We owe a lot to our Irish brothers and sisters. Who could have expected that little lush isle would bestow upon the world such treasures as croquet, radiation therapy, Milk of Magnesia, ejection seats, and extra stout beer? What have we done to deserve film heroes like Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, and Pierce Brosnan? How can we Minnesotans pay respect to our most famous resident Irishman, Lucky the Leprechaun, whose work for General Mills has not only nourished the nation for decades but enriched our state as the result?
This is why we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Of course, you can’t properly honor Éire like a barbarian by holing yourself up in your bedroom with a bottle of whiskey and watching The Crying Game on repeat. You’ve got to go out to where the action is, to a real Irish bar like The Local on Nicollet Mall where you can revel with friends and fish and chips in a sea of beer.
The Local was founded by Kieran Folliard in 1997. He chose to open it in a long abandoned building that had once belonged to a fur trading company, saving it from the wrecking ball. Folliard wished to spare no expense bringing authenticity to Minneapolis, so he ordered all of his new bar’s lavish woodwork from Irish artisans who crossed the Atlantic to install it on site. The Local’s mahogany decor makes it feel like a place from a Tolkien book, and its long curving bar and outdoor seating are inviting places to socialize.
The Local’s booze is so good that it has even birthed a couple popular brands within its walls. 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey was created there, and its effects proved so popular that its sales had to move elsewhere in order to keep up with demand. Finnegans had a similar start, the invention of The Local’s former director of marketing before she took that show on the road too. These drinks are still popular standbys at The Local, as is that great Irish institution, Jameson. The Local holds a record for having served more of the stuff than any other bar on earth, five years in a row.
This year’s Saint Patrick’s Day is auspicious because it falls on a Saturday, meaning celebrants can get an extra bit of sleep before waking the next morning for a chaste bowl of oatmeal and run around the lake. The Local will accommodate on the big day by opening its doors early for the morning soccer matches, priming spirits with coffee and pastries in anticipation of the big shindig. Out of respect to our fine city’s puritanical liquor laws, The Local will begin serving drinks at 8:00 AM. They will also serve a brunch, including traditional Irish and American breakfasts, their coveted fish and chips, and delicious corned beef hash. The requisite corned beef and cabbage of the holiday will come later, as mornings are far better suited for beer than cabbage.
There will be no cover charge at The Local on Saint Patrick’s Day, but it’s expected to fill up by around 1:00 PM. It’s best you should go early to ensure your spot at this great Irish bar, as you’ll feel awfully silly singing about Cork and Skibbereen if the only place you can get into is the Lucky Panda.
By David Scheller