BEST CRAIC-HEADS (2003)
Irish pubs in the U.S. like to brag about their "authenticity" -- Guinness on tap and a bartender in a silly cap with a pompom. Luckily, the Valley's Irish pubs are a little more true to themselves than most. For atmosphere, we'll take Fibber Magee's. The wooden floor creaks like the ships used during the potato famine; stained-glass windows advertise the homeland's beers. Penciled renditions of James Joyce and an ancient Irish bicycle sit on the walls. On packed Friday and Saturday nights, the bar offers music, mostly from bands that play traditional Irish folk tunes, i.e., the most festive drinking music on Earth. The prevailing spirit unleashes what the Irish call craic, an insatiable desire to be merry, lit and carefree.