March Madness begins + St. Patrick's Day = epic party night

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - College basketball's biggest tournament began on St. Patrick's Day, and it was an epic night to party as FOX 32’s Mike Flannery found when he visited an iconic Irish sports bar.

The start of March Madness on St. Patrick's Day is enough to put the party meter in the red danger zone, but imagine that today was also your birthday and your best friend's birthday!

Mark Fellinger and Dan Migely have been friends since childhood, and for more than 25 years have jointly celebrated the March 17th birthday they share at Butch McGuire's Irish-themed sports bar on Division Street. 

FOX 32: What's the best part about having a birthday on St. Patrick's Day?

“Everyone celebrates with you. I've got my brothers, my aunt, my uncles,” Fellinger said.

“We don't even have to contact anyone. Everyone just shows up. We know where everyone's gonna be,” said Migely.

Sports fans fixated by the NCAA basketball tournament found themselves sharing space at the bar with green-garbed fans of St. Patrick and things Irish, including a surprisingly large number who come to Chicago every year at this time.

FOX 32: L.A. doesn't do St. Patrick's Day right?

“Not like Chicago. Not like Chicago,” said “California Jim.”

FOX 32: Why did you come all the way from New York for St. Patrick's Day?

“Chicago's the best celebration for it!” said Erin Reilly.

FOX 32: You came all the way from Texas just to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Chicago?

“Yes, we did. It's very special here. You guys do it like nobody else!” said Courtney Pizzatola.

Visitors and Chicagoans alike will continue the Irish partying right through the weekend. And actually, on Division Street, they pretty much party year 'round, don't they?