Happy Hour Scene: McElroy's Pub
The woman wearing green devil horns on her head was trying to answer our question, but we could barely hear her over all the noise in McElroy's Pub. We had seen the woman dancing outside a few minutes earlier, and she was dancing with a man wearing a green Dr. Seuss top hat, so she seemed like the person we needed to talk to.
"Because this is a great bar. It's my favorite bar, I come here all the time," the woman said after we asked her why so many people crammed into McElroy's, just because it was St. Patrick's Day. "This is the best day of the year."
The question first occurred to us while we were standing in line to pay a $5 cover to get into a bar with little room to move.
Asking around, it seemed like everyone, other than the woman with green devil horns, was at McElroy's because their friends wanted to go or because someone at work suggested it. Then we saw a piece of paper taped to the wall that said McElroy's had the best pint of Guinness in Houston.
We didn't have much luck finding the reasoning behind that, either.
The first several bartenders we asked how, exactly, do you make the best pint of Guinness, told us that they didn't even work at McElroy's, so they didn't know. They were just St. Patty's reinforcements.
When we finally found a bartender that was a McElroy's regular, he said, "Because we're an authentic Irish pub."
Besides handing out loads of green beads and plastic shamrocks, McElroy's also celebrated the day by hosting a live band that seemed better suited for a Mardi Gras party, not St. Patrick's Day. The crowd out back seemed to enjoy the band's version of "Mary Jane" and "Love Shack."
During normal happy hours, which run from 3 to 8 p.m. on weeknights at McElroy's, the prices aren't the best in town but decent. Lone Star bottles are $2.50 and there are daily drink specials like $3 Shiner and $4 Guinness.
But McElroy's is a cool bar, especially on non-St. Patrick's Days. There's more than enough space, indoor and outside, so, during past trips, the place has never felt too packed, and the crowd never seemed too obnoxious. Except on one day of the year.
"You get a lot of people that don't normally go out and drink, so they get really drunk or don't tip right," a waitress told us about St.Patrick's Day. "It can kind of be like amateur hour."
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