Noe Valley Voice March 1998

St. Patrick's Day: Where's the Beef?

By Erin O'Briant

If you read my byline, you'll see why the Voice editors couldn't resist assigning me to find out what's going on in Noe Valley for St. Patrick's Day. After all, I am-- according to my grandmother -- a direct descendant of the old snake chaser himself (Ireland's Patron Saint Patrick, who lived from 389 to 461 A.D.).

Well, you won't have any trouble celebrating St. Pat's around here. If you're looking for some good Irish food, look no further. Star Bakery at 1701 Church St. is baking its legendary Irish soda bread, and maybe some shamrock cookies as well. And starting the weekend before St. Patrick's Day -- which falls on Tuesday, March 17 -- the stewpots of Noe Valley will be full to overflowing with corned beef and cabbage.

On Saturday, March 14, St. Paul's at Church and Valley streets will sponsor a dinner hosted by the church's men's club. The dinner will feature -- what else? -- corned beef and cabbage. "It is delicious," says Gladys Lazzarini of St. Paul's. "The men have it down to a science. It sure tastes better when you don't have to cook it yourself!" Lazzarini says this year's celebration will be held at St. John's Church at 4856 Mission St., because St. Paul's auditorium is currently under construction. Doors open at 6 p.m. and dinner starts at 7 p.m. There will be live music. However, dancing may be limited due to lack of space. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 13; kids 2 and younger get in free. You can purchase tickets at St. Paul's after mass starting March 1, or by calling 648-7538.

Meanwhile, St. Philip's Church at Diamond and 24th is also staging a St. Pat's dinner and party on March 14. The event will feature a home-cooked meal of corned beef and cabbage, plus the services of a no-host bar. Pat Gibney will play traditional Irish folk music, and two Irish dance troupes will entertain the crowd. The party kicks off at 6:30 p.m., with dinner served from 7:30 to 8:30. Music and dancing will continue until 12:30. Admission is $18 per person. The event will be held at the church at 725 Diamond St. For tickets call St. Philip's, 282-0141.

Local bars will also be wearing the green on St. Patrick's Day. The Peaks at 1316 Castro St. (near 24th) and the Dubliner at 3838 24th St. (near Vicksburg) will be open at the top o' the morning March 17, serving free corned beef and cabbage for as long as it lasts. The Peaks will also offer a discount on Guinness beer -- and lucky revelers there may get to hear a spontaneous tune from Irish tenor Johnny Foley. The Dubliner, with perhaps the largest "blarney stone" in the neighborhood, also stands to attract big crowds, including bagpipers and dancers doing those famous Irish jigs.

Up the street at the Rover's Inn (4026 24th St.), the celebrating starts at 10 a.m., with free corned beef and specials on Guinness and Irish coffee.

Over at O'Greenberg's at 1600 Dolores (near 29th), the St. Pat's party gets going at 1 p.m. But this local tavern will spotlight its Jewish-Irish heritage -- and put a unique spin on tradition -- by serving corned beef and bagels.

One thing you're likely to hear at all the bars on St. Patrick's Day is the slogan "Erin go bragh!" That's Gaelic for "Ireland forever!" and Irish patriots just love to shout it out. Inevitably, a few smart alecks will tease me with their own version: "Erin go braless!"

Go ahead, have your laugh. I'm too busy eating corned beef and cabbage.