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kristy holland
Holland: Got green?

Shamrocks and leprechauns aren’t as overtly romantic as, say, the red roses and hearts that are symbols of St. Valentine’s Day. But St. Patrick’s Day can be the perfect holiday for taking your relationship up a notch. The vibe is fun and low-pressure, and the festivity-fueling green beer may be just what you need to take your relationship out of the friend zone, or to give you the courage to make a first move.

Go on, grab a green T-shirt, get your girl a shamrock headband and a couple of strings of green beads so she’ll feel at home in the crowd, and keep an eye out for get-lucky shamrocks at these great-date St. Patty’s Day events.

The Irish culinary tradition isn’t exactly romantic — potatoes, corned beef, and cabbage anyone? But add Irish whiskey and a gourmet five-course menu to the mix for an Emerald Isle-inspired upscale dinner date. In celebration of St. Patty’s, Q’s Restaurant (in the Hotel Boulderado, 2115 13th St.; and Bushmills Whiskey are hosting an all-out feast of fancy Irish dishes like a cured salmon crostini and glazed pork belly paired with an assortment of distinctive spirits like Bushmills smooth, 10-year-aged single malt and their fruity Irish Honey. Tickets for the Saturday night special are pricey at $65 each, but the meal and malts will definitely impress your lady.

Looking for something a little lower budget? There will be St. Paddy’s specials at most of Pearl Street’s bars, but two standouts are at the West End Tavern (926 Pearl St.; and at Connor O’Neill’s (1922 13th St.; Connor’s has an entire weekend of festivities starting on Friday, and the West End’s festivities are focused on Sunday, but both are hosting Irish dancers, will have inspired music, drink specials like Irish Car Bombs and a fruity cocktail called a Shillelagh (shill-lay-lee).

Did you blink and miss Boulder’s tiny, two-block St. Pat’s parade last weekend? The Connor O’Neill’s-sponsored B-town event occurs the week before the holiday — mark your calendar for next year — to free up revelers for Denver’s much larger parade on St. Patty’s Day weekend. Instead of resenting the dearth of leprechauns on the walking mall, consider taking your date for an all-day field trip to the Mile High City this Saturday for the main event. Start with a ride on the RTD to the Market Street Station (hop on the Denver-bound BV departing from the 14th Street transit station at 9 a.m.), then wander a few blocks north toward the parade route along Blake Street. The floats and dance troupes will start passing the judges’ stand (at 21st and Blake) by 10:30 a.m. and will finish by the time you’ll be ready for lunch, giving you plenty of time to stop by the street-fair-style festivities at Fado’s Irish Pub ($15; 1735 19th St.; before boarding the Boulder-bound bus for home.

Kristy Holland writes about date-night ideas once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date ideas at