St. Patrick’s Day is next Thursday and since the neighborhood typically celebrates the weekend in advance, expect a lot of people dressed in green, drinking beer and speaking with a less than impressive Irish brogue. I’m guilty of it myself because it’s contagious.
A couple years ago, I was at a bar when I heard a song from an Irish group called The Saw Doctors playing over the speakers. As an Irish American, I grew up listening to this band because my parents played them all the time during long car trips; I felt the need to search the bar and find out who put it on. I quickly found the culprit, a table of four Irish lads. After inquiring the table about the song choice, we quickly became friends, sharing a couple rounds. After the second beer, I caught myself involuntarily speaking with the Irish brogue. Luckily, the group of lads found it fun and enjoyed meeting an American with roots from the Emerald Isle.
Should you find yourself celebrating Paddy’s Day this weekend, enjoy yourself and the many events taking place in Oak Park, River Forest, and Forest Park. With any luck, you might stumble into a group of native Irish and practice your accent.
Meraki Dance Company’s “Love is Alive”
Madison Street Theatre, 1010 Madison St., Oak Park, will be the setting for “Love is Alive,” by the Meraki Dance Company for two shows- Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Meraki is a contemporary dance company founded by Kristen Baron in 2015 after being inspired to blaze her own path in the dance world. Tickets are $15 and must be purchased at the door.
Visit the neighborhood Irish pubs
What better place to practice your Irish brogue than one of the neighborhood Irish pubs? Forest Park has a few great ones on Madison Avenue and we recommend the following four for good reasons.
Brian Boru Irish Pub – 7652 W. Madison St.
Brian Boru has terrific Irish comfort food such as fish & chips, corned beef & cabbage, and Shepherd’s Pie. Come here if you want a hearty meal in a friendly atmosphere.
Sláinte – 7505 W. Madison St.
Friday specials include $4 SoCo lime shots, $4 red headed slut shots and $6 Italian beef with fries. Saturday specials include $4 baby Guinness shots, $4 red headed slut shots and $10 large one-topping pizzas.
Doc Ryan’s – 7432 W. Madison St.
Friday specials include $4 Jameson/Fireball/Bombs, $4.50 craft pints, and $5 gyro with fries or coleslaw. Saturday specials include $5 Red Bull with vodka, $4.50 craft pints, and $5 Reubens.
Healy’s Westside – 7321 W. Madison St.
Original owner Mike Healy, an Irish immigrant, opened this pub on St. Patrick’s Day in 1954. The phone number is 708-366-HARP. Harp is a lager made from the same brewers at Guinness. Needless to say, this pub radiates Irish character.
Downtown Oak Park is home to several small business owners that depend on support from the community. With nice weather promised throughout the weekend, it might be nice to take the family (or a date, a friend, yourself) to stop in a few local shops. Think of it as an opportunity to meet new neighbors and help the local economy. For more information, read the conversation we had with resident Blagica Bottigliero: #ShopSmallOakPark
Gallery PINK’s “Material Obsession” exhibit
New work by artists Gina Lee Robbins, Bobbi Meier, and Linda Abrams will be featuring their work at Gallery PINK, 149 Harrison St., Oak Park. Stop by over the weekend to see original, authentic work from talented artists. Hours are Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. Call 708-524-2231 for more information.
Saturday Fun Run
There will be two “Best Foot Forward” Saturday morning fun runs: 6 miles at 7:30 a.m., or 3 miles at 8 a.m. The group will meet at Panera Bread, 7349 Lake St in River Forest. These fun runs are open to runners of all ages, experience, and ability level.