By Maureen Post Special to Published Mar 12, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Wasn’t it 70 degrees last St. Patrick’s Day? Indeed, spring was here early in 2009. And while we’ve had a slight warmup, you may just have to choke down a few more beers this holiday to keep things hot and festive.

Whether you’re looking for a cozy snug, traditional Irish stew, live Irish ballad or a green beer at 6 a.m., Milwaukee’s got you covered. Take a liking to an authentic Irish pub or find a spot with great "Irish" deals just for the day.

And don’t forget, the bus is free after 6 p.m. St. Patrick’s Day.

All around authentic experience:

There’s a reason bars like County Clare, 1234 N. Astor St., and Brocach, 1850 N. Water St., are insanely packed St. Patrick’s Day. They are the real deal. They dedicate their menu, staff and motif to providing the Irish experience all year long and, as such, St. Patrick’s Day is just the chance to highlight what they’ve been doing for months.

Gaelic Storm, a Celtic band who broke out in the movie "Titanic," plays The Pabst Theater. Tickets are $29.50 and show time is 8 p.m.

Eating the real deal:

True, the Irish aren’t known for their culinary expertise. But I’ve been and I can tell you, they don’t get the credit they deserve. From a stew to a Reuben to the typical Irish breakfast, they’ve taken to tradition and continued it well.

On Saturday, McBob’s, 4919 W. North Ave., shuttles diners and drinkers to the Bluemound Road parade -- but not without feeding them first. Munch from a free baked potato bar, and then order true to the Irish-boiled dinner, shepherd’s pie, Irish stew and Baileys Chocolate balls.

Sit down and swap a Reuben for a Rachel at Brocach, or mow through the Ploughman’s Plate (assorted meats and Irish cheeses) at the bar. Looking to eat at County Clare? Share Brown Bread Dumplings or cheers to ancestry over a plate of Grandma Flanigan’s Guinness Pot Roast.

For those looking to drink early and hard:

How about green beer at 6 a.m.?

If past years serve as an example, a line of thirsty Milwaukeeans will be ready and waiting in the early morning hours. Mo’s Irish Pub, The Harp and Trinity Three Irish Pubs lead the way with taps pouring at 6 a.m. Flannery’s and Halliday’s follow close behind at 10 a.m. Tons of giveaways, cheap drinks and live music are just the start of day drinking gone green.

If you're looking to combine early morning drinking with authentic early morning eating, Paddy's Pub, 2339 N. Murray Ave., plates traditional Irish breakfast starting at 6 a.m.

Faux but fun:

We’re all immigrants of some sort and our love for beer, grounded in our love for Milwaukee, is all the same. So each and every St. Patrick’s Day, we’re all entitled to imbibe on Guinness and corned beef, no matter if our last name is Hegarty or Polzinski.

So, for all those who want to celebrate the Irish day but don’t feel quite at home in an Irish bar, here are some suggestions.
The German Beer Hall, 1009 N. Old World Third St., changing their name for the day to O’German Beer Hall, speaks for many when they reiterate "Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!"

I’m fairly sure plenty of Dublin natives would honor, if they serve Irish whiskey, it’s Irish enough. The Whiskey Bar, 788 N. Jackson St., serves a long list of Irish whiskey along with Guinness. On St. Patty’s day, they’re slicing complimentary corned beef sandwiches, too.  

Parade day party:

There are two parades in town this weekend, one running through downtown and the other just west on Bluemound Road.
If you’re downtown, take the family to the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center , 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave., for its post-parade party with the Shamrock Club of Milwaukee. Food, fun and festivity continue with four stages of live entertainment. The best part is it only costs a buck.

On the west side? Derry Hegarty’s Irish Pub, 5328 W. Bluemound Rd., is the go-to spot on the route, complete with Irish food all day and live music from Scrubbers and Reilly from 4:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Stop back in St. Patty’s Day for free breakfast starting at 6 a.m., followed by live music from The Shinningans from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Maureen Post Special to staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.

After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.

Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.