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HOLIDAY DINING : Dancing, Singing and Spirits Are the Green of the Crop

March 12, 1992|BEVERLY BUSH SMITH | Beverly Bush Smith is a free-lance writer who regularly covers restaurant news for The Times Orange County Edition.

Your name needn't be McNamara or O'Malley to join in the revelry of St. Patrick's Day. Come Tuesday, when green will be the favored color even in Orange County, there'll be plenty of opportunities to eat, drink and celebrate all things Irish:

A "Leprechaun Lockup" will highlight festivities at a benefit for the Muscular Dystrophy Assn. at the Irvine Marriott hotel. Beginning at 3 p.m. on St. Paddy's Day, Orange County business executives will be "jailed" and must raise their bail of $500 to $1,000 in donations from friends and colleagues. (If the executive shows with bail money in hand, he or she may bypass jail and head straight for the green beer.) All other activities, including a live band and such contests as a shamrock toss and hunt (with prizes), begin at 5 and continue through 10 p.m. The free buffet will feature corned beef and cabbage and other Irish favorites. The bar will pour 23-ounce green draft Buds for $2.50. The Irvine Marriott is at 18000 Von Karman Ave. For information, call (714) 724-3640.

An Irish bagpiper will stroll through the dining room and Mick's the Club during a St. Paddy's Day celebration at McCormick & Schmick's from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Green beer and Irish coffee will flow (at $2 each) and the restaurant will serve Mulligan stew and corned beef and cabbage. 2000 Main St., Irvine, between MacArthur Boulevard and Von Karman Avenue. (714) 756-0505.

Owner Bill Hamilton expects lines to begin forming before the 7 a.m. opening of the biggest day of the year at Malarkey's Irish Pub in Newport Beach. It's the pub's 15th annual observance of St. Paddy's Day. Corned beef hash and poached eggs will be served until 10 a.m.; after that it's corned beef (and turkey) sandwiches with "rivers of green beer," according to Hamilton, who just might dye his sideburns green for the festivities. Look for party favors, hats, Irish music, and Hamilton videotaping customers for later viewing. Party until 1:30 a.m. at 3011 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach. (714) 675-2340.

Muldoon's 17th annual Irish party will swing from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., with dancing, singing and live Irish music by the Aisling Irish Band (returning for the fourth year), beginning at noon). There will be souvenirs and no cover charge, but also no reservations, this day only. A special menu of Muldoon's most requested foods will include Irish Derby corned beef sandwich, fish and chips, eggs O'Malley and soda bread, Old Bushmill's breast of chicken, Irish stew, Gaelic chicken and Rose's potato pancakes. Prices range from $8.50 to $16.95. Picnic boxes with corned beef or roasted turkey sandwiches also will be available on the patio after 4 p.m. for $5. Pub service will include Harp and Guinness black and tan's and full shots of premium Irish whiskey. Muldoon's is at 202 Newport Center Drive. Information: (714) 640-4110.

Birraporetti's, which bills itself as an Italian restaurant with an Irish bar, will bring in the Irish band Atlantic Crossing to play from 7:30 p.m. until midnight. But the fun actually begins at 8 a.m., with green beer served on the patio, plus T-shirts and souvenirs will be for sale, all available until closing time (2 a.m.). And yes, there will be corned beef and cabbage. 3333 N. Bristol in South Coast Plaza. (714) 850-9090.

Brady and Segal will play good old Irish tunes for the Heritage Brewing Co.'s third annual bash. Two special brews will be poured--oatmeal stout and Irish red (neither of which will be green)--as well as Heritage blond ale (which won first prize at the Great American Beer Festival). The menu includes corn beef and cabbage at $8.95 for a full dinner. Heritage will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., with music beginning at 7:30 p.m. No cover charge. 24921 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point. (714) 240-2060.

March 17 is traditionally "quite crazy" at the Goat Hill Tavern, according to manager Gary Monahan, with specials on Irish coffee, $1 corned beef sandwiches and plenty of brews a-pourin'. This year, Zeb's Irish ale, Murphy's Irish stout, Guinness, Harp Irish lager and McNally's Irish ale will be party-priced at $2.50 to $3.50 for a 20-ounce pint. You might also want to try the Gaelic Goat--half Zeb's Irish ale and half Murphy's Irish stout. From 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., recorded Irish music will alternate with rock 'n' roll. Look, too, for St. Paddy's Day T-shirts, prizes and giveaways. 1830 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa. (714) 548-8428.

The Lucky Clover Hunt is already on at Bennigan's in Laguna Hills. Find one of the clovers hidden throughout the bar and redeem it for a prize. Then, on "Lucky Friday the 13th," as well as on St. Patrick's Day, the entire restaurant becomes a party bar from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. There will be recorded music, a dance floor, and appearances by Miss Coors Light and Miss Killians. 24231 Avenida de la Carlota. (714) 837-0340.

Tuesday will probably be the longest and biggest day of the year at the Blarney Stone in Fountain Valley, according to owner Frank McElroy. The doors open at 6 a.m., and the Irish Beggermen will play from 2 p.m. until 2 a.m. 11761 Edinger Ave. (714) 775-9987.

Does a German restaurant celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Absolutely! The Fullerton Hofbrau will bring in an Irish band, Jerry and Barney Kilarney, to play from 4 to 9:30 p.m., and they'll pour green lager beer, plus serve corned beef sandwiches ($3.95) and dinners ($6.95). At 9:30 p.m., the music will switch to live rock 'n' roll with Bazooka, continuing until 1 a.m. 323 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton. (714) 870-7400.

Among the many other places that will observe the holiday with drink specials, Irish cuisine and/or entertainment are: El Torito franchises throughout Orange County, the Atrium Lounge at Le Meridien in Newport Beach, Malone's in Irvine, Hogue Barmichael's in Costa Mesa, and Studio Cafes in Balboa and Corona del Mar.

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