By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Mar 17, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Five hours after my initial inspection, the East Side has done an "Irish 180."

(Yes, I just made that up.)

The streets are no longer quiet. Overgrown leprechauns are stumbling around North Avenue, and given the unseasonably warm temperatures, it feels a little like the first day of Summerfest out there, but greener.

Inside both Paddy's Pub and Hooligan's, where I visited at 9 a.m., the scene has also flip-flopped.

As of press time, both are no longer packed, but rest assured, the revelers are hammered and happy.

We dropped into Paddy's, 2339 N. Murray Ave., first. The place is so large now that it'd be nearly impossible to completely fill it up, but we spoke to a bartender to get a take on the scene.

Travis, who worked basically all night last night to prepare for St. Patrick's Day and has been here since the wee hours, said that the nice weather is bringing in throngs of revelers, though the patio is more crowded than the upstairs nook.

Outside, we ran into our friend, Sigmund Snopek, who is performing upstairs, as well as a former Shepherd Express employee dressed like a leprechaun. That was a really weird conversation.

I'm pleased to report that patrons continue to act well-behaved, but a palpable gloss is now covering their eyes. It's clear these folks have been drinking since Paddy's opened with a line out the door, according to Travis.

Across the street, Hooligan's, 2017 E. North Ave., is also slowing down. Clearly, the bar is doing phenomenal business for a Tuesday afternoon, but it's no longer wall-to-wall.

With a little roam to roam, we handed out a few limited edition green wristbands to a group of particularly festive partiers clad in oversized hats. But when one of the women criticized as being too liberal, I just gave her a single wristband and handed the rest out to a pack of dudes who were a bit more appreciative of the swag.

Now, back in my office, I can hear The Pogues blasting from the jukebox at neighboring Rascal's. I've also heard the occasional bagpiper and even a guy playing "Hava Nagalia," for some reason, on the sax. Shouting and screaming is becoming an increasingly regular occurrence.

I question how many of these throngs of partiers are even the slightest bit Irish, but at least today, I guess everyone has a little Irish in them. Based on my empirical evidence ... ah, who cares. Milwaukee is having a party today. I'll drink to that.

Andy is the founder and co-owner of 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 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.