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Two Fine Irishmen

April 27, 2012

Last weekend I was took a trip to my favorite city (Las Vegas) with my favorite people and wound up at my favorite bar (Nine Fine Irishmen).  For those of you’ve who’ve never been there it’s a two-story Irish pub, in the NY/NY casino, with a balcony overlooking the Strip.  They serve the standard Guinness and whiskey and the not so standard McSorely’s, Murphy’s and black currant. Their food is classic Irish fare (lamb stew, shepherd’s pie, soda bread sides, etc) and every night they have live Irish music.

The reasons above would be enough to make it one of my favorite places around but what sets it apart is that every time I’ve been there (see: EVERY Vegas trip I’ve ever taken) something amazing seems to happen.  Without fail, I always meet ridiculous people who actually hail from Ireland; this time was no exception.

Alex & I started our Saturday night there with our friends Scott and Christa before gambling and then heading to a dueling piano bar.   Around midnight our friends went to get pizza and called it a night.  A slightly inebriated Alex looked at me and said, “Let’s go back to Nine Fine Irishmen.” Don’t have to tell me twice!

The band was, of course, still playing Irish jigs and we drank alone for a while until Alex had to go to the ladies’ room. She looked towards the bar where a group of older gentlemen (in their 70s) were standing and, in a moment that would become pure genius, said to me, “I’m going to the restroom…you should go talk to those guys.” Under normal circumstances that’d be an interesting request but, filled with a day’s worth of alcohol, all I could think was, “Yep, Of course I should. Great idea!”

I went up to the bar, acting like I was waiting for a drink despite my full Newcastle, and struck up a conversation. We made eye contact and I gave the universal “glass raised in the air” cheers and asked what they were drinking.  Instead of saying anything, one of the gentlemen shoved his whiskey, rocks directly into my face.  He then grabbed my Newcastle, took a sip, and with a grimace told me, “This goat’s piss is shite!” Whoa…

He proceeded to tell me that any beer that isn’t Guinness isn’t beer and that Irishmen should only drink whiskey at night because, “Beer is for before heading out”. At least I think that’s what he said.  It was hard to follow much of it since the music was loud and his accent was thicker than Grizzly Adams’ beard.  I could tell that these men were amazing and so I kept up the conversation until Alex came back.  I found out that the two of them were born in Belfast but now reside just outside of Dublin.  When Alex came back they hugged her and, while glancing over at me said bluntly, “You’re much prettier than him.” Ha, she sure is.

We spent the next two hours dancing and drinking with them. They bought me shots of whiskey and smiled approvingly as I sang Rocky Road to Dublin and jigged to Whiskey in the Jar.  When Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ came on they asked, “What this crap was” and told me that American Football was for pansies.  I then proceeded to mock the Irish International team by saying that, “At least the U.S. men make the World Cup…”  Thankfully, they just laughed that one off.

When I asked how long they had known each other they said, “About 70 years” and then smacked each other on the side of the head.  They had a 3rd friend whom they’d met that week. He was from Australia but born in Ireland which made him, “mostly an Irishmen.” They came to the States because “There were some things we’ve always wanted to see” and so they’d been here about a month.  They didn’t mention the other sites they’d been to but they were sure to inform us that they’d been at Nine Fine Irishmen every night that week.

The band finished their set around 3 am and, since we were barely able to stand up straight, we knew it was time to head back to our hotel room.  We took pictures and, while kissing us both on the lips, they told us that we’d make great grandchildren!  Offering one last Slainte’ we went our separate ways, another memory made at the greatest bar in the world.

I don’t know where they went following nights but I have to assume that there are some very lucky young men and women across the country that’ll get to drink with some of the greatest gentlemen I’ve ever met.

Wherever you two are I’m sure Irish eyes are smiling on you.  Erin Go Bragh and Slainte to you both.

In September I’ll be returning to Vegas for my bachelor party. Any guesses on where we’ll start?

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