Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Green beer and green bikinis

Charlotte's Guinness supply is in severe depletion after a weekend of St. Patrick's Day festivities.

Photos by Wendy Yang --

It all started with Rich and Bennett's 9th Annual St. Patrick's Day Pub Crawl on Saturday, when chilly temperatures and a steady rain didn't deter thousands from turning out. In fact, the guys smashed last year's record number of crawlers. More than 4,900 people participated this year -- turning uptown into a sea of orange T-shirts -- compared to a little more than 3,500 last year. (See pics here.) The bar crawl, which was filmed by the Travel Channel this year, is quickly making Charlotte a go-to destination for St. Pat's.

And the parties continued last night:

Galway Hooker
The line to get into the Lake Norman Irish pub held steady all day and well into the night. The owner told me the place was at capacity starting as early as 10 a.m. and stayed that way throughout the day. Outside in the tented Leprechaun Lounge, revelers took on a greenish tint thanks to green lights and the plethora of green Bud Light bottles scattered among the tables and on the ground.

Inside, Kenny Floyd held the crowd's attention by being his own one-man band, playing a mix that included "Hotel California" and "What Is Love." My friends and I also discovered what men really wear under those kilts (fast-forward to the end of "Braveheart" for the answer). Downgrade: The "VIP" party upstairs cost $50 and wasn't nearly as fun as the festivities below -- even if there was a buffet.

Fox & Hound
The uptown sports bar traded its giant projection screen for something much smaller -- the Teeny Weeny Green Bikini contest -- and got a bigger crowd than usual.

Not sure what tiny bikinis have to do with St. Patrick's Day, but the drooling men in the audience weren't complaining.

Over at RiRa, I was eagerly expecting to hear some authentic Irish music, being that it's, you know, an Irish pub. No such luck. Instead, a cover band played generic rock songs at an ear-piercing decibel level in a room that felt (and smelled) like the Dowd YMCA at 6 p.m. on a Monday.

In fact, I didn't hear any traditional Irish tunes at any of the bars I stopped into Tuesday. (When I walked by Connolly's later in the night, the tent was shaking to the sounds of Nelly.) I understand that it's probably not what most people want to hear, but it'd be festive to at least mix in a tune or two every hour or so.

And while I'm griping: What's up with bars charging $5 or $10 covers on St. Patrick's Day? It's as though they get greedy with the thought of a booming Tuesday night, and rather than be content with the increase in business and alcohol sales, they charge partygoers even more. Is it greed or smart business?

Speaking of not-so-smart business, my friends and I were disappointed that our late-night food cravings couldn't be satisfied with a trip to Pita Pit or Fuel -- both were closed. Seriously? On St. Patrick's Day?

I'll be posting more party pix on Thursday, and you can check out video of my night out here.

Where did you guys party this weekend? Best/worst St. Pat's party?


Anonymous said...

"...a cover band played generic rock songs at an ear-piercing decibel level in a room that felt (and smelled) like the Dowd YMCA at 6 p.m. on a Monday."

That's called having a good time at most nightclubs...

Anonymous said...

O'Sheas in Ballantyne had two Irish bands all inside and one outside. It was a fun and crowded celebration of the Irish.

Anonymous said...

The guys look better than the horse face girls in the bikinis.

patrick d said...

A cover charge at a bar is stupid any night, especially during the week. They should have known better.

Anonymous said...

Tattoes are so slimy. Technically St Patrick was NOT Irish but British but was kidanpped and taken as a slave to Ireland when he was only 16 and forced tend sheep and goats. He later escaped and went back to Britain.
The 1st St Pattys day celebration was 100 yrs ago in Boston.
This whole St Pattys day deal with green beer and Irish thing is a farce but what the hell ... some people will celebrate a fart.

Anonymous said...

What is a tattoes?

Anonymous said...

Blackfinn's DJ BOSS AUSTIN was mixing in some irish tunes with the regular stuff. We definitely heard "Danny Boy", along with some DropKick Murphys songs. He did some St. Patty's Day Trivia too.

Anonymous said...

I expected alot more people to be out downtown. I guess it being a Tuesday. I too, was mad there was no food to be found at 2am

Anonymous said...

The cover charge was a genius business decision. 1) Lots of people would be showing up and 2) since it was holiday-themed, a lot of people already made plans with friends and a $5 cover wasnt going to deter people once they were already at the bar.

The idea of a bikini contest in this day and age with cell phone cameras and youtube...that would creep me out! but it looks like everyone had a good time :)

Anonymous said...

Actually, Connolly's had Irish music blasting inside all Tuesday night. It was great! I was a tad bit upset that we got there just after the Irish dancers had left though. I think the non-Irish music was only being played outside. I didn't get charged a cover there either. Good times!

Anonymous said...

Holiday Inn Center City had a GREAT client appreciation party w/ a St. Patty's theme!!! Awesome! 4 different reception areas with food, beer/wine and irish music!! Great time!

Anonymous said...

The DJ in the tent at Connolly's also played traditional Irish music as well as more contemporary stuff like U2, Pogues, Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphy's. The music turned to more Top 40 as the night went on. Top 40 got the people dancing a bit more than the Dubliners or Clancy Brothers.

Anonymous said...

The cover is to keep people with no money from walking in and stealing someones drink or purse. Unfortunately a few people want to ruin a good time for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Suite was the spot to be at Tuesday Night.Drinks were pouring and ladies were looking beautiful. St. Patty's is just an excuse to get wasted on a weekday for me LOL.