Day to ours all day long. That starts at 10 a.m. and will run until midnight.”

Admission is $10, and the Guinness and Jameson girls will also be on hand all day, running special promotions featuring those two traditional Irish drinks. “Guinness and Jameson girls will also be here throughout the day doing special promotions,” Tieber said. “Between Flanagan’s and the Dublin Pub, we are the largest St. Patrick’s Day seller of Guinness products and Irish whiskey products in Ohio. So all the Guinness and Irish whiskey people are going to be here in Dayton, because this is the largest event.”

Hope this helps you plan your St. Patrick’s Day debauchery a little bit better. Remember, be safe, wear green, have fun and Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the DCP.

Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at

Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at

One Response to “Survival O’ the Fittest” Subscribe