Surviving St. Patrick’s Day

Surviving St. Patrick’s Day

I f you’ve ever hit the streets of Dayton during its annual Celtic Festival you know this city takes its Irish heritage and holidays seriously. And if you’ve ever taken a peek outside on March 17 — you know St. Patrick’s Day is no exception. The rich Irish culture typically bound inside local Irish hot spots literally spills out into the streets for a day, and a weekend-long celebration of the Emerald Isle, her patron saint and, of course, beer — lots and lots of beer.

Those Who Wish They Were

There’s a saying that there are only two types of people in this world, the Irish and those who wish they were. There’s another saying that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! So whether your blood runs thick with potatoes, you sweat pure whiskey or you can’t stand either, for one day, as the saying goes, fake it ‘til you make it.

The best way to show your Irish pride during the holiday is to wear green. Paint your face or make it official with a permanent symbol of tattooed Emerald Isle loyalty. Green apparel is the tried and true way to go for those who want to make it through the day without getting pinched. A plethora of “Kiss me I’m Irish” gear is availalble anywhere from Target to Kohl’s, in children and adult sizes. Don’t forget: green clothing doesn’t show green stains, so the darker the shade the less likely you’ll be able to see the inevitable green beer spots the next morning — or should we call them trophies?

The weather this year is looking good, with an expected high of 43 degrees and a mostly sunny sky. A little bit chillier than last year’s tepid 53, but ask any bartender for a heavy beer blanket and they’ll be happy to o’blige.

Pack Light

If there’s one thing I remember about college, it’s that sometimes, as drinkers, we forget things. The only way to avoid losing your entire identity Saturday is to leave it at home. There are, however, a few things that should be part of every holiday-goers emergency kit.

Proper identification: It doesn’t matter if you know the bartender or you’re the owner’s nephew (okay … that might help a little bit), today you’ll need ID. Law enforcement presence is heavy today and no liquor-serving establishment will be taking any risks. While St. Patty’s revenue is huge for some places, it’s not enough to carry them through getting shut down for the rest of the year for serving underage patrons.

Water: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Especially if you plan to start early, water and even a couple snacks deserve a reserved space in your plaid fanny pack. In fact, hacktheday.com offers an excellent guide on how to drink properly. They suggest never to drink on an empty stomach, make your own decisions when it comes to volume of consumption, sip don’t chug, try not to mix types of alcohol (liquor, beer, wine, etc.), eat oily food and if you feel sick, excuse yourself to the port-o-john for a refreshing upchuck.

Multiple methods of payment: While most bars and vendors do take major credit cards, the door guy in the neon “Staff” T-shirt does not. You’ll need cash for cover charges and, between you and me, bartenders respond more quickly to waving cash from across the bar than a flapping Visa. Also, most of the beer tables set up in the outdoor tents will only take cash.

Designated driver: More on this later.

Where To Go

Up there with the night before Thanksgiving and Superbowl Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest party days of the year. There will be something going on everywhere, even if it’s just the middle of 5thStreet. But some places know how to do it right and annually prove it. From countdown calendars to pretzel bread, these places wait all year for this one special day, so it’s worth checking them out.

If you’re south of town, check out Adobe Gila’s in Beavercreek (78 Plumb St., The Greene). Although it isn’t a place you’d typically equate with Irish heritage, Adobe Gila’s is a great place to party and uses any excuse to get a good one going. With a DJ starting at 10a.m. and drink specials from $5 Irish Car Bombs to $4 Guinnesses, you can expect to have a great time, and with no cover charge.

Also south of town is The Pub (39 Greene Boulevard, The Greene), which is hosting a celebration starting with “kegs and eggs” from 8 to 10a.m. and Irish food specials immediately to follow. There will be $3 green beer — while it lasts — and free face painting to help you get in the mood to dance to the live music playing throughout the day.

If you’re north of town, check out Boston’s Bistro (7500 N. Main St., Dayton).  Boston’s will be kicking off their 30th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Gala on Thursday evening with an Irish-Celtic beer tasting featuring Ohio Brewing Company brews.  The party continues on Friday with Brothers in Arms playing outside in the beer garden.  Stay out late partying and get up early to continue, as Boston’s will be serving breakfast from 6a.m. on Saturday morning. The fun won’t stop until late, including a variety of Irish and Celtic music, dancing and great food.

Splitting the difference between north and south, there’s always the ever-reliable party downtown again this year. Dublin Pub and Flanagan’s Pub will be hosting the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this year with their annual Festival, PatROCKs party and many other exciting events.  Stop by to party, or stop by for St. Practice Day and win some great prizes including a Guinness jacket or Dublin Pub gift certificates.  For more information on the lineup of events and history of the celebration, see Dayton City Paper’s Urban section on page 9.

Game, Set, Checkpoint

Fact: no matter what your stumbling, blubbering best friend says, he doesn’t actually drive better when he’s had a couple beers – no one does. So, in order to avoid getting thrown in the slammer because you’re behind the wheel after a long day o’ celebrating, put at least one of these numbers in your speed dial:

Yellow Cab of Greater Dayton, (937) 228-1155
All America Taxi, (937) 610-0202
Clean Cab, (937) 242-8779
Dayton Express Company, (937) 226-9999
Diamond Taxi, (937) 277-1000
Miami Liberty/Checker, (937) 222-2822
Petra Cab, (937) 297-9999

If you choose the good old-fashioned cab route, make sure you call early, especially as the day gets later, to ensure you get rides when you need them. Designated driver programs are a new and super convenient (albeit a bit pricier) option to waiting around to hail a checkered yellow.

Divine Designated Driver: (937) 367-8852. No reservation is required, but you can schedule a pick-up ahead of time. They’ll arrive within about 45 minutes and drive you and your car home for $40 within their 20-mile Dayton-area radius.

Be My DD: (877) U-BEMYDD (823-6933). They pick you and your car up for $25 plus less than three bucks a mile to your house. Reservations must be made by 11 p.m.

Friendly Designated Driver: (937) 554-0452. College students and military personnel with proper ID can get individual or group pickup or hourly service starting at $30.

Complimentary Transportation: There is also a great program set up between Dublin Pub and the Crowne Plaza hotel downtown. Visit crowneplaza.com to book your room or call the hotel at (937)224-0800. Rates for March 16 and 17 are $94 a night, and the Crowne will be offering transportation to and from the big party at The Dublin Pub. Tip: invite your family for the weekend, have them stay at the Crowne Plaza, freeload the perks of their roomstay.

Arrive Safe program: Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck has teamed up with AAA to sponsor ArriveSafe, a program that offers free cab rides home anytime between Friday, March 16 at 6p.m. • and Sunday, March 18 at 6a.m.  Rides are available for Montgomery County residents, and cover fares up to $50.  Don’t drink and drive.  Instead, call (937) 449-9999 to get a free lift.

The Aftermath

It doesn’t get much better than St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday. But even though you don’t have to call off work and can dedicate your entire day to feeling good and having fun, you still have to wake up the next morning, and that can get a bit unpleasant. Most people with experience in the party arena also have experience in the hangover department, and know what works when it comes to staving off the nauseating headaches that punish us gluttonous drinkers. In Ireland, one miracle cure is said to be burying a poor sap up to his neck in moist river sand. If you don’t have this resource available, however, see below:

What Works:

Water, water and more water. That pounding in your head isn’t residual techno beats from the night before, and the aching in your stomach isn’t (always) a pit of remorse after checking your post-midnight text outbox. It is dehydration, plain and simple. Breaking the seal after a few drinks and spending the rest of your night dividing your time between the bar and the bathroom is more than just an annoyance, it is your body reacting to the diuretic properties of alcohol and literally draining itself of hydration. I’d advise to alternate each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water, but I won’t waste my breath. Rather, it is smart to at least drink a tall one (pure H20) before passing out, and have a bottle or three ready on your nightstand for the morning.

Toast or crackers in the morning are also a good way to quicken the recovery process. In the same way that your mother shoved the bland crisps down your throat as a kid when you had a cold, the same theory stands well into adulthood. The carbs found in such simple snacks as toast and saltines can help regulate the blood sugar levels — which are usually regulated by your liver, but your liver is far too busy going to work on the various bourbons, whiskeys and beers you subjected it to the night before.

What Doesnt Work:

A hangover reaches full effect when blood alcohol levels reach zero percent. Therefore, there is no point in eating greasy food or filling up on anything for the purpose of it absorbing any alcohol. Another one to avoid is the Tylenol before bed trick. Tylenol, or any sort of acetaminophen) is known to be particularly hard on your liver, and taking it on top of a system full of liver-straining alcoholic beverages can be dangerous and potentially fatal. Stick to NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) pain relievers such as ibuprofen or good old-fashioned aspirin to safely stave the headaches. On that note, taking Advil before bed is pointless; it won’t last until morning. Pop a couple with one of the three water bottles you wake up next to.

Another one of those mythical miracle cures is the ever-popular “hair of the dog” trick. I won’t say it doesn’t make you feel better to choke down a beer in the morning — the immediate results seem too good to be true. And, unfortunately, they are. While the alcohol does provide a temporary numbing effect, the crappy feeling is merely postponed until your overworked liver process its latest batch of poison. The resulting headache is likely to be worse, and experts warn that this practice could increase the risks of abuse and could also lead to a dependency on alcohol

Also, sports drinks are no more effective than water at easing the anguish of the morning after, so don’t waste your money. Electrolytes are not so violently depleted by a night of drinking that it’s necessary to replenish them with costly bottles of Gatorade. If you hit the (bar) tap a little too hard at night, your best bet for the morning is to hit the (sink) tap harder for relief.

Alternatives

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t all about drinking. It’s mostly about drinking, but not completely. The Dayton area has a number of alternatives to hitting the bars on Saturday. A nice middle-ground option will be the Irish Club of Dayton (6555 Dog Leg Road, Dayton).  Their party starts at 9a.m. with breakfast. While there will be drink specials including $2 draft beer included with the $5 cover charge, there will be live music throughout the day with the Dwyer School of Irish Dancers hitting the stage at 9p.m.

Another great idea for some family fun this year: Check out the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery’s ShamROCK ‘12 event on Saturday, March 17 from 7:30 to 11p.m.  The program promises lots of fun, including live local bands, a karaoke contest, laser tag and dancing.  Tickets only cost $12 a person, and are available online at www.boonshoftmuseum.org or by calling 937-275-7431.

Finally, if you’re a really low-on-your-luck leprechaun and just don’t feel like doing anything social for St. Patrick’s Day this year, take a walk in the park and hunt for four-leaf clovers.  Who knows?  This may turn out to be your lucky St. Patty’s Day after all.

Reach DCP freelance writer Emma Jarman at EmmaJarman@DaytonCityPaper.com.

[Photo: Crafton Photography]

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