For some, St. Patrick's Day is a reason to call in sick, then drink all day. For others, it's a reason to work 'til lunch, then drink all day. Whichever you choose, here are some tips for enjoying the holiday Don't waste time on food beforehand. Every bar will be serving one of these Irish breakfast variations: corned beef and cabbage, or better still, corned beef and cabbage. Avoid firemen. On St. Pat's, these American heroes show off their 364 days of preparatory drinking in a melee of beer spilling and taut-sleeved intimidation. Don't drink in line. Bouncers who'd normally let in toddlers have orders to thin crowds by denying anyone who appears even mildly wasted -- and unlike the boss who let you saunter out of the office wearing a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" tank top, these guys won't buy your sorry excuses.
If you're taking the whole day off: Shoot for McSorley's (15 E 7th St, between 2nd and 3rd). Doors open at 8am, but the line starts forming around 5am. Patrons generally don't leave unless booted for booting, but bartender Greg De La Haba says patrons vomit regularly enough to keep people cycling through. Since bar service can take forever, Greg suggests ordering "50 and 50" (50 light and 50 dark beers) -- although this could just be his way of ensuring steady turnover
If you're taking most of the day off: The Parade starts at 11am at 44th and 5th, and ends between 2-3pm at 86th. To avoid parade-watching hooligans, hit Midtown bars (O'Neil's, Langan's, Connolly's) before the start time and Uptown bars (Marty O'Brien's, PD O'Hurley's, O'Flanagan's) before the finish. As for Downtown bars (e.g., the Swift/Puck Fair/Ulysses troika), they start filling up at 10am, just like when it's not St. Patrick's Day