Ever wake up at 3:00 a.m. and wonder where the armful of green roses on the floor beside your bed came from? Then it all comes flooding back to you … St. Patrick’s Day at The Crown & Goose.
One minute you’re cozied up to the bar sipping a single-malt Scotch with your friends, and the next minute you’re dancing like a maniac to the British cover band surrounded by oversized leprechauns – just another night at The Goose. Actually, the Old City’s St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl included seven bars for a $7 cover charge: Back Room BBQ, Barley’s, The Crown & Goose, Manhattan’s, Patrick Sullivan’s, Southbound and The Urban Bar & Corner Cafe – but some of us never left the first stop. The dreary weather was more conducive to staying put than crawling from pub to pub.
There are many good reasons for drinking,
One has just entered my head.
If a man doesn’t drink when he’s living,
How in the hell can he drink when he’s dead?
The Crown & Goose is a traditional British gastropub nestled snugly into two renovated store-fronts on the 100 block of Central Avenue. Much has been said about the meticulous restoration of these 117-year-old buildings, so I’ll only add that the ambiance is warm and inviting. The menu features traditional pub grub like fish and chips with more eclectic modern European dishes such as diver scallops, foie gras and duck confit. There’ll be a proper English roast for Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day, as well as tableside French Press coffee & homemade biscotti, but I digress …
The replica English bar serves up a wide variety of draft and bottled beers and hard ciders, including hand-crafted English-style ales brewed especially for The Crown & Goose. Belgian beers with custom glassware are a recent addition to the extensive brew selection. On St. Patrick’s Day, Irish Car Bomb stations were set up in the adjacent beer garden for the convenience of thirsty pub crawlers. For the uninitiated, an ICB is Guinness stout with a shot of Bailey’s Irish cream & Jameson Irish whiskey – to be consumed expeditiously.
Speaking of Ireland’s patron saint, Patrick was actually born in Roman Britain in the fifth century to a wealthy Romano-British family. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. Legend has it that Patrick was held hostage somewhere on the west coast of Ireland until he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Patrick was later called back to Ireland to Christianize the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. St. Patrick has endured as the principal champion of Irish Christianity to this day.
So in hindsight, it seems fitting to have been at a British pub on this most Irish of holidays, in light of St. Patrick’s heritage. In fact there were several ex-pat Brits on hand that night to add their unique cultural perspective. Peter Bolton hails from London. I asked him if The Goose was an authentic English pub. “No, there are too many Americans in it,” he answered without hesitation. His home pub is the Corner House in Edgware in the historic county of Middlesex. “Pubs are very territorial,” Bolton explained, as he sipped his Miller Lite. “If you’re not from the neighborhood, no one will talk to you.”
What brought Bolton to Knoxville? “I’m running from the law,” he quipped. “Do you realize how hard it is to get into America under a false name?”
As the St. Paddy’s party swirled around us, from the bar to the beer garden and out into the street, I noticed the eclectic mix of people, young, old and older. It was like a garish green Halloween Party, complete with the requisite retro-punksters. But there were fraternity and sorority kids too. And in a nod to Johnny Depp’s latest movie, the party-goers included an assortment of Seussian mad-hatters. The celebratory vibe was palpable.
Sean Connery once said, “The Irish seem to have more fire about them than the Scots.” All I can say is Scots, Irish, English and mongrel Knoxvillians alike basked in a green happy haze on St. Patrick’s Day in The Old City. So cheers to the Irish for coming up with another reason to party!
Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter
Lullabies, dreams, and love ever after.
Poems and songs with pipes and drums
A thousand welcomes when anyone comes.
That’s the Irish for you!
Crown & Goose is a client of Laura Bower PR