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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.

Kenneally's Irish Pub2111 S. Shepherd, 713-630-0486

When you put the words "Irish Pub" in your name, you know you have to throw one hell of a St. Patrick's bash with all the trimmings. The parking lot will be roped off so they can offer more food and beer. Bagpipers and other live music will be going on throughout the day, so dance a jig and revel in the malarkey. 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. $10.

Leon's Lounge1006 McGowan, 713-659-3052

Leon's is a place to drink all year round, so you know they won't go wrong here for this Irish holiday. They're having a grand reopening party, too, so check out the changes and enjoy great drink specials.

Live Sports Cafe407 Main, 713-228-5483

www.livesportscafe.com

Why just celebrate the Irish one day of the year? This sports cafe will have a three-day St. Paddy's blowout starting on Thursday and ending Saturday. 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday. No cover and great drink specials.

McElroy's Pub3607 S. Sandman, 713-524-2444

Take a step onto the isle in this cozy Irish pub. Packed with tradition, it's sure to offer a genuine St. Patrick's Day experience.

McGonigel's Mucky Duck2425 Norfolk, 713-528-5999

www.mcgonigels.com

Not many places can say they've been named one of the top ten in the U.S. to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by USA Today, but these guys can. They know how to embrace all of Celtic culture with music, food and, of course, Guinness. Entertainment starts at noon and will include The Irish Session Players, The Celtic Gypsies, O'Maoileidigh Irish Dancers and many more. $15 entry.

The Mezzanine Lounge2200 Southwest Freeway, Suite 150

713-528-6399

www.mezzaninelounge.com

These guys know March isn't just about the Irish, but also about college basketball. Down $1 green beers and watch the games starting at 11 a.m. Stick around for karaoke and live music from the Pasty White Boys. $3 drinks.

Miller Outdoor Theatre281-FREE-FUN

www.milleroutdoortheatre.com

The Irish aren't known only for their drinking abilities, but also for their dancing. The Trinity Irish Dance Company will give a free performance and show what the little isle knows about fancy footwork. 8 p.m.

O'Malley's Stage Door Pub2022 Post Office Street, Galveston

409-763-1731

www.mollyspubs.com/omalleys.html

If you can't make it off the island, then head to an authentic Irish pub near the beach. During the last decade, this one has become a favorite for its 100 different beers and full-service deli.

Onion Creek Coffeehouse3106 White Oak, 713-880-0706

Start your St. Patrick's Day early with this all-day celebration. It isn't just about beer here; there will also be crawfish to eat and other munchies done Houston-style. No cover and beer specials.

Pub Fiction2303 Smith Street, 713-400-8400

www.pubfiction.com

These guys had so much fun last year that they want to do it again. Join in the fun for the second annual St. Patrick's Day March Madness Blowout. They're roping off the parking lot to present live bands, but will have a DJ inside the bar. Entry is $5 and green beers will be flowin' for $3.50 all day long. 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.

RocbarBayou Place, 530 Texas Avenue

713-236-1100

www.myspace.com/rocbartx

The Irish aren't all about singing songs about lost lasses and, um, drinking. You can rock and roll at this St. Paddy's party from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Shay McElroy's Irish Pub909 Texas Avenue

Suite A, 713-223-2444

On this day when everyone is seeing green, you have to stop in a traditional pub. Start the day out at 11 a.m. in a pub that knows all about the Irish.

Sherlock's & Baker St. Pub & GrillVarious locations

www.sherlockspub.com

www.bakerstreetpub.com

All locations across Houston will be hosting huge "Who's Your Patty" celebrations today. Expect the green beer to flow and Irish-inspired food at all locations. The largest parking lot event will be held at the Sherlock's located at 10001 Westheimer from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., with Rat Ranch, Adrenaline and Downcry providing live entertainment

Slainte Irish Pub509 Main, 713-222-1033

After the parade, head over to this bar to soak in more Irish spirits surrounded by old-world charm.

Slider's Bar1424 Westheimer, 713-528-2788

www.slidersbar.com

They still claim to have the best daiquiris in town, so why not see what they cook up for St. Pat's? Join special guest "Kermit" for the It's Not Easy Being Green Party. Drink specials all day. No cover. 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Springfest888-U-STOP-IN

www.shopspringtexas.com

Put a little Texas Spring in your Irish celebration at the ninth annual Springfest. Not only will there be beer, but also tasting stations for Texas wine as well as art and food.

St. Patrick Church1010 35th Street, Galveston Island

409-762-9646

www.saintpatrickgalveston.org

Here's a place to start drinking early, and it'll be okay to have the kids along. There will be green beer, authentic Irish stew for everyone and even attractions for the kids. Maybe you'll get lucky and find a four-leaf clover sticking out from the sand. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Warehouse Live813 St. Emanuel Street, 713-225-LIVE

www.warehouselive.com

If the idea of drinking green beer doesn't get you out of the house, then head over to catch a great concert with RJD2 instead. Doors open at 8 p.m., show's at 9 p.m.

Sunday, March 18

29th Annual Houston's Great Northwest St. Patrick's Day ParadeWells Fargo Bank, Houston

281-537-9106, www.1960parade.com

If you can't stop the party on Sunday, then head out to Champions Forest for yet another St. Patrick's Day parade. It doesn't start until 2 p.m., so you can be sure to sleep off your hangover and have one more day of being Irish. Last year there were more than 100 entries and 75,000 in attendance, so you can expect to be entertained. The parade route begins at the Wells Fargo parking lot on the corner of Champions Forest Drive and FM 1960 and closes at the corner of FM 1960 and Kuykendahl.

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