Your Beermonger: The St. Patrick’s Day Survival Guide

by ARLnow.com March 15, 2013 at 11:45 am 2,818 63 Comments

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Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway)

Time keeps on flying — we’re already hitting St. Patrick’s Day weekend. As a Guinness drinker and an American with a drop or two of Irish blood in my makeup, I am supposed to look upon St. Patrick’s as one of the High Holidays. But if I’m honest I’ve gone a bit sour on the whole thing.

For far too many, St. Patrick’s is merely an excuse to get obscenely drunk and that stopped being fun for me years ago. I’m going back in on St. Patrick’s Day this year, however, in the spirit of spending some much-needed downtime with friends and rediscovering the joy of social interaction. For those of you still enamored with the revelry of the holiday, here are a few pointers:

Don’t go out. I know, I know; this is supposed to be advice for celebrating St. Patrick’s, but I have to lead with it. There are two nights of the year I go out of my way not to be out-and-about for: New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s. Folks who shun drinking the rest of the year make it an amateur hour scene in bars while those who do drink take it to another level. I’m planning on visiting a friend’s home this year so we can split a couple beers from our cellars while watching the fights Saturday, which is pretty big for me considering my stand on St. Patrick’s Day.

If you go out, don’t be “that guy.” We’ve covered this one before in the beer festival guide. You know the type, so do what you can to avoid getting to that point. No one cares how Irish you are, and they’re perfectly aware of how much/how little green they’re wearing. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re probably that guy — in which case see rule number one above.

Be ready to bail. If you walk into a place and don’t like the vibe, listen to that instinct. Every establishment in the area that sells alcohol is going to be up, running, and busy — you can afford to be picky. If meeting friends, have backup plans in case the mood turns a direction you’re not comfortable with. If that means grabbing a couple beers and going home, so be it. It sounds a little silly I know, but just about every bad story from my misspent youth starts with me ignoring an instinct I should have known to listen to.

Keep it simple with drink orders. Servers and bartenders are going to be swamped all night long; sticking to pints of Guinness or whatever’s on tap will make the most of what limited time they have. Pitchers are even better if you have a large enough group to justify them. If someone calls for a mixed drink, specific spirit, or wine, send them home. They’re just going to slow things down.

If you’re going to drink, for everyone’s sake just don’t drive. I know you have to drive everywhere around here and it takes forever to get from one place to the other, but I don’t care. It’s too easy to make a simple, horrible mistake that can be so easily avoided by catching a sober ride or hailing a cab. If the potential danger to yourself and everyone around you isn’t enough, think of how much cheaper it is to hire a limo for the night compared to the court costs and missed work of a DUI. No excuses.

Have any tips for folks to get through the weekend? Any spots to have a good time while avoiding the madness? Share them in the comments. Everyone stay safe out there this weekend however you celebrate, and look out for each other. Until next time.


Nick Anderson maintains a blog at www.beermonger.net, and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at www.arrowine.com/mailing-list-signup.aspx. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Community discussion guidelines: Our sponsored columns are written by members of the local business community. While we encourage a robust and open discussion, we ask that all reviews of the businesses — good or bad — be directed to another venue, like Yelp. The comments section is intended for a conversation about the topic of the article.

  • son

    thanks dad

    • The Beermonger

      Well, if you need to hear it. Am dissapoint.

  • Pike

    If you go out, don’t be “that guy.”

    Deal, if you don’t be the guy who tells me how, when, what and where to order when I decide to go out.

    • The Beermonger

      I’m not telling anyone anything. Just throwing stuff out there, which could have just as easily been ignored. Really have a hard time seeing how something this innocuous struck a nerve with folks. Take a breath.

      • Pike

        It is kinda funny how your responses are more arrogant and condescending than your original post.

        • The Beermonger

          I get that a lot.

    • drax

      Dude, now you’re being that guy.

      • ChickenArise

        Remember how Alfred told Batman he had to wear the mask? I don’t, really, but it might be relevant here.

  • that guy


    • The Beermonger

      Don’t know if serious or trolling. Either way, I like it.

  • The Beermonger

    Yeah, probably should’ve found a way to make that more jokey and less ‘advocating ditching friends for bad drink orders’-y. Oh well. Nice ad hominem, though. Thanks for that.

    • ARL

      Maybe he was agreeing with you and was calling the guy who orders a mixed drink a dick, not you.

      Or maybe it was you.

      • The Beermonger

        I wasn’t calling anyone a dick. That line got blown out of proportion as I heard it one way in my head when writing it and didn’t think it though enough. That’s all. The point remains though: if you tie up a server/bartender during one of their busiet rushes of the year, don’t go to Yelp complaining about how long you had to wait. Be realistic. Maybe that’s a dick thing to say, but it’s the truth.

        • John Fontain

          Sorry, even though I’m not one to order “fancy drinks”, I’ve got to disagree with the notion that those in the service industry shouldn’t have to do their job when they are busy.

          It would be like me suggesting, “Don’t bother your tax accountant with itemizing deductions for you. Remember, he/she is busy during tax season so just tell him/her you’ll take the standard deduction.”

          If bartenders/servers can’t be bothered with doing their job during the busy times, then they should look for another line of work.

          • malaka

            Thar’s hardly a fair analogy. During hte time he makes a fancy drink he could have sered a dozen people that are also now pissed at ms/mr fancypants drinker

          • Lucas

            I completely agree. As a bartender who has worked this bastardized holiday, the person who makes it up to your crowded bar and is not ready to order or thinks that’s the time to get advice on what they “should like” is a hazard. There are greater forces in play, namely the safety of the guests at said ridiculously crowded bar. It doesn’t take much for someone to get pissed at a patron taking too long and for that to spread into a full-on situation. Do your homework. If you don’t like going to crowded bars, St. Patrick’s Day is not the time to toe the waters.

    • John Fontain

      The beermonger said: “Oh well. Nice ad hominem, though.”

      Let me get this straight. Someone called you a name. You criticize them for their ad hominem attack (fair enough). Then you run off to another website (twitter) and level an ad hominem attack of your own against the Arlnow readers. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t ya think?

      And by the way, I’m no expert on internet etymology, but I don’t think the definition of “trolls” is “people who disagree with me on the internet.”

  • QTR

    Good Lord – what’s up with the comments? Frankly, I think this is good advice. If you don’t like it, or don’t want to take it, fine. But calling the guy a dick for stating his opinion is a bit much. Simmer down!

    • Arlington Chris

      You must be new here 🙂

  • Hating your audience

    The Beermonger is now insulting the Commentariat here. Keep it classy, Arrowine!

    • The Beermonger

      Really? You’re gonna look at these responses and not say folks are trolling today?

      • John Fontain

        You must not have ever heard that expression about what you’re supposed to stop doing when you find yourself in a hole. (Hint – stop digging.)

  • Chris

    Nick- What’s your favorite: Guinness, Murphy’s or Beamish?

    • The Beermonger

      I really miss being able to get Beamish here. It was such a nice alternative. Guinness is still king, though. No point in fighting it; they got it right and still do it right.

      • novasteve

        Is it just the area? I thought I saw beamish not that long ago. I think even trader joes carried it. But not any more 🙁

        • The Beermonger

          We could get it for years. Last time I remember it being available was around ’07-’08ish. I’d love to find it again.

  • dd

    Good post TB. Funny how all the “That Guy(s)” just showed up at once.

    • Poindexter

      They must have just finished up with their Crossfit routines.

  • Ha! My husband– a Catholic named Patrick, who loves Irish pubs– requested that we celebrate his saint’s feast day by going somewhere that doesn’t have a bar, so that we can avoid the non-Catholic non-Irish white guys in green beads. It’s like a frat party that takes over the city.

  • novasteve

    Don’t understand why people are so upset at the advice to not go out. Or do you enjoy drinking elbow to elbow, green beer out of plastic cups and then have a 30 minute wait for the bathroom? That sounds so fun I think I’ll pass again this year. He’s right, St. Patrick’s Day and New Years are the two worst days of the year to go out.

    • The Beermonger

      Waiting on Riessdorf pricing from my distro, Steve. Haven’t forgotten.

      • novasteve


    • Hank

      Good lord, I agree with you, Steve!

  • hockeyandbeers

    I moved here from Ireland over 12 years ago. I hate St. Patrick’s day here, and will absolutely refuse to go out. Also, It’s Paddy not Patty. Patty is the slang abbreviation for Patricia, Paddy is the slang abbreviation derived from the Irish name for Patrick, Padraig.

    I don’t call Thanksgiving “Cheersgiving” because it’s close enough. If you’re going to celebrate an Irish holiday, please at least get it right. Or not.

    • yup

      I celebrate “Cheersgiving” because it’s a great reason for the family from all over to get together and good wine happens to go excellent with the meal, and it’s what we consider the first official night to drink egg nog with some great bourbon. Who cares

      • ChickenArise

        Cheersgiving is the only time of the year that I am willing to get the various rare Cheerwines from my cellar.

    • O’Relly

      Take you beef up with the Hallmark Company and all your Irish brewers who have marketed the holiday for decades at St. Patty’s Day. I don’t care what you name an excuse to drink beer all day.

    • Rory

      A chara
      St Patricks day is a sh*tshow for young people in Ireland, as well. Who cares if people call it ‘patty’ instead of ‘paddy’, it’s just an excuse to get drunk.
      Many parades do actually celebrate Irish heritage, with the parade in NY having each county represented by immigrants from them. They are not as important as they once were ,as the Irish communities that identify strongly with the ‘old country’ are smaller and less intact…but they are still cool.
      -A Kerryman by birth

  • Flex

    While I agree generally with the advice, I also agree that maybe it could’ve been written with a more deft touch. Personally I would like some suggestions on different options/locations that wouldn’t be the typical drunken Mardi Gras-style crowd or maybe some beers I could pick up beyond Guinness (not that just Guinness wouldn’t suffice).

    • The Beermonger

      I don’t disagree that it could’ve been written with a “more deft touch”. Maybe I should have. I didn’t think it was in any way inflammatory when I wrote it. All seems pretty common sense to me. Then again, if I’d just mentioned the concerns most of us have about people’s behavior on St. Paddy’s, I’d have felt like I was raising concerns without solutions. Chalk it all up to experience, I guess.

      • John Fontain

        If I’m being honest (and not trying to pick a fight), the column did come off preachy and parental this week.

        • Arlington Chris

          I agree, and it’s a shame because of all the guest columns I kind of like the Beermonger one.

      • ChickenArise

        Save your deft touches, this is the internet!

        Also since I already have my beers for the week, I’ll leave my green beer story here: In 2006ish I was in Old Town at one of the many pubs. I’m not one to go out for this holiday, but it’s also a friend’s birthday (2 friends this year thanks to weekday weirdness), so sometimes I do. He’d had a few beers and decided that we all needed green beer, so he ordered a round. The bartender, who was Irish, had no idea what he was talking about (despite 5+ people in the room with green beer).

        Long story short, midori + beer is a horribly foul concoction and you really shouldn’t ever drink it, even to be polite. It’s not even very green. It may lead to members of your group wandering despondently into the street (or sleeping on it, but That Guy had alcohol problems).

    • EB

      If you like Guinness because of the stout aspect, maybe try Murphy’s? If you like it because of the creaminess (nitro) and are looking for other things like that, Boddington’s, Old Speckled Hen, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, or the nitro Left Hand Milk Stout might be good options!

      Side note: I recently tried the Sea Dog Hazelnut Porter and wow – it was like iced coffee! So good, not what I was expecting at all!

      • The Beermonger

        I need to try that Sea Dog. I’m a sucker for the old pub ales and nitro beers. Murphy’s Beamish, Boddington, Speckled Hen–love ’em all. We’re going through a ton of Milk Stout Nitro, though it’s not for everyone.

      • yup

        Left Hand is awesome

  • CC

    Sorry guys, I don’t know a single person in the industry who actually enjoys the amateur night that is St. Patty’s. It’s 8x the work of a regular busy night for not much additional pay (as people who are that sloshed or annoyed their “something fruity/fun” shot wasn’t what they wanted (even though they didn’t know what they wanted or they would’ve actually ordered it). Also, it’s a large majority of sloppy people who can’t hold their liquor and think wearing green is an appropriate justification for acting like they have no consequences for their actions for a weekend… I don’t blame Beermonger one bit, and although you have every right to disagree with the tone of his post, I can say he speaks for many who actually work to serve people on these “special occasions” who turn into totally different people… and not people that anyone (who is self-respecting) actually wants to be around. People who disrespect the work of their servers/bartenders because it’s a holiday and they’re unaware of their surroundings make it a miserable night for SO many people who just want to go out and enjoy themselves responsibly. Just drink responsibly and have some awareness of people around you. If you are someone who does this already, you have no reason to be concerned or offended by the author’s tone of voice.

    • hockeyandbeers

      Paddy’s not Patty’s day

      • eh.

        tomato, tomato… no need to be offended.

      • Deadite

        Get off your Paddy wagon!

  • Greg

    I wish more people would write articles like this. St. Patrick’s Day is an embarrassment to those who make a hobby or profession out of alcoholic beverages.

  • Yup

    I appreciate this post. While I’m with some that this could be taken a wrong way, the stuff in it is the truth. I was debating going out on Sunday for the heck of it, and this reminded me why for awhile I had been deciding to just stay in and drink some cold Black Velvets. For others, it may remind them why they love going out (let’s face it, while we hate the slop-fests, sometimes it’s fun to watch). Others can find that they won’t be the only ones sloppy drunk.

    While everyone can’t find the same tune the article was written for, at least it’s the truth and everyone can grab from it what they want. That is good writing, even if the point is taken to be good.

    On another note, which of the widely-available lines is your favorite cider? Any other decent ones out there worth hunting for?

    • The Beermonger

      I find most widely-available ciders to be too sweet. I’ve been partial to Jack’s since it arrived in VA, and if you can find it I’d recommend it.

  • Erin

    Weird that the author is so sensitive to criticism.

    • Arlington Chris

      I agree, but then again some of the comments were pretty rude.

    • BabyBearStrikesAgain

      I think the comments were especially bad today.

  • Drunkard

    Well I plan to take it to the next level….who’s with me?

    • Wishing for a Liver Donor

      Me and my entire extended family! We will be drunk, loud, and enjoying ourselves, despite the grumps who think extreme celebrating is somehow a shameful thing! For crissakes, stay home if you don’t find it fun, but don’t pout and lay your own rules on us. The people choosing to have fun won’t miss you a bit!

      • Yup

        Some of us like to have fun too without the loud obnoxious drunk spilling his drink all over us, or constantly yelling. There’s multiple degrees of fun and sloppy, rude drunks blow it 9 times out of 10

  • melloknows

    Not to go off topic, but was doing a search for Irish craft beers and there seems to be next to nothing. Guiness is great and all, but I’m surprised to see hardly any Irish brewers trying to fill the void.

    • The Beermonger

      Was talking to someone about that today at the shop. Seems odd, but eventually someone will take up the cause.

    • hoser

      I was in Ireland last year and thought the same thing. There is a small brewpub chain called The Porterhouse (that also has a location in NYC), but I had trouble finding anything that wasn’t Guinness, Smithwicks, Kilkenny, Harp, or Budweiser/Carling/Carlsberg. And ask any bartender for a recommendation, and they look at you like you have 3 eyes, as if you need anything other than a Guinness.

      Galway Hooker was the only other Irish “craft” beer that I could find, and it was pretty good. Hard to find over there, though, and not distributed in the US. http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/16414/39694

      • melloknows

        Thanks for the insight. Possibly going to Dublin in the fall. Will have to make the customary stop at Guinness, but hopefully can also check out The Porterhouse and a good beer bar.



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