St. Patrick's Day eats

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

For those about to shamrock, we salute you! Yup, it's time again to strap on your crusty "Kiss me, I'm Irish" pin and make a public disgrace of yourself.

So you'll amble in to one of those teeming, trying-too-hard, oversized, corporate Irish-themed beer halls packed with "Pattys for a day" spastically trying to cram into eccentric -and not very comfortable - seating. Then you'll proceed to: pretend you actually like Celtic music; drink way too much; eat way too little; perform a panic-filled Riverdance while waiting in a punishingly long line to the bathroom.

And after all that fun, you've earned the right to stumble outside and try to flag down a cab to take you from that gigantic, tourist-trappy Irish tavern back to your home clear across town. By the time you've annoyed the cabbie with an unintentional Charlie Sheen impersonation, paid your bar tab plus cab fare - approximately the price of a one-way ticket to the real Ireland - it's time to declare another St. Patrick's Day Mission O'Accomplished. Sound good?

Well I'm here to say it doesn't have to be that way. Furthermore, not all Irish pubs are created equal. In other words, I know a few Guinnessy establishments that more genuinely preserve the meeting-house spirit of the real deal by being true neighborhoody hangouts that evolved naturally. These are quaint, comfy and inviting little places where lots of recognizable regulars - and quickly converted new ones -can get decent eats and Irish drinks then simply dance a happy little jig on their merry way home (when fortunate enough to live in the 'hood).

What's more, these bastions of Bushmill, these Jameson juice-joints, these Harp-tuned halls are always available for the same kind of convivial fun every day of the year.

In fact, considering that even neighborhoody pubs will undoubtedly be jammed and completely McNutso on March 17, I'm going to suggest you get your Irish up in them any day but St. Patrick's Day (of course, that doesn't mean I'll heed my own advice). Anyway, here's a peek at three Irish pubs where bartenders actually know the names of their loyal patrons.