Celebrate Unofficial St. Patrick's Day on the Heights
The short story of St. Patrick's Day is one of a feast day of St. Patrick to commemorate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Like so many other international and cultural traditions, St. Pat's has been bastardize in the US from a day of observance and parades to a day of drinking and debauchery.
Because March 17th is on a weekday this year, we have decided to push our celebration back by a couple of days and host our first ever Unofficial St. Patty's Celebration on March 19th! We are hosting Votum Oysters for a fish & chips pop-up kitchen starting at 3pm, followed by live Irish music from Cary Novotny and Johnny Connolly at 7:30pm. Excitedly, we are also releasing our first ever Dry Irish Stout, Bald Grace, on Saturday as well! And while we believe that celebration and imbibing truly have their place, we do believe that most things are best enjoyed respectfully, in moderation, and with kindness.
The taproom is open 3-10pm, and is family-friendly until 9pm. We are also friendly dog-friendly. Our covered beer garden has heaters so outdoor seating is available, weather-agreeing.
What is Unofficial St. Patrick's Day?
Unofficial St. Patrick's Day (or "Unofficial") began at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1995. It was created by a group of campus bar owners who learned that with changes to the academic calendar that year, St. Patrick's Day (the official one) would now fall during Spring Break, with most students are off-campus. Wanting to protect their profits, they created "Shamrock Stagger," a day promoting bar crawls, giveaways, drink specials, and more. Unofficial typically falls between 1-2 weeks before Spring Break on the Midwestern campus to this day.
Throughout the years, this day of drinking evolved (or devolved, depending on who you ask) into campus-wide parties, public intoxication, multi-bar participation, students attending classes intoxicated, and much more. It was common to see groups of people, dressed in all green, starting the day at a "Kegs & Eggs" party, then wandering from celebration to celebration. I'd be lying if I said I didn't celebrate Unofficial annually for the four years I attended UIUC - I may have even taken a Food Science & Human Nutrition pop-up quiz lightly morning tipsy one year. Don't worry, I passed the class.
Obviously organized and encouraged intoxication on a college campus has all of the potential to produce harmful consequences. Over the years, the University has called in additional law enforcement agencies, placed emergency bans on the sale of alcohol, and dissuaded students from other universities to participate in the festivities. All of this is to reiterate that we will not be encouraging excessive intoxication or overserving, rowdiness, or any aggressive behaviors at our Unofficial party on March 19th. Rather, we hope to see you there to cheers a cold pint, enjoy some traditional food and authentic music, and possibly to even meet a new friend in your community!
Co-Owner & General Manager
The original flyer for Shamrock Stagger, 1995, from the University of Illinois Archives