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Green Living
Just in time for St. Paddy's Day, here are Houston's Top 5 Irish bars.

Angelica Leicht

5. SHAY MCELROY'S IRISH PUB

This downtown pub is legitimately Irish — owner John McElroy had the bar flown in from Dublin — and will make you feel as if you're back across the pond. The fenced-in patio is not technically in the street, but it still seems like you're brushing shoulders with the business district's foot traffic. The crowd here might appear more reserved than those at other Irish bars, but that should go out the window once the Bushmills or Jameson starts to flow.

909 Texas, mcelroyspub.com

4. KENNEALLY'S IRISH PUB

Good old Kenneally's. We'd love this place whether it was an Irish pub or not, but the fact that it is an Irish pub makes it all the better. If you've never had its epic pizza, perhaps you should try some at Kenneally's 30th Annual St. Paddy's Day Party on Monday. Yep, 30 years. Kenneally's has obviously been ­doing something right.

2111 S. Shepherd, irishpubkenneallys.com

3. MOLLY'S PUB (DOWNTOWN)

Molly's once made Tom Horan's list of the Top 10 Irish Establishments in America, and rightfully so, because it's a true Irish-American pub. The food is fantastic, the drinks are always on special and Molly's is the place to be on St. Paddy's Day. It's packed from floor to, well, second floor with boisterous folks taking in the Irish dancing or downing Blind Russians. You should go, stat.

509 Main

2. LUCKY'S PUB

Lucky's is so built for St. Patrick's Day, it takes two locations to hold the sea of folks who flock to them. The Cypress-area spot is pretty cool, but the massive original just east of downtown simply can't be beat on March 17. Multiple rooms and bars mean plenty of space to squeeze your happy ass into the crowd, but Lucky's also rocks a huge patio if you need some air. With a full four days of festivities (starting Friday) including a golf tournament, green beer, a parade, leprechauns, bagpipers and more, Lucky's has about all the chaos you could ever want in a St. Paddy's party.

801 St. Emanuel, luckyspub.com.

1. GRIFF'S HOUSTON

St. Patrick's Day at Griff's is not a party, it's an institution, with six days of celebrating. With an Irish stew cookoff; St. Paddy's Queen contest; cornhole tournament; and Old Timer's night, with drink specials for the folks who like to sit around reminiscing about what St. Paddy's Day used to be, Griff's is all about the festivities surrounding this holiday. On the actual day, the area around the Montrose bar expands to 100,000 square feet of festivities, including bagpipers, bands, dancing leprechauns and a quantity of green-beer buckets that must be seen (or guzzled) to be believed.

3416 Roseland, griffshouston.net.

For lots more green, see our annual St. Paddy's Day insert after page 28.
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Inquiring Minds

Instant Armadillo Blues
Ohio rockers Buffalo Killers add more firepower for Heavy Reverie.

Bob Ruggiero

For those keeping track of kickass contemporary power trios, you've just lost one of the biggest and best. Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers has added a member, so writers will have to stop their comparisons to Blue Cheer and Mountain.

"Yeah, we added Sven Kahns. He plays second guitar and lap steel," says head Buffalo singer/guitarist Zachary Gabbard. The other longtime Killers are his singer/bassist brother, Andrew Gabbard, and drummer Joseph Sebaali.

"It frees all of us up," he continues. "When we were a three-piece, there was no room to step back for a minute. I feel more relaxed, and it's given everyone else a bit more breathing room."

And indeed, on their upcoming release, Heavy Reverie, the Buffalo Killers continue their crunchy, classic-rock-inspired music that includes bits of psychedelia anchored by Zach's distinctive nasally vocals.

The band approached Heavy Reverie, produced by Jim Wirt, a little bit differently than they did their previous five records. The band has been around since 2006, after the three original Killers dissolved their previous group, garage-rockers Thee Shams.

"We've recorded the previous records pretty much on our own with no one really questioning what we did," Gabbard notes. And while that may seem a slight to Dan Auer­bach, the Black Keys front man has noted his minimal hand in producing the Killers' 2008 LP Let It Ride.

"For this one, it was good to have [Wirt] in the room to push us," says Gabbard. "We got really good takes but kept things simple."

He also says it took all of "five days" to record Heavy Reverie's ten tracks, since they went in "super-rehearsed" on the new material. In fact, the Killers already have another entire record in the can.

"Me and Andy write apart, then bring everything together, and this one was super-quick," Gabbard says. And after the recording, he was thrilled to find out that the tracking console they used was the same one Michael Jackson did demos for Thriller on in his home.

A more physical connection the Buffalo Killers have is with the Black Crowes, who took the Killers out on tour as an opening act in 2007, and the groups have remained close ever since. And since the Crowes's bass player is Sven Pipien, they both have members with that Scandinavian name.

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