You've packed your bags (well, a dozen times in your mind) and bought the latest Dublin guidebooks. But, sigh, the holidays, kids in school, jobs, money... no Ireland trip is on the horizon. Jaunt over (for a fraction of the cost) this weekend at festive to-dos and pubs around Southern California.
AN IRISH CHRISTMAS WITH KERRY RECORDS: Traditional instruments, like button accordions and the uilleann pipes, star in this music spectacular featuring musician David Munnelly and "Riverdance" artists. Sunday, November 30, 2PM. $40-$48 adult. The Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. 949-854-4646
CELTIC THUNDER: A talented collective of five young guys -- including one teen -- with amazing voices, Celtic Thunder covers both old-time Irish ballads ("The Mountains of Mourne") and more modern rock hits ("Nights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues). Saturday, November 29, 7PM doors. $37.50-$65. Nokia Theatre, 777 Chick Hearn Court, Los Angeles. 213-763-6030
TOM BERGIN'S TAVERN: Okay, so (happily) this bar isn't just open for the weekend, but both these shows -- and all the cloudy weather -- call for a warm-the-soul Irish coffee. While we adore San Francisco's Buena Vista, Tom Bergin's is our must-stop on the LA Irish Coffee front. Toasty, deep and delish, and we applaud the old-school pub for being open earlier in the day, every day of the week. 840 S. Fairfax, Los Angeles. 323-936-7151