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Posted at 1:12 PM ET, 03/18/2009

The 'Real' Nanny O'Brien's

By Fritz Hahn

Larissa Fallon (left) and Sean Mason (back, red cap) celebrate a "traditional" St. Patrick's Day at Nanny O'Brien's with their friend Marissa (right) and one of Nanny's bartenders. (Fritz Hahn/washingtonpost.com)

10:30 p.m.: If you want to start a discussion about the virtues of a "real" Irish pub, there's no better night to do it than St. Patrick's Day. In the back room of Nanny O'Brien's, Sean Mason congratulates me for being at Nanny's instead of across the street at Ireland's Four Fields, the large pub formally known as Ireland's Four Provinces.

"The Irish tradition is here at Nanny's, not at the Dubliner or the 4Ps," he says. "This is a traditional bar, not a bar where travelers go because it's a landmark."

"This is a real Irish bar," adds Larissa Fallon. "The 4Ps is more of a party bar. I should know -- I used to work there."

Pogues and Flogging Molly blasting, incredibly sticky floors and -- this is key -- very few people decked in beads, commemorative shirts, or even outlandish green. Most of the crowd looks like they've stopped in on the way home from work, or just come to hang out, rather than wearing their St. Patrick's Day costumes.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | March 18, 2009; 1:12 PM ET
 
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