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Night Watch: Korrigans Irish Pub

Korrigans An Irish Pub

2301 W Sample Rd #20, Pompano Beach

Call 954-974-0251, or visit here

Irish pubs are a fundamental part of our South Florida drinking landscape. Hundreds of Guinness-soaked temples dot South Florida, from McSorley's on Fort Lauderdale beach to Slainte in Boynton. I've toured fetish clubs, gotten drunk at a swinger's den, and infiltrated some of the flashiest new hangouts in town - but nothing warms my heart land generates a buzz quite like a St. Patrick-tastic, shamrock-dotted Irish pub. This week I went north and discovered the Dubliner, a Boca Raton party spot, and Korrigan's, a laidback local's out-of-the-way oasis.

"Why is this a good Irish bar?" I was posing this vague question to no one in particular. Rather, I had entered Korrigans, plopped down at a stool in front of the huge, oval-shaped bar, and took a look around. A casual observation revealed the following: The space behind the bar was marked by taps of Irish and English brews, a bunch of disposable cameras, big glass mugs, and two hot, petite bartenders.

Further: Two large wooden cabinets were filled with emerald-green and ivory-white drinkin' cups - the regulars' personal beer mugs. These cost $50, but once you buy one, you can drink at happy hour prices ever after, so they pay for themselves in 20 Guinnesses. Ornate Celtic tiles, snapshots of recent wild times, and well-tucked-away booths completed the brick-walled dining area; a jukebox, pool table, dart boards, and arcade machines sat idly in the back. Large, faded maps of Ireland and snarky signs (such as "Catholic school survivor" and "I didn't know he was dead; I thought he was British") paid homage to the motherland.

"Why is this a good Irish bar?" repeated a dark-haired regular, seated a few spots down from me. "It's a good Irish bar because I come here! And I'm Italian." He triumphantly swigged back a sip of his "splash-of-Red Bull" and vodka.

"We've got other things too," said bartender Liz, a small-boned brunet with a pretty, foxish face. She and the other barmaid were sporting green-plaid miniskirts and tank tops. "We try to learn all our regulars' names and drinks. We often have live music - Celtic Mayhem and the Boogie Brothers really pack the house."

"A lot of fights?" I asked. "This is an Irish bar, and they don't call it 'getting your Irish up' for nothing."

"Look, all the bartenders here are female, and there are a bunch of us," Liz said. "Considering that, this place has surprisingly little drama."

"I was at a bar in Boston awhile back," The regular, Tony, said. "It was getting a bit late, and all the regulars were drinking and dancing. The owner came over to us and told us we had 15 minutes before we needed to leave."

"The owner kicked you out?" I asked.

"He saved us," Tony clarified. "He told us that the Irishmen would start fighting people once they got drunk enough. And the regulars always pick fights with strangers first, that's a fact. If there are no strangers, then they just fight each other." After that, Tony turned his attention on Jackie, the olive-complexioned second bartender. She wore knee-high striped socks and, aside from that, was absolutely beautiful. Tony was quietly trying to get her to drink with him. She was subtly - but firmly - refusing.

Liz brought me a drink. "This is the first Christmas I'm not going back to New York," she said. "My status earlier today was this: 'Why I love living in South Florida: December and I'm in shorts and a tank top.'"

At that, a tall, lanky regular sauntered in and collapsed exhaustedly at one of the bar stools in between me and Tony.

"You missed me so much you had to come back!" Jackie squealed, turning her attentions to the newcomer immediately. Then she looked him over and paused. "Um...rough day?"

"Yes," he said. "I have to be at work at 7:30 a.m."

" were here till 12 a.m. last night," Jackie said. "Man, you don't sleep!"

"Gotta do this while I'm young," he responded, taking the drink she had brought him.

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Tara Nieuwesteeg

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