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Your Beermonger: The St. Patrick’s Day Survival Guide

By ARLnow.com

Friday - 3/15/2013, 11:45am  ET

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Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway)

Time keeps on flying — we’re already hitting St. Patrick’s Day weekend. As a Guinness drinker and an American with a drop or two of Irish blood in my makeup, I am supposed to look upon St. Patrick’s as one of the High Holidays. But if I’m honest I’ve gone a bit sour on the whole thing.

For far too many, St. Patrick’s is merely an excuse to get obscenely drunk and that stopped being fun for me years ago. I’m going back in on St. Patrick’s Day this year, however, in the spirit of spending some much-needed downtime with friends and rediscovering the joy of social interaction. For those of you still enamored with the revelry of the holiday, here are a few pointers:

Don’t go out. I know, I know; this is supposed to be advice for celebrating St. Patrick’s, but I have to lead with it. There are two nights of the year I go out of my way not to be out-and-about for: New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s. Folks who shun drinking the rest of the year make it an amateur hour scene in bars while those who do drink take it to another level. I’m planning on visiting a friend’s home this year so we can split a couple beers from our cellars while watching the fights Saturday, which is pretty big for me considering my stand on St. Patrick’s Day.

If you go out, don’t be “that guy.” We’ve covered this one before in the beer festival guide. You know the type, so do what you can to avoid getting to that point. No one cares how Irish you are, and they’re perfectly aware of how much/how little green they’re wearing. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re probably that guy — in which case see rule number one above.

Be ready to bail. If you walk into a place and don’t like the vibe, listen to that instinct. Every establishment in the area that sells alcohol is going to be up, running, and busy — you can afford to be picky. If meeting friends, have backup plans in case the mood turns a direction you’re not comfortable with. If that means grabbing a couple beers and going home, so be it. It sounds a little silly I know, but just about every bad story from my misspent youth starts with me ignoring an instinct I should have known to listen to.

Keep it simple with drink orders. Servers and bartenders are going to be swamped all night long; sticking to pints of Guinness or whatever’s on tap will make the most of what limited time they have. Pitchers are even better if you have a large enough group to justify them. If someone calls for a mixed drink, specific spirit, or wine, send them home. They’re just going to slow things down.

If you’re going to drink, for everyone’s sake just don’t drive. I know you have to drive everywhere around here and it takes forever to get from one place to the other, but I don’t care. It’s too easy to make a simple, horrible mistake that can be so easily avoided by catching a sober ride or hailing a cab. If the potential danger to yourself and everyone around you isn’t enough, think of how much cheaper it is to hire a limo for the night compared to the court costs and missed work of a DUI. No excuses.

Have any tips for folks to get through the weekend? Any spots to have a good time while avoiding the madness? Share them in the comments. Everyone stay safe out there this weekend however you celebrate, and look out for each other. Until next time.

Cheers!

Nick Anderson maintains a blog at www.beermonger.net, and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at www.arrowine.com/mailing-list-signup.aspx. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Community discussion guidelines: Our sponsored columns are written by members of the local business community. While we encourage a robust and open discussion, we ask that all reviews of the businesses — good or bad — be directed to another venue, like Yelp. The comments section is intended for a conversation about the topic of the article.