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The Procrastinator's Guide to St. Patrick's Day — go beyond green beer

The Procrastinator's Guide to St. Patrick's Day — go beyond green beer

According to demographers, it is statistically impossible for all of the 36 million Americans claiming Irish heritage to have actually descended from the population of Irish immigrants who came to the new world in the 19th century. Either demographers aren't aware of stereotypes about Irish-Catholic families or everybody just wants to be Irish.

That's never truer than on St. Patrick's Day, which falls on Saturday this year.

Whether it's the start of the Irish holiday or just a break from a full day of green beer, the Houston St. Patrick's Parade is one of the largest in the nation. In its 53rd year, the parade includes 100 entrants and winds through the east side of downtown for two hours Saturday starting at noon.

According to Montrose lore, the St. Patrick's Day party at Griff's (Houston's oldest) gets so outrageous that the bar puts neighboring residents up in a hotel for the night. Griff's opens at 9 a.m. and offers a caravan to the parade, plus a cook-off and a full slate of live music all day.

 Either demographers aren't aware of stereotypes about Irish-Catholic families or everybody just wants to be Irish. 

There's not much room inside McGonigel's Mucky Duck, but the bar sets up a huge backyard tent for the holiday featuring Irish music and dancers.

Starting at 4 p.m., Sherlock’s Baker St. Pub on the west side claims the title of "Houston's largest St. Patrick’s Day outdoor block party," with thousands of revelers, 60 kegs of green beer and live music — no bagpipes.

Kenneally’s Irish Pub is a staple in the mass of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Generally fun but low-key, even the added outdoor tent for St. Paddy’s Day can barely contain all the revelers that flock here starting at noon. Look for the special Irish menu (including Irish stew and Guinness bread) plus live performances by Luther and the Healers and Libby Koch.

It's going to be a full-out Irish carnival at the 1st Annual St. Patty's Block Party at Upper Kirby Square. A joint event by OTC Patio Bar and Hendrick's Pub, the party starts at 10 a.m. and includes carnival games, a dunking booth, a Lucky Charms eating contest and prizes for the best dressed, plus a food court, jello shots and normal-colored beer.

Just kidding! The beer will be green, of course.

The preferred location of the St. Pat's Grand Marshals, Brian O'Neill's Irish Pub in Rice Village is expecting a few thousand people at its annual green shindig, which kicks off at 8 a.m. Fish 'n' chips, corned beef and cabbage will be front and center — there is no shortage of customary cuisine and free-flowing Guinness.

When your bar is called Celtic Gardens, a St. Patty's Day party is pretty much required. Opening alongside sister bar Pub Fiction at 10 a.m., the big events kickoff at noon, including live music by Joyride and a crawfish boil.

If you'd rather rock (and drink beer without food coloring) Fitzgerald's has a packed St. Patty's Day lineup including Miniature Tigers, Crocodiles, The Chain Gang of 1974 and other bands. Starting at 5 p.m., the concert is free for those over 21 and includes $2 Lone Stars and $3 domestic beer until 9 p.m.

But you don't have to hit the bars to get a taste of the luck of the Irish. You could go for a corned beef and cabbage dinner from Kenny & Ziggy's — after 6 p.m., the meal includes a bottle of Harpoon Celtic Ale for $18. Or for a sweet green indulgence, try a one-day-only Green Velvet cupcake at Sprinkles.

For Irish food and culture, MKT Bar at downtown's Phoenicia is offering Yum of the Irish specials all weekend long. Stop in before or after the parade for Guinness chocolate waffles, Irish breakfast, Guinness cupcakes, and Irish stew. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, there will also be a screening of the Oscar-winning Irish film Once.