I've drank alot of beer in a lot of different places. I've covered most towns in Northern New Jersey, and even some from South Jersey (although not willingly). It's fun getting drunk in a strange land; it makes you feel like a traveler of older times, tired from a journey, looking for an inn with a pub on the bottom floor where you can have a strong ale, then wander to your room. Alright, I may be over- romanticisizing to a point, but you understand.
I I'd never been drinking in New York City before. Most of the time it's just too damn expensive, and the way I figure it, I'm going to end up too drunk to remember anywhere, so I may as well do it around here. And yet, I had to make the exception for St. Patrick's Day. Now I realize why going in there once in a while can be a shindig worth trying; so many people in such a small area can make for a hell of a time (not too mention, if you get tossed from one bar, there’s another one next door). St. Patrick’s is the prime time for this brand of drunken wandering, mostly because everyone else is drunk too, and the streets have a festive spirit to them. Seeing that city, which can be very drab and grey at times, illuminated with emerald shamrocks and golden harps at every window certainly brings a spirit of celebration that New York doesn’t normally have.
I did the standard things that I have been doing for years on St. Patrick's Day, like going to the parade and what not in NYC. I wasn't 21 last year though, so I didn't have the option of really travelling to any bars worth going to. This year I figured...ahh what the fuck. Go for it.
We drank at this bar close to Port Authority called Rendevous, a good choice because that’s where the party is on St. Pats. Some folks get fancy ideas of traveling all over the world on St. Pats to find a bar- the secret is to just stay in Midtown, as its not only where the parade is, but its also loaded with Irish bars.
In my drunken carousing around New York City, I came across some interesting things. Not interesting like ‘barfight’ interesting, of course, but still thought provoking nonetheless. One of these interesting things involved a kid from Dublin that came over for the shindig that is March 17th, and this is where my thoughts spring from.
I was standing inside this bar getting started on the festivities, when I saw through the window, and I see a couple of my buddies talking to some guy who’s got an Irish flag wrapped around him like a cape. Now, I figure that given our normally violent demeaner, that my buddies are mouthing off to this guy trying to start a fight, and if that’s going to happen, then I’m going to be there to get involved.
I went outside under the guise of having a cigarette (fucking New York City and their laws), and, as it turned out, they were trying to fight this guy’s buddies, but thought that this guy himself was cool. Being as we outnumbered them, they apparently took off, leaving us with this guy who turned out to be pretty interesting. I don’t even remember this guys’ name (I was drinking…), so I’ll refer to him as “The Dubliner”, being as that’s where he was from. The rest of this story is kind of hazy, as this is the point where I crossed that fine line of “buzzed” into the land of “blind drunk”. So bear with me.
All I really remember about this guy is that he had horrible teeth, like the kind that you don’t want to stare at, but you can’t really look away, being as they are just so THERE. Yellowed and crooked, jutting out in all sorts of ways, so bad that you could tell they fucked with his speech. He was a little taller than me, but lean, almost weak looking to a point, and the hat he was wearing turned out to be something he bought off some homeless guy down by Port Authority. You could barely see how shitty the thing looked, though, because he had yellow “CAUTION” tape tied around it, which gave him a comical deameanor, to say the least (nothing says “Let’s Get Fucked Up” like an Irishman wearing caution tape).
The Dubliner looked at me as I walked out of the bar to have a smoke, and he was already bullshitting with a couple of my buddies. I made a comment about something, and he looked at me funny.
“You famous?”, he asked me. “You fucking look famous. You’re a good lookin lad, you know, you come over to Ireland with that and your accent, you’ll be getting all the womens”. Needless to say, I thought this guy was cool right away.
One of my buddies is the son of Irish immigrants; the Dubliner seemed to trust him the most out of us. He must have asked my buddy a million times if we were going to beat the shit out of him. I looked at the Dubliner, and couldn’t understand why he thought we would do that unprovoked. He just shrugged, and said that people like to knock around a lot in Dublin, and sometimes they’ll call you over just to beat the hell out of you. I got a kick out of this, of course, but also realized that no matter how tough I think Jersey is, Dublin is a bit rougher. Anyway, this guy apparently thought that we were far cooler than his buddies from Ireland (we were), and he stayed with us and drank.
He was an interesting guy, I have to say. He did IT work in Dublin, and he says that its not like it used to be over there. When most folks think of Ireland, they think of a bleak, poor country where potatos are the only thing keeping the poor bastards alive, yet this world of Angela’s Ashes is long gone. The computer industry exploded over there, and Ireland is the starving bitch of England no more; the “Celtic Tiger” is the new name for the Irish economy, and its led to them finally getting on their feet as a country. This guy seemed kind of representative of that- giving away cigarettes like they were candy, buying everyone beers, and giving the general excuse of, “I’m on vacation, I don’t give a fuck”.
At about six o’clock, we decided that we’d had enough of Rendevous. We’d been drinking for a good four hours, and I was pretty merry around this time. A friend of mine has family who own bars in the city, so we figured that we’d go down that way, around 22nd street if I remember right. Apparently, this was far from where we were, and we had to find a way to get down that way. After much drunken deliberating, it ended up that some tried to walk, some took the subway, and some just ran out into the middle of the street and started giving people the finger. Even though I’m always down to give somebody the finger for no reason, I wanted to keep drinking, so my girlfriend dragged me to the subway.
I don’t remember the subway ride that well except that I hopped the turnstiles right when two cops came around the corner; I think they were off- duty and from the parade, but I ran (stumbled away) anyway. I recall that most folks were on the way back home from work, dressed nicely, suits, etc., and that I was so drunk that I couldn’t stand. If looks could kill though, we’d all be dead men. This whole time, this Irish guy is yapping about something to my girlfriend, and even though I think he’s trying to hit on her, I was too loaded to be overly concerned, and besides, I was busy talking about hating Englishmen and Protestants for fucking Ireland over for a millenium, so I was rolling with it. We got off the subway somewhere, and began walking somewhere…I couldn’t tell you where, but I can tell you that I had a flask full of Jack Daniels that was keeping me and that drunken Mick covered for the walk.
We arrived at the other bar, the one where I think my buddy’s cousin bartends at. I remember that it had blue lights inside and a ton of windows, but that fades in and out. The Irishmen looked at me, and then buys four shots.
“You like fuckin Hennessey? I come over here, they tell me only niggers drink this shit, but in Ireland, we fucking love it. It’s a Cognac you know?”. He hands me the shots and says something in Gaelic. Bottoms up. I drank four of them, and that was about five more than I should’ve had. I went out into the street, and started yelling at some girl about something, and even though I think it may have been about politics, it could have been me just being a jerkoff. Either of these scenarios is as likely as the other…talking about politics with me is bad in the first place and worse when I’m drunk (the only thing that gets me angrier than Republicans is when people badmouth Roadhouse as being corny).
The bar was packed like nothing I’ve ever seen, and getting in and out was like trying to break into Jerusalem before those walls came down. Normally, I’ll say excuse me to people if I’m trying to get through, even if I’m drunk. There was none of that. My regional pride was coming out, and I was yelling “Fuck New York, Jersey rules” at random times (this brought on by the smoking ban that Jersey recently inherited). I was putting my shoulders down and bulling through the crowd in every movement
My buddies tell me I went to another bar with them after that, but I don’t recall being there at all, and different people tell me different things. My girlfriend pretty much carried me the way back to Port Authority to catch that last bus at 11:30, and we left that Irish guy behind somewhere in the mix. I remember telling him right before we left that when he gets back to Ireland, to tell them all that the biggest badasses come from New Jersey, not New York.
“You remember that”, I told him. He nodded and said something in broken drunken Irish gibberish that I couldn’t remember, and we parted ways. Later, when I would check the website that this kid had, he had a picture of me and some of my buddies, along with the caption that said, “Some locals lads from NYC”. Fucker.