Of green beer and leprechauns


The Carillon’s picks for the seven bars you should frequent this St. Patrick’s Day

Kyle Leitch, Autumn McDowell, Jonathan Petrychyn, John Cameron, Neil Adams, Paul Bogdan, Mason Pitzel
James Joyce enthusiasts

This one’s obvious. Everybody in Regina who is legally entitled to quaff tall frosty ones has done so in the city’s premiere Irish pub. But as an Irish pub, Bro’Han’s takes its St. Patrick’s day celebrations so seriously that it held a practice run this year – cheekily advertised as “St. Practice Day” – so you owe it to yourself to give the place a shot for your St. Paddy’s drinking at least once. Enough green fabric to keep a sweatshop worker in finger pain for life and perfectly poured, leather-black Guinness with a shamrock design woven into the foamy head makes for a pretty perfect way to celebrate the patron saint of engineers. And though its crowds have become obnoxiously bro-heavy in recent years, O’Hanlon’s still feels homey even at its rowdiest; it’s as much a place to sit down and have a good, worthwhile conversation as it is a place to get drunk so hard that you throw up off a balcony. /JC

I stumble into the bar already half-corked. “Big Fat” Pat O’Malley sits in the corner, slamming down green beer like it’s water. The bartender and waiters are singing “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral” both loudly and off-key. This infuriates me and I order my first green ale. The shortest man in the bar, whose name I do not catch, is being forced to do a terrible Riverdance at shillelagh-point, much to the amusement of the patrons. Too Ra, as I’ve christened the waiter serving me, cannot bring the green beer fast enough.  Several hours later, I stumble out of Cheers, a string of green beads swinging proudly from my neck. Truly there has never been a better time to pretend I was Irish than Saint Patrick’s Day at Cheers. /KL

The Pump
What do you get when you cross a leprechaun with a cowboy? The Pump on St. Patrick’s Day. Although The Pump is greasy no matter what day you decide two-step with a stranger on its incredibly small dance floor, it is particularly so on St. Patty’s Day. There are some things that just don’t belong together, namely cowboys and leprechauns. Have  you ever seen a cowboy in a green plaid shirt? On the flipside, have you ever seen a leprechaun in a cowboy hat? These are serious questions. The majority of people probably answered “no,” unless you began your St. Patrick’s Day celebration early and are currently drunk. At the end of the night, if you happen to find yourself at The Pump on March 17, you better hope that you are right plastered – otherwise, you will remember being there. /AM

St. Patrick’s Day at the GLCR will probably be, if most of its patrons don’t stumble over to O’Hanlon’s, the gayest party in the city in every sense of the word. On a typical Saturday at the city’s only “gay bar,” you can find its tiny dance floor and lounge filled with people drinking a couple beer quietly in the corner, smoking a cigarette on the patio, or just getting dirty on the dancefloor. And, because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll probably have lots of people dressed up as slutty leprechauns, which is always a plus if you’re the type who goes to a bar to ogle the eye candy. Its drink specials – including a $2 “lucky shamrock” shooter – are only on from 7 to 10 p.m, so to take advantage of that sweet deal. Consider making the GLCR your first stop on your inevitable St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl/bender. /JP

The only thing going on St. Patrick’s Day weekend at the Pure Ultra Lounge is a pubcrawl that finishes there on Friday, March 16. St. Patrick’s Day will be “a normal Saturday”, and thus “busy as fuck,” as one of the bartenders said to me. Pro-tip: show up at 9:45 p.m. (like I did) and you probably won’t have to pay a cover charge, because no one even watches the door at that time. Just don’t forget your sunglasses. T as the lights on the dance floor are pretty bright, –  at least that’s my reasoning why else would for thea dude be wearing his sunglasses inside the club?. If dancing to house music with unnecessary amounts of dubstep isn’t your thing, you can always watch people on the TVs and live vicariously through the people having way more fun than you. /PB

Neighbourhood Pub
Here we have the lowest-key venue on the list. While the others aim for some sort of club vibe – certain nights of the week, at least, and definitely on St. Patrick’s Day – this bar keeps to its namesake aesthetic year-round. Neighbourhood Pub isn’t a dive, but rather the north-end Smitty’s approximation of one. The room is aglow with blacklight, though the patrons are decidedly far from partying. You can take in your yearly-recommended dose of VLTs and Bob Seger inside an hour. You can ask for bourbon, be told they don’t serve bourbon, and then spot a bottle of Jim Beam behind the bar on your way out. But most importantly, it’s quiet, unassuming, and charming in its way. It’s the perfect venue for anyone looking to spend the night away from anything too young or adventurous, or anyone who wants to follow a St. Patrick’s Day showing of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance with a few pints next door. /MP

The Owl
A very loud man keeps apologizing to me for “party rocking” and I keep telling him to go away. Nacho cheese and diced tomatoes are raining down from the balcony onto the dance floor. Someone is screaming, “You are nachos, this is food now.” No officer, I didn’t see who threw the first onion. Yes officer, I am aware that gambling on NCAA basketball is illegal and I am very sorry. There is a man urinating in the sink in the ladies room singing “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral.” He must be lost. If you rolled all the bouncers into a ball, their mass would rival that of a neutron star and that makes me feel safe. One of them, I think his name was Ben, or Benton, or Benny, or Benn just gave me a hug and everything is okay now. /NA

[Full disclosure: Neil Adams works at the Owl.]

FIVE: Why green beer is green

Devil Sweat
Since absinthe is just Lucifer’s piss, doesn’t it make sense that a much milder green intoxicant would be a milder bodily fluid?

After the nuclear disaster, it wasn’t like the sewer systems of Chernobyl just disappeared. All of that now-toxic waste had to go somewhere; into the glasses of fucked-in-half-drunk North Americans was as good a place as any.

The Mint
Have you ever noticed that the $20 bills of yesteryear have a different colour of green to them than those of today? The Canadian Mint had to find a way to rid itself of the excess stock of green dye. To the breweries it went!

Chlorophyll is registered as a food additive (colorant) and its E number is E140. Chefs use chlorophyll to colour a variety of foods and beverages green, such as pasta and absinthe. Chlorophyll is not soluble in water and it is first mixed with a small quantity of vegetable oil to obtain the desired solution.

Japan’s Chief Export
People will pay high prices for a jar of the slime of the tentacle monsters that violate innocent Japanese schoolgirls on a semi-regular basis (according to the Internet). And if bars sell that stuff in a mug, they can charge double because it’s an imported draught.

Kyle Leitch

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