MOUNT GREENWOOD — The Paddy Wagon Shuffle is a pub crawl set for July 8 in Mount Greenwood.
Organizer Neal Gibbons said the event from 1-9 p.m. is meant to lift the spirits of police officers and other first responders in the neighborhood on the Far Southwest Side.
Gibbons works in law enforcement and said $10 from each ticket to the pub crawl will support the Teamsters Local 700 Benevolent Fund, which supports public employees who are unable to make ends meet while receiving disability pay.
But most of all, Gibbons said the event aims to boost the morale among police officers, which many consider to be at an all-time low. He believes the pub crawl will be a way to lift spirits during the summer months.
"We have a problem with morale through all the different departments. So let's make it a day for them," Gibbon said.
The term "paddy wagon" is considered by some to be an anti-Irish slur. Many believe the term for the police vehicle was named for the high concentration of Irish police officers which drove such vehicles.
In this case, the term "paddy" (considered derogatory itself) refers to the drivers. In other cases, the term "paddy wagon" is believed to be a reference to the large number of poor Irish Americans arrested in the 1840s and 1850s.
Still other theories say the vehicle takes its name from "P.D. Wagon" — or police department wagon.
Gibbons said he didn't have any of that in mind when he came up with the name. He said the term was merely used in reference to the buses that will transport those on the pub crawl between the six participating bars and two restaurants.
"I'm Irish, and I did not use [paddy wagon] as a derogatory term. I use it as a nostalgic term," said Gibbons, whose flyer for the pub crawl features a turn-of-the century police vehicle.
The pub crawl begins and ends at 115 Bourbon Street at 3359 W. 115th St. in suburban Merrionette Park. From there, a pair of 51-passenger busses will circle between Reilly's Daughter in Oak Lawn as well as Blackthorn Pub, MacKell's Inn, Hinky Dinks Pub and Lanigan's Irish Pub in Mount Greenwood.
It costs $40 to participate and all of the bars will give those on the crawl one free drink. Barraco's will also give pub crawlers a free slice of pizza with the purchase of a drink. Fat Tommy's in Mount Greenwood will give those on the crawl a free Chicago-style hot dog with the purchase of two beers in its outdoor beer garden.
The Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band will make a stop at each spot along the pub crawl and play a short set. The pub crawl will wrap up at 115 Bourbon Street with an optional $10 buffet dinner along with a performance from Big Happy Face at 9:30 p.m.
Gibbons, a graduate of Marist High School, also coordinates a haunted tour in October that includes several neighborhood sites and stops at a few taverns along the way. He's hoping that the Paddy Wagon Shuffle is well supported and becomes an annual event.