Toast to the Emerald Coast

The Irish might prefer a stout, but the St. Patrick's Day drink of choice outside the Emerald Isle seems to be something in green. We offer a few alternatives to green-dyed beer.

Americans love to party, but they don't always get it quite right.

For example, a couple of years ago, I left the sunny state of Florida to visit my best friend in Boston.

Although not planned, I arrived just in time for St. Patrick's Day. (The luck o' the Irish must have rubbed off on me.) Bostonians venerate this holiday like no other I've ever seen.

We waited more than an hour that night to get into a normally no-cover-charge Irish pub. We fretted and avoided direct eye contact with a guy who donned a two-foot tall, green, foam Irish top hat and pinched people. We hoped we weren't going to be his next victim.

We finally reached the doorman, paid the whopping $20 cover charge and crossed the threshold into a dense ocean of sweaty, inebriated people. My first true Irish celebration was under way, but as I recently learned, not necessarily the way the Irish do it.

For starters, the Irish prefer a tasty Guinness to any green concoction. Secondly, they don't sport around in huge green, foam hats on St. Patrick's Day. Thirdly, beer is such a staple among the Celtic culture, no one would dream of paying a $20 cover charge to get into a pub. And lastly, just how did this pinching thing get started?

We have definitely Americanized this holiday, but Irish or not, it's all about having fun. Since green is the order of the day, let's toast our friends from the Emerald Isle in vogue. 

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