About 200 people crowded into the garage of the Kennedy Headquarters at 23rd and M Street last night for a sort of neighborhood St. Patrick Day's party. The garage, once used as a car showroom, is about a mile away from the White House, where another, more glittery, party was going on for the wearing of the green.

Si Mirin, who ran cleaning establishments in the D.C. area for many years, had transformed the garage into an Irish pub. He wore a green jumpsuit with Kennedy buttons. "I joined Kennedy," said the 63-year-old Mirin," because when I retired I got tired of watching the fruits of my labor go down the drain."

"The party would have been held anyway," said a staff worker, playing down the importance of the campaign in last night's merrymaking. "The senator is Irish and we had a party every year in his office on the Hill."

Pat Lucey, former governor of Wisconsin and once ambassador to Mexico, introduced Tom O'Neill, the speaker's son and lieutenant governor of Massachusetts; former Ohio governor Mike DiSalle and Sargent Shriver.

Shriver predicted a win in Illinois on Tuesday saying, "We will surprise all the pundits."

The guests, who paid $20 a ticket, listened to bagpipes, drank beer and wine and worked on two tables laden with food.

The music was provided by a delightful Irish group called Boiling Spuds whose tunes only simmered because of an amplifier failure.