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St. Patrick's Day Guide

Sleep in today and wake up ready to imbibe. You have no excuse for missing out on the biggest drinking day of the year. Start it off at the parade or an Irish brunch -- either way it'll be the start of a big day of drinking, dancing, kissing and digging out the 1/100th of you that's Irish. If Irish luck is with you, you might even see a leprechaun or two you can follow to a big ol' pot of gold. Sláinte! -- Melissa Richter Griff's3416 Roseland, 713-528-9912

www.griffshouston.com

Even though Griff's claims to be Houston's oldest sports bar, they still know how to party like they're barely legal. They have one of the best, and oldest, St. Patrick's Day parties to prove it. A one-day celebration isn't enough for this crowd. It all kicks off on Friday, March 9, with the 25th annual Greater Houston Irish Open Golf tournament. March 10 brings the Irish Stew Cook-off, which runs all afternoon, with music through the night. Take Sunday to recover and head back to drinking on Monday, March 12, with the Old Timers as they get together to remind themselves how much fun they used to have. Tuesday, March 13, is a festival steak night. Wednesday, the ladies rest up for the Paddy's Day Queen Contest on Thursday, March 15. And, finally, the day o' days -- Saturday, March 17, brings the annual St. Patrick's Day parade with music, beer and friends. All day and night, of course. Get your tickets early.

Friday, March 16

Toyota Center1510 Polk Street, 713-758-7200

www.houstontoyotacenter.com

To us dumb Americans, the Scottish and Irish are just the same. Who can tell the accents apart anyway? The Episcopal School Pipe Band is here to present the 44th annual Scottish Festival Journey to the Skye. Where else will you see 300 pipers, drummers and dancers? 8 p.m. $15–$25. Tickets available at www.toyotacentertix.com, 1-866-4HOUTIX and select area Randall's locations.

Saturday, March 17

The 48th Annual St. Patrick's Day ParadeDowntown Houston

www.saintpatricksdayparade.com/houston

It's only once every seven years that this parade is actually held on St. Patrick's Day. With a little luck of the Irish, the St. Patrick's Day Parade could be one of the best ones yet. Leap with the leprechauns, pipe along with the pipers and kiss anyone who's Irish. The parade starts at noon, which is a perfectly decent hour to start drinking.

6th Street and Studemont in the HeightsTeetotalers founded the Heights, but times are a-changin'. The corner of 6th Street and Studemont is quickly becoming a place to party, and they're out to prove it this drinking season. Fitzgerald's, 6th Street Bar & Grill, Beer Island, Jimmy's Icehouse, Heights Sports Bar and Onion Creek will have live music, drink specials and no cover all night. Take a cab and walk from bar to bar. Maybe you'll get lucky and find a nice lassie to take home.

6th Street Bar and Grill2701 White Oak, 713-880-5999

The Irish are so lucky to have a bar celebrate them for 12 hours at the St. Pat's Party of the Year. From 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. there'll be nonstop music, drink specials and giveaways.

702 Patio Bar702 W. Dallas, 713-654-8040

www.702houston.com

The luck of the Irish will guarantee that this party will be leaping. Enjoy live music, DJ Bi-Polar and drink specials from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. $5 cover.

Brian O'Neill's5555 Morningside Drive, 713-522-2603

www.brianoneills.com

You know the best place to go for an Irish celebration is an Irish pub, and Brian O'Neill's is sure to bring out the Irish in you with its all-day celebration. Start your drinking at 8:30 a.m. with an Irish breakfast and live entertainment. Hang around for more good eats and drinks, with entertainment by Murder the Stout and O'Maoileidigh Dancers. Finally, start the night strong with Cass Irish Dancers at 6 p.m. By this time, you should be able to dance with them.

Champp's1121 Uptown Park, 713-627-2333

These guys claim to have a leprechaun, so you know some serious drinking must be involved. Enjoy the green beer with a free steamship buffet from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., which will include yummy corned beef and cabbage.

Comedy Sportz901 Town & Country Boulevard

713-868-1444

St. Paddy's day isn't all about drinking with the Irish -- it's also about laughing at them. What makes less sense than a short, bearded, old man who wears a buckle on his hat pinching you inappropriately simply because you're not wearing a specific color? Get a $2 discount for wearing green. (A four-leaf clover pin will not cut it.)

The Harp1625 Richmond, 713-528-7827

This laid-back pub will be sure to offer fun for the big day without feeling over the top.

Jet Lounge1515 Pease, 713-659-2000

www.thejetlounge.com

If you've heard enough bagpipes for the day, then head to Jet Lounge for DJ D'lux spinning hip-hop, Latin abstract, house and funk. No screeching dead cats here. Doors open at 9 p.m. $7 cover for 21 and up.

JP Hops House2317 S. Highway 6, 281-496-0623

www.jphopshouse.com

Drink to your heart's content of green beer and sing along with live music from O'Smythe and O'Taylor.

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