"Everybody in Granada Hills basically comes to our bar on St. Patrick's day," says Danny Deprest, who co-manages Oh Grady's in Old Town Granada Hills with his partner Melissa, who owns the bar.
Oh Grady's, like most Irish-themed bars, expects to have a full house on March 17th, but they're planning to keep things slightly lower-key this year than last.
At the height of Oh Grady's 2009 St. Patrick's Day party, Los Angeles Fire Marshalls paid a visit at about 11:30 p.m. and shut the place down for overcrowding and lack of a proper fire permit.
The lack of a permit was the result of a simple misunderstanding, Danny explains. "The entire time the bar was open -- from when it was Valentino's, and then became Oh Grady's -- nobody ever caught that it didn't have a fire permit. We took over almost two years ago, and you have to go to Building and Safety, and Alcholic Beverage Control, and no one caught that there was no fire permit. We thought that the paper that the fire department brought out was our fire permit."
In actuality, the Fire Department had only provided an occupancy slip, indicating the maximum occupancy of the bar -- 92 patrons -- which is different from a fire permit.
"The fire marshall said, 'Your fine is that I'm shutting you down for the night; tomorrow, come to my office, get the permit, and you're good to go,'" Danny says.
The error was corrected the very next morning -- Melissa was in the Fire Marshall's office at 9:00 a.m. the following day. But the Los Angeles City Attorney wasn't quite as prompt.
The following October, the couple received notice that the City Attorney's office had decided to press charges for over-occupancy. The charges came as a shock; Danny and Melissa thought that the matter had been settled and fines had been paid when they were closed down by the Fire Marshall months earlier.
So the couple retained a lawyer. "The city needed money, so seven months later they want to go after ridiculous charges," Danny said.
Because their legal troubles have not yet fully been resolved, "We dont' want to stir it up any more," Danny says. That means no live bands playing the bar on the evening of St. Patrick's Day, and strict adherence to occupancy limits.
But the bar will still be open for business, they expect a lively night, and everyone's invited, Danny says. "We're going to have a keg bar and the main bar. We'll have green beer and Guinness on tap. Come down and celebrate St. Patty's Day, have a good time with friends, and meet your neighbors. And wear green!"