It is that time of year again. The time of year when, all-of-a-sudden, Americans far and wide become Irish.
Just like Cinco de Mayo, there is one reason for born and bred Americans to love March 17, which is not a recognized national holiday. It gives us the perfect excuse to drink all day.
Most of us have not considered that it is a religious holiday celebrating the patron saint of Ireland on the day of his death. Saint Patrick was Roman missionary that returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity.
Does that make you feel guilty for wearing green blinking Bud Light necklaces? Probably not, unless you are Catholic.
While the day does have significant historical value, we have turned it into a parade of debauchery, drunkenness and gaudy trinkets.
It is a great day to have a good time.
Where To Drink
Can we all agree that, just because the sign on the front of the building says “Irish Pub” that does not mean that it has any tie to Ireland, the Irish drinks or the vibe that an Irish Pub was built around?
The pubs in Ireland are community staples. Often called “the local”, the pub means something. It is where people meet to discuss matters of politics, religion, literature, sports and anything else under the sun. It is comfortable. It is cozy. Music is an important part of the atmosphere. The drinks are locally Irish.
So the places where the waitresses wear kilts and blare top 40 hits while they serve you giant domestic beers and fruity shots are the farthest thing from an “Irish pub” that you can get. Aside from the plaid, they have nothing to do with Ireland or its culture.
If you want a real Irish pub, there are a couple to choose from here in Myrtle Beach. My favorite is a tucked away place in North Myrtle Beach.
Flynn’s Irish Tavern (421 Main St., North Myrtle Beach) is by far one of the most authentic pubs on the beach. The atmosphere is reminiscent of the old local pubs and it caters to the local crowd.
From the Guinness Beef Stew to the Banger and Mash, the food is as on point as the drinks. There are four beers that determine a true Irish Pub. Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s and Magner’s Cider are the pride of Irish taps. Flynn’s serves them all.
When it comes to whiskey, which is also an Irish pub requirement, Flynn’s boasts a wide selection. According to their website, 46 Irish whiskey labels to be exact. Friends, this is the real deal.
Get a proper pint and a shot of whiskey if you must celebrate St. Patricks Day. To be honest, this is a place to visit all year long. Flynn’s sticks to the purpose of being the local in North Myrtle Beach.
I welcome input from the Yelp “experts” provided the place you suggest can meet the strict criteria that Flynn’s establishes. There is a big difference between serving Guinness and serving a “proper Guinness”.
What To Drink
As I mentioned, there are some staple Irish drinks that are as festive as they are delicious.
First rule. An “Irish Car Bomb”, as the shot is named, is, in fact, quite insulting to a lot of Irish citizens. It is named after a turbulent time in history of car bombings in Ireland. While it may be “all in good fun”, it is not polite.
How would you feel if there were a 9-11 shot? Or a Boston Marathon shot? Or a Columbine shot? An Isis shot? You get the point.
Second rule. Beer is a must. Guinness is the nectar of Ireland. Some call it “God’s nectar”. An Irish dry stout that has a signature pour, look and taste. It is the most common tip of the hat to Ireland. If you need a light beer, Harp Lager is the Irish version of a much better Budweiser. The middle of the road is the newest import called Smithwick’s Irish Ale. For the sweeter side of life, A Magner’s Irish Cider will cure the cravings.
If you want to really mix things up, order a half and half. Half Guinness and half Smithwick’s is the true blend, but some might substitute Harp for Smithwick’s. This is not to be confused with a Black and Tan, which can also be insulting to the Irish for historic war time reasons.
Those are pretty much the choices if you want to flex your Irish beer muscles.
Third rule. Irish whiskey is delicious. The only acceptable mixer for Irish whiskey is ice. Period. End of story. I do not care what you like, if you can not handle your booze, drink a beer. Straight up or on the rocks. That is all you have.
There you have it. The guidelines for how to be a good, supportive American during the Irish celebration. If you are just looking for a reason to get wasted during the day, the least you can do is to keep your imbibing insults to yourself. Otherwise, just stay home because you are not even Irish.
But, if you are lucky, you might meet someone who is while you are enjoying the drinks of their heritage.