2011 San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Clement Street Bar Crawl
March 17th, 2011 was a gorgeous Northern California Day. There was a slight chill in the air but the sun was shining and it’s warmth cast gingerly over me. I decided early that morning that I was going to frequent my favorite watering holes on the stretch I like to refer to as “The Clement”. It’s actually the Inner Richmond District of San Francisco…six to one and half dozen to the other!
There is a bevy of Irish pubs in the district and some of the best in the country in my humble opinion. I started early, as I am a pro and know the ropes. The theory is to get in, see the sites and get out before the hipster doofus crowd shows up. Notice I said theory. It is a brilliant plan but rarely ever followed. After a few beers the plan gets scraped and the party begins! It’s St. Patty’s Day and there is a lot of beer to drink!
I started at Ireland’s 32 on Geary and they were the only bar on the crawl serving proper pints in glass. Plastic is so gauche! But drunks have a tendency to break glassware so safe is always better than sorry. Just one pint here!
I wandered down the street to the Abbey and the lure of live music drew me in. There was a guy jamming some Steve Miller on an acoustic so I stuck around for two Guinness’ here. (can you see a pattern here?)
It was 3 o’clock and I decided to stroll on over to my favorite SF bar…The Bitter End. I peaked in the window and saw no one. They were holding true to themselves. They would hold off and open at their normal time, 4 o’clock. This was perfect. I decided to head on over to the truest of the true. The Plough and Stars in the epitome of Irish pubs. No bullshit. This is where old Irish men go to drink. Three beers on tap…Harp, Guinness and Bud (I know…I know!) The seating is picnic style and the music is Gaelic. Let’s just say you don’t go here to order a margarita. Actually the bartender would tell you she no longer works here. I digress, I started here at 3:15…walked out at 8. I decided to leave when it took me longer to order the beer than it did to drink it. The three piece band (flute, fiddle and guitar) was jamming and all were drunk and happy! There was dancing and singing and drinking and laughing. If there had been a fight I would have thought we were in Ireland!
I was weary but I had to do a beer at my favorite spot. A trooper, indeed. The Bitter End was calling my name and I would heed her call! It was packed and the Stones were blaring on the jukebox. I somehow managed to belly up to the premier spot at the bar. I ordered a Guinness and after that it all got fuzzy. Let’s just say I made some friends along the way…a smile goes a long way in San Francisco and before I knew it I was drinking shots of Jameson for free. I had held off all night on the whisky. I know how to play the game…but they say the first thing to go when drinking is your judgment. Yup…They are right again! I’d love to finish off the evening with some crazy story but I really can’t recall. I do remember taking the 38 Geary home and singing to the Drive by Trucker’s “Shut Your Mouth and Get on the Plane” while wearing sunglasses. I must have been a sight. Then again…it’s SF, St. Patrick’s Day and I was feeling fantastic! Erin go bragh!