St. Patrick's Dayin Chicago.St. Patrick's Dayin Chicago on a Saturday. St. Patrick's Day in Chicago on a Saturday when it's 70 degrees out.
Just take a moment to process this. If you haven't realized it yet, this year's revelry is on track to be the wildest in years.
That time you woke up at 7 a.m. to do Irish car bombs? When you ended up shotgunning beers and passing around a bottle of Jameson on a rooftop around 3 p.m.? Yeah, it's going to be worse.
It's going to be more crowded and drunk than ever, with (bonus?) less clothing! So in between making whiskey Jell-O shots (I suggest the orange flavoring) and sorting through every green item of clothing you have, try to keep a couple rules in mind. I don't want to have to be the one stepping over your vomit on Saturday night:
Don't try to go out all day: Either plan on drinking early and heading home around dinner time, or get some extra sleep by skipping the parade and river-dyeing in the morning and just hit the bars as you normally would on a Saturday night. Or take a hearty nap mid-day. Try to do it all and you're going to end up dehydrated and completely broke.
Pacing: Just because you're planning to hit the bars by 8 a.m. and be home by 5 p.m. doesn't mean you can act like this is some sort of "there-are-no-consequences" holiday. Do you know what a hangover at 9 p.m. feels like? You're about to if you don't drink some water in between those $9 beers. Dye that water green if you have to.
Stick to a gameplan: The worst thing you can do is assume you'll find a great bar to just walk into downtown. They're going to be crowded and you're going to end up paying way more than you should for beer and a burger—if you can even get a table to order food. Plan ahead of time where you want to go and get there early if you plan on setting up shop for a couple hours. And don't underestimate the option of heading to a neighborhood bar away from downtown after the parade. You can get a Guinness just about anywhere.
Eat: St. Pat's is pretty much a sport when it comes to drinking. TRAIN. Nothing like a big carb-filled dinner and pitchers full of water the nigth before if you're going to be heading out before 8 a.m. the next day. Plan on getting an early lunch to soak up the morning damage. Stashing a couple bagels in your purse wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.
Go home: Whether you're starting to slur your words at noon or your feet are aching at 5 p.m., don't try to fight it. Just go home. Don't go for a nightcap. Don't hit that house party. Don't answer that text message from your friend wondering what you're up to. Go home, wipe the green glitter off your face and congratulate yourself on surviving.
Emily Van Zandt is a RedEye reporter. Her BFF's 25th birthday is also on Saturday. Good luck, Christina. firstname.lastname@example.org | @redeyedrinks