Unofficial St. Patrick's Day is the most talked about, hyped up and prepared for day at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It's the first Friday of every month and is used to celebrate—you guessed it—St. Patrick's Day early.
Like everything else at UIUC, it was started to get business for the bars. According to the University's archives, back in '95 (before the majority of the present day campus was even born), St. Patrick's Day (March 17) fell on Spring Break. This took away business from the bars on one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year. Thus began Unofficial.
From 7 a.m. until as late as you can make it, campus is out drinking at bars, fraternities and house parties. If you want to survive until bar close at 2 a.m., you're gunna have to take a few breaks from drinking to get food. Here's where you should be eating on Unofficial at all times of the day.
7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
It's 7:00 a.m. and you haven't woken up this early since you accidentally registered for an 8 a.m. freshman year. The only reason you're up is because you have a dozen "Kegs 'n' Eggs" parties to hit up before the morning is over. At this time, you'll be headed to keggers that are stacked with eggs, bacon and maybe even donuts.
Try not to think about how early it is because there's nothing else quite like scrambled eggs and a Natty Light at the break of dawn.
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
It's still breakfast time so if your kegs n' eggs party ran out of eggs, you can still get your fix at Cracked Truck. No day of dartying at UIUC is complete without a trip to UIUC's most beloved food truck.
Get your morning bender in the morning for a change and your Unofficial St. Patty's Day is sure to be off to a great start.
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
If you want to grab a quick lunch before heading to the second party of the day, pop into Potbelly to avoid eating greasy food too early. A sandwich is sure to fill you up and keep you going until dinner.
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
An issue you'll run into on Unofficial is that not everyone gets hungry at the same time. If some people just got out of class hungry and others ate too many eggs at a morning party, I suggest heading over to Legend's where the hungry can eat and everyone else can continue ~celebrating~ the holiday.
3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
If it's on the earlier side, it's likely someone just said "Happy Hour later?" and you're doubting if you can make it through until then. It's probably a good idea to head to Joe's for a 1/2 price Illini Burger. You can sit outside and rest for a bit while guzzling down a Lunchbox pitcher or two.
As the night moves on, you can stay at Joe's and order some loaded fries or 25 percent off mozzarella sticks before you head to a pre-game for the actual night out.
7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
This is the time of night on Unofficial when things start to die down. A lot of campus is already fast asleep at home and some others went way too hard at happy hour and are now headed to their beds.
If you're hungry around this time, everyone is probably headed to Burrito King. At this time on a Friday, it's usually full of blacked out happy hour-goers so if you're into that, I wish you the best of luck. To everyone else, steer clear until it clears out a bit.
10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
You've hit that time of night where you need to decide if you're going home or going back out. If you're sober enough to make this decision, you're also sober enough to go home and make something to eat. Save your wallet and go home to make a quick PB&J or Ramen before you decide if you want to be lazy or irresponsible.
12:00 a.m. to 2 :00 a.m.
If you're leaving the bar this early you're probably either too drunk to stick it out for the night or just plain exhausted. Do yourself a favor and go home. Order a calzone from D.P. Dough on your way so have something hearty to absorb all of the alcohol.
When you get home, pour yourself a big glass of water to avoid the dreaded Saturday-after-Unofficial hangover.
2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.
Congratulations. You've made it all the way until bar close and you know what that means: McDonald's. McDonald's is the ultimate reward for making it through the entire night out. Not only that, but everyone knows the party continues at Mickey D's even after the bars clear out.
Grab a Big Mac and fly the W because you made it through Unofficial.
4 a.m. and beyond
It's highly unlikely that you made it through afties, but if you did it's probably because you took a nap from 3:00 p.m. to midnight and woke up just in time for a second go. If you find yourself still partying into the wee hours of the morning, there is only one place to go for food: Merry Ann's.
Merry Ann's is open 24/7 and is the perfect place to reminisce about the day's activities with your friends.
Remember guys, Unofficial is a marathon, not a race. Make sure you are drinking enough water and take breaks to nap, eat and relax. And when you think you're done for the day, do everyone a favor and go home. Most of all, be safe and happy Unofficial!