3. No Iconic Irish Community: East Coast cities are known for their gritty, urban toughness and large Irish populations. Boston has made a cottage industry out of its hardcore Irish-ness recently in films with imposing titles like The Departed, The Town, and The Fighter. New York has a long and colorful Irish history that dates back to the mid 19th century. If there is an Irish population in Los Angeles, I haven’t seen it. If it exists at all, it’s probably spread out all over the city. We don’t have a hardscrabble Irish enclave like Southie or the Five Points or an identifiable figure like John F. Kennedy or Bill the Butcher. The closest most of us can get to an authentic Irish experience is going to a bar with an O’ in the name, which may or may not be owned by real Irish. Which brings me to my next point:
With all due respect to the proud Irish Americans who helped build this nation and now call our fair city home, St. Patrick’s Day in L.A. kinda sucks. When you look at East Coast cities like Chicago or Boston, where the entire city seems to shut down for the festivities, our version seems even more pathetic. It’s not like we don’t know how to do a big drinking holiday – look at Halloween. We’re just not a St-Patty’s-Day-friendly town. Here’s why:
5. It’s Amateur Hour: While it’s true that this comes into play on every drinking holiday, there’s something about St. Patty’s Day that transcends even the amateur level of, say, a New Year’s Eve. Maybe it’s the quirky appeal of green beer, or the irresistible 3-for-1 specials, or good old fashioned peer pressure, but the rookies come out in droves. It’s kind of a bad time to dabble, as whiskey and Guinness are not for beginners. You have a lot of kids out there slamming Irish Car Bombs for the very first time. This is not good for anyone.
4. The Drive Factor: In pedestrian friendly cities like Chicago, New York, and even San Francisco, people can wander the streets arm-in-arm, stumbling amiably from bar to bar getting progressively drunker until they walk themselves home in a stupor and harmlessly pass out. In Los Angeles, unless you live within walking distance of a bar, somebody has to drive. The sheer increase of people on the road plus the aforementioned amateur factor makes for some seriously dumbass driving. On the other hand, at least every cop in town will be out as well, either on the prowl or manning a DUI checkpoint, which is either a plus or minus depending on your perspective. On a night where the cops and the drunks will be battling all night long, it just seems like tempting fate to throw yourself into the middle of the war.
2. All the Irish Bars Here Suck: There, I said it. With a couple of notable exceptions (Molly Malone’s on Fairfax comes to mind) most of the Irish bars in L.A. are irredeemable shitholes. I realize that’s part of the appeal, but what’s worse is that they all feel like the exact same shithole. Some of them even have the same name (I’m talking to you, O’Briens!) These shitholes are all over town and include Casey’s, Brennans, O’Grady’s, O’Haras (formerly Maloney’s) Cock N’Bull, Sonny McLeans, McG’s, and Finn McCool’s (you can’t just add “Mc-” to any word you want and call yourself Irish.) Every single one of them has the same cheesedick Guinness posters, depressing dartboards, and the same smell, like someone freshly spilled a beer the moment before you walked in. Maybe I’m still bitter that they shut Dublin’s down three years ago, but that place at least knew how to go big or go home. And finally,
1. People Like This:
And this (actually this one’s not so bad):
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!