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Leprechauns and a Lively Crowd


With its 25-foot bar, five color televisions and lively bar staff, it's inevitable that practically every night would be party night at Hennessey's Tavern in Seal Beach.

The tavern, situated less than a block from the shore, is one of 12 in Orange County coastal cities that is owned by Paul Hennessey. (This one celebrated its sixth anniversary last month.)

Every Tuesday from 4 to 8 p.m. the bar features a different theme. Well drinks and pints of domestic beer are offered at $1, as are oyster shooters with Absolut Pepper Vodka. On other working week nights, happy hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Pints of domestic beer go for $1.50, and the kitchen serves up a variety of hors d'oeuvres.

As for the weekends, arrive early on Friday or Saturday night if you want to get a table. Otherwise, there'll be plenty of standing room along the lengthy bar, whose three bartenders joke with the customers and keep the drinks flowing.

Despite what the dominance of neon beer advertisements and dark wood might make you think, there are extensive breakfast, lunch and dinner menus for those who want some solid nourishment. The food ranges from hamburgers and other sandwiches ($3.75 to $6.95) to steak ($10.95 to $11.95) and chicken plates ($7.95 to $8.95). Specialties such as Irish stew ($4.95) and corned beef and cabbage ($6.25) are also offered.

The Irish theme also shows on the drink menu. The bar offers such classic beers as Harp and Guinness for $3.50 a pint or layered in a traditional Black-and-Tan. Irish coffee ($3.75) is spiced with Jameson premium whiskey.

But that's where the leprechauns and clovers stop. At Hennessey's, the music is modern, the decor trendy and the crowd a mix of regulars, business people and thirsty sunbathers. And when the sun goes down, they all know where to find the liveliest party in town.

Hennessey's Tavern, 140 Main St., Seal Beach. Open daily, 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. (213) 598-4419.

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