The Bar Belle: Halfway to St. Patty’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is by far the best holiday in Louisville, Halloween a close second. Depending on where March 17 falls during the week, you can expect at least a three-day, non-stop party at most bars in town, especially the Irish-sounding ones. And the parade down Baxter — it’s better than opening presents Christmas morning. Seriously.

That’s why I must mention this Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day party at O’Shea’s. On Thursday night, the jolly folks of the Ancient Order of Hibernians are gathering for a night of live music with the band Highland Reign of Indianapolis, a night of drinking (they’re tapping BBC’s “Big Fella” stout, which comes straight from the Jefferson Reserve barrel, on this night only) and a night of mingling and reminiscing on past St. Patty’s Day memories, like the time when I won a $50 gift certificate from O’Shea’s for finishing off the very first keg of Bourbon Barrel Stout. (It got spent three-fold the next day during the parade.)

In true Irish form, everyone’s invited to partake of the festivities. The float winners from last year’s parade, the Callahan clan, will be signing autographs and shaking hands. (Apparently, they just got back from L.A. after competing in Jimmy Kimmel’s new game show “Set for Life.” How well they did could be measured in how many pints they buy you.) Specialty Irish dishes will also be served. All the money raised Thursday goes directly to next year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, which, for the first time in a long while, actually falls on March 17. Here’s the details: O’Shea’s, 956 Baxter Ave., 589-7373, Sept. 21, 6-10 p.m. Slanche!

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