Saturday's shenanigans have the makings of a perfect Gaelic storm
As St Patrick's Day approaches, one should be mindful of the dos and don'ts on March 17. First, the don'ts: don't dress up like a leprechaun; don't affect an Irish accent; don't claim Irish ancestry when you have none, and absolutely don't break into a mournful rendition of Danny Boy. The dos, however, are pretty simple: do what the Irish do. And what the Irish will be doing is heading to Hong Kong's Irish pubs.
Newly arrived in Hong Kong, hedge fund accountant Rob Davitt will be seeking out Irish food and music, but of extra special significance is the England versus Ireland finale of the Six Nations Rugby Championship from Twickenham. 'St Patrick's Day rarely falls on a Saturday, but to have the rugby on, too, well, that's just asking for carnage,' says Davitt.
The match kicks off at 1am (HK time). 'The rugby will be a great way to plan the night. There'll be singing, passion and all the comedy shouting and, of course, win, lose or draw, we'll all get drunk in the end.'
For many, the day isn't the same if it doesn't involve Delaney's in Wan Chai (G/F & 1/F, One Capital Place, 18 Luard Road) which, according to managing director Noel Smyth, 'unofficially owns St Patrick's Day'. Delaney's Wan Chai will be catering to all tastes, with the upstairs focusing on the rugby and downstairs hosting folk music by four-piece band Dargle, flown in specially from Ireland. There will be promotions from Guinness and Jameson and a set menu of traditional fare for HK$128.
Smyth is confident revellers 'may not start the night at Delaney's Wan Chai, but will probably spend part of the night or more likely the morning of the 18th there'.
Not to be outdone is the team at Kila (Upper Basement, 79 Wyndham Street, Central). The rugby will be on, but manager Stephen 'Horse' Nolan also promises 'a good feed and good value' with a special Irish set menu (HK$110) for Saturday that includes black pudding and lamb stew - setting their customers up for a big session.
If you want to celebrate on the other side of the harbour, the Irish watering holes in Tsim Sha Tsui - including Delaney's Kowloon (Basement, Mary Building, 71-77 Peking Road) - will also raise the tricolour. PJ Murphy's (Basement, Imperial Hotel, 32 Nathan Road) is banking on a live band, Guinness promotions and the big match to keep the party going. The Shamrock Irish Pub (G/F Kowloon Centre, 29-39 Ashley Road) expects a busy night with DJ Anthony Oliver and green Guinness for the brave, and the bonus of a mini beef and Guinness pie for every pint of 'Liffey water' purchased.