Thursday, March 19, 2009

Saint Patrick's Day - the Day of Days

Todd and Mark share a moment in O'Keane's

A couple of days later and fully recovered, I feel able to report on a grand St Patrick's Day adventure. I wore a green shirt, Todd and Mark feeling somewhat more Irish than myself, wore kilts. It's a curious thing, but in America they seem to celebrate St Pat's day more than ourselves in England and Wales. I'm unsure as to how many Irish made it to Oregon on the trail, but promotions abound in shops and diners and restaurants, special menus knocked up and the barrels of Guinness rolled out. We hit Bend for about two o'clock and grabbed some lunch in McMinnamens, who I'm happy to say did better for themselves than last time. The Irish stew was aromatic, rich and tasty, though they forgot Todd's bread, damn them. Moved on to another bar for a shot of Jameson's each. This came with a radioactive looking glass of dyed green water. Then onto the greatest pub of all time. Amusingly, this bar was a minimalist dive purely and solely dedicated to getting hammered.

This is a little place called O'Keane's after the long dead owner, Hugh O'Keane. It's sort of a small brick and oak barn with a big front door consisting of two Hobbit hole style giant wooden semi-circular slabs to pull on. Inside there is a big stove pulsing out heat, a bar with the taps set into the rear wall and a huge array of spirits. Along one side of the pub are cosy oak booths, along the other tables. The beer garden looks nothing special - slightly garden centre in fact - but is very spacious, which is handy as they have a little gazebo affair with Irish belly-dancers (yes, I know) and drummers and fiddlers.

This place was so awesome that we stayed here for most of the day, drinking fine stouts and ales. The food being served was good fare, though I forgot to eat, and the queue to the bar so big it wove its way out of the barn, and out into the beer garden. For all that everyone was having a great time, and there was no jostling or idiocy.

There was also - some of you will be happy to hear - lots of smoking. For once I didn't mind, it fitted the snug little place so well. The only shock I had was when I over-generously bought three big shots of Laphroaig for Todd, Mark and myself. Though their shots are a little more generous than ours, I was still traumatised when the bill came to $30. Mental note, quality single malt scotch bought over 4,000 miles away from the source may be a little pricier than that bought a mere 400 miles away back in the UK.

"It's the kilt, chicks dig the kilt."

In this cosy, heavenly environment we took plenty of time to talk complete bollocks to each other, be it about zombies, the Falklands war, pasties or children's TV shows. (They never got Ulysesses 31, I weep for them.) I was really reluctant to leave, but leave we must, as we went to a late night bar. I got carded, once again, and we drank guinness until half one in the morning when we got a lift back home. Amber was the generous soul who transported us, and the fates smiled upon her for doing so, for when she returned to the bar with Lyryn and Joel for some slot machine gambling, she won about $700. Yikers!

Things I observed:

Despite Draconian carding measures I was happy to see some clearly underage drinkers slipped through the net somehow.

They didn't play any Pogues, for shame. In fact, for all it was an Irish night, aside from the fine live traditional folk music at O'Keane's, nowhere played any Irish at all. Apart from some U2, and like they count, right? For double shame.

Americans have never heard of the word 'muntered', I have updated them.

They're well stocked up on Irish stouts, red beers and spirits to make it a true St Patrick's Day. The only difference was the lack of fighting traditional to the night. Hurrah!

Allegedly I am a lot louder, and a lot more 'British' when drunk, according to my American hosts. I am also more opinionated, more emphatic and more arm-wavy. Lies, I'm sure.

Final score - eight pints, one bottle of Guinness, three shots. Apparently.

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