This was my guide in 2008, and still relevant for 2009. Repost from last year, and a few edits. Good luck this weekend, and have fun!
This may be your first parade or maybe your 30th, and here's some advice from little old me, a resident of Hoboken for the last 14 years.
Hoboken St. Patrick's Day Parade from 2008:
1. Please read my Bar Etiquette Guide. The basics for that day is that every round you order should get a tip ( if you order five Guinness throw down a $5 bill - maybe a little more if you are adding shots). I wouldn't suggest a bar tab on a parade day, unless you really know the bartender well. Buybacks on parade day definitely happen, and I always look for good customers (The customers who say, "Please", "Thank you" and not "HEY PAL!" or "CHIEF" while waving money) & good patrons (the customers who are putting money into our register & also our tip jar) to throw them an extra round.
2. Get in the spirit. Nothing is worse on St. Patty's day to see the two guys wearing black leather coats and sipping their Coors Lights in the corner like a bunch of stooges. Ya gotta have something green to wear in your closet - wear it! Who cares if you weren't born Irish - everyone is Irish on St. Patty's Day!
3. Have fun, but don't be an fool. I can't stress this enough. You can be an idiot drinking for most of the other 364 days of the year. If you have been living under a rock, here it is again: Hoboken has a zero tolerance policy on open containers on parade day. Result? $1,000 fine. No second chances. I'm sure that their zero tolerance will also apply to many other wonderful laws like public urination, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. If you can't handle your drink, stay at home on parade day.
4. You want to drink like a pro? Follow my easy advice: 1 pint of water for every 2-3 drinks of alcohol. Yes, hard to remember when you are getting bombed, but most of my friends know to do this. Don't worry about snide remarks from your douchebag friends. When they are kneeling to the porcelain God at 9am Sunday morning, you will be in much better shape, I swear.
5. Do not, under any circumstances combine painkillers (Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, etc) with alcohol. It's a nice way to destroy your liver at an early age. Far too many newbies pop two painkillers before bed after a day of drinking, and don't realize that they are doing even more damage to their liver & stomach than drinking does alone. It's like eating french fries and drinking a cup of grease. To avoid hangovers, you must hydrate and follow rule #4. If you forget to drink during the day, drink two large pints of water before bed. You may wake up at 5am to pee (if you do, have another pint of water), but it will definitely help the hangover (until you turn 32 and the water remedy starts to fail).
6. The following songs must be banned from St. Patrick's Day: House of Pain, "Jump Around"; Black 47, "Funky Ceili". I'm sure there are more. I moderately tolerate Metallica playing "Whiskey In the Jar". Anything by the Dropkick Murphys is allowed. Playing even Irish Folk music sounds great to me versus some of the old, tired rock songs that only show up on St. Patty's Day.
7. If you are attending the parade, just realize that the "height" of the parade is from about 12pm to 4pm. If you are smart, just find one bar and stay there. Waiting for an hour in line at a bar during the prime time hours is a terrible idea. You should call all your friends now and choose a local pub NOW. Get there at 10am, and get in line (don't be those people who are on the street at noon and whining about the lines). When the bars open at 11am, get inside, and stay there. Around 4pm you can leave the bar, get some food, recharge a bit and then drink some more. I know lots of bars in town that are selling tickets or having private parties because there are far too many stupid kids from out of town on Saturday, and they don't want the headaches from dealing with them.
8. Most bars basically die out around 10pm on Saturday. In years past only the hard charging pros were able to drink all day and night. So don't expect to go to a house party in the day and then drinking in Hoboken that night. Just not gonna happen. The real party at bars in Hoboken is in the afternoon.
9. Take public transportation if you don't live in town. Parking in Hoboken is a bitch. On a day like this, it's beyond bad, and you can be looking to park for an hour while your friends are sending you text messages from the bar.
10. This is a great day to meet people. Go out. Be social. Buy someone a drink. Smile and say hello to everyone. Be friendly with the bartenders, old people, dogs, cats, turtles, policemen and policewomen. Having a good attitude will reap huge benefits on days like this. No one wants to talk to the angry guy or primadonna girl. Don't posture like you are those "tough guys" from D'jais on njguido.com. Also a good day to have your rejection hotline number handy for the creeps! Don't know it? The number for NJ is (201) 808-6011. New York City is (212) 660-2245.
Bonus for 2009: Don't forget that this Sunday "morning" at 2am the clock spring forward to 3am!