It’s that time of year once again. The false promise of spring. The smell of cheap beer in the air. The sudden and conspicuous amount of Green at all your favorite bars.
Yep, Parade Day is here again. So I figured I’d write a nice Parade Day Survival Guide. Which apparently I already did.
But two years has passed. A lot can change.
(Like, for instance, I’m a better writer. I think.)
So it’s fresh and updated, which means I didn’t have to write an entirely new article. Hooray, laziness! Welcome to the 2019 Parade Day Survival Guide.
I remember my first Parade Day like it was yesterday. Well, the first couple of hours at least. After that, it’s a blur of lukewarm burritos and accidentally stumbling into strangers. You know things are going well when frightened mothers clutch their children when you wander by.
(In retrospect, I probably could’ve quit drinking… quite a few years earlier.)
Every year, fresh-faced teenagers from across this great state come to New Haven to appropriate Irish culture in order to participate in the age-old rite of passage of blacking out drunk in the streets of the Elm City.
And somewhere in there, there’s a parade, I think.
But you can learn from my past mistakes. You can change. Be better. Faster. Stronger. Drunker?
(Please don’t be drunker.)
Let me teach you, so you may carry on my legacy.
Don’t Pay Cover More Than Once
Every bar is going to have a cover. Some of them are going to be $20. And you’re going to be like ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.
And the two former wrestlers/bouncers are going to just stare at you because you’re the 307th person to shoutmumble that at them today. Anyway, you don’t have any other options.
I know, it’s totally ridiculous. But what’re you gonna do? Get two of your friends to all stand on each others’ shoulders so you can sneak in and then end up in some fabricated lie where you have to continue on pretending to be a single entity?
Pick your bar ahead of time. You don’t want to be paying cover at three or four bars. Find out where your friends are gonna be. Don’t show up at Christy’s, pay cover, spend 25 minutes trying to get a drink, and then realize all your friends are at Regal Beagle.
That’s right, Regal Beagle is apparently taking over Liffey’s just in time for Parade Day. No word if they’re planning to continue on the tradition of super gross bathrooms.
Last year, they had some huge outdoor bar area over between State and Wall Street. Will it exist again? I don’t know. They don’t tell me things. But if you hear a general raucous over there, that’s what that is.
Know Where Your Bathrooms Are
Here’s the thing about drinking 22 Bud Lights.
That’s a lot of liquid.
Sure, you can use the bathrooms at whatever bar you’re at, but chances are, there’s gonna be a Sally’s/Pepe’s style of line, and unlike Wooster St, you are not gonna like what you smell.
Luckily, the fine folks over at the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee provide a bevy of bathroom options as long as the option you’re looking for is Port-o-Potti. Which it probably is.
Do you want to use a Port-o-Pottie on the Green? Of course not. You dreamed of a better life than this. But that was 22 Bud Lights ago.
Just let it go. That was the old you. The new one does things like this now. It’s okay. You’re young. It’s your job. That’s why we pay cops overtime.
Eat Something. Anything.
If you’re gonna start drinking at 9 am (and you should, as a rule), you’re going to want to eat something to pad all that booze. Yes, a case of beer technically has enough calories to keep a human alive.
But you’re not a beer robot.
It doesn’t even really matter what you eat. You’ll be healthy next week, probably. But today? Your priority is staying alive. Go ahead and get some street meat. There’s no way your body is gonna be pissed off about that particular decision.
Also, here’s a pro tip from me: If you suddenly wake up in your apartment and remember you have a leftover sandwich, check to see if it’s wrapped in foil before you put it in the microwave.
Know Why You’re Here
As said by the great former bartender of Liffey’s, Frank, (RIP — he’s not dead, but he’s in Ireland, which, honestly, same thing), many people love to pretend to be Irish (he calls it “plastic”), but few respect the culture and history of the Irish people.
So let’s take a few moments to remember that this is an Irish Catholic holiday to celebrate St. Patrick ridding Ireland of snakes (seriously). Yep.
Yet another anti-snake holiday.
All those Irish bartenders you love? Well they’re just trying to do their job and there’s like 10,000 of you drunken maniacs, so try to have some chill. And respect how much they (and their people) have gone through to get to this moment so you can be like WOO KISS ME I’M IRISH.
It’s a lot easier to get drunk in the street than it is to face the Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum.
Wow, okay, yeah, let’s get away from the depressing stuff.
The Parade Starts at 1:30…
In case you were curious. I’ve never actually witnessed the Parade, but I hear it does actually occur.
… There Aren’t Any Floats.
It’s mostly just a bunch of people walking. I think sometimes there’s people dressed up like Star Wars. Did you know that every 1 out of 10,000 Irish children is actually born a Jedi?
With any luck, future genetic scientists can rid the world of this terrible disease.
It’s Going To be Super Crowded
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New Haven is the largest single gathering of people in Connecticut. I don’t know what that says about us. I guess we’re a pretty Irish state, as far as states go.
I know Trinity used to get 2,000-4,000 people. FOUR THOUSAND PEOPLE. IN A BAR. IN A DAY.
That’s how people get the flu!
Just be ready. Emotionally, physically. Grab your earplugs. Wear one of those surgical masks. You’ve been thinking about it. Now is the time. Be that person.
Public Drinking Is Still Illegal
I know you thought there was some sort of legal olly olly oxen free situation where you can just finally wear your Going Out Beer Hat in public, but it is (sadly?) not the case.
Can you put vodka into a 3/4 full Vitamin Water? Probably. Can a cop tell if your water bottle is full of beer? I don’t know, I’m not a detective.
Your goal is, as always: do not be the drunkest, most ridiculous person in any 25′ by 25′ square area. As long as there’s at least one Canary in the Coal Mine Friend who will get arrested before you, you should be good.
Don’t be That Friend.
Oh, and that red solo cup isn’t fooling anybody. Don’t be an amateur.
What If I Don’t Drink?
There’s actually a Family Fun Zone (*Family not required) where you can hang out with some goats in front of the NHFPL/Courthouse from 11:30-2pm.
Don’t Be An Asshole
Seriously. Don’t break bottles in the streets. Don’t smash things. Don’t be that person.
If you can just get drunk and hang out with your friends and eat some food and not destroy any local businesses or properties, we’d really appreciate it, thanks.