By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Mar 17, 2009 at 10:12 AM

Technically speaking, I wasn't even supposed to run this blog until this afternoon, but curiosity got the best of me today.

I expected to see the normal mobs of drunken St. Paddy's Day revelers on my way into work, clogging up North Avenue and filling my office parking lot. But other than one girl, dressed in green from head to toe, the streets were devoid of shenanigans and plenty of good parking was still available at 8:30 a.m.

I was a little disappointed, actually.

So, while I'll head back out at 1:30 p.m. to survey the scene, I decided to take a morning stroll past the two North Avenue bars I expected to be the battiest: Hooligan's and Paddy's Pub.

Apparently, just because people aren't loitering on the street doesn't mean they're not tearing it up inside the bars.

I wander into Hoolie's, 2017 E. North Ave., first, and it's already quite crowded. Dudes in kilts, chicks in silly hats, people are getting rowdy early. No one is eating; people are just lingering around, getting hammered. It's like Hooligan's at 10 p.m. on Saturday. Except that it was 9 a.m. on a Tuesday. It's always fun to see people liquored up this early.

Across the street, Paddy's, 2339 N. Murray Ave., is even more crowded but a little more sedate, and dare I say, mature. There are tons of people there, but with the bar's several rooms and outbuildings, plus a giant patio, there's still room to walk around. People are enjoying a $10 Irish breakfast and obviously gearing up for a long day of imbibing.

Kudos to the hearty folks who got out to the East Side early. We'll see how the situation has evolved (or devolved) in a few hours.

Andy is the founder and co-owner of OnMilwaukee.com. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.