Irish eyes are smiling and so are local bar owners hoping to make up for lost time on one of the busiest days on the calendar.
St. Patrick’s Day is here and for the first time since 2019, it seems like it's a full-on party. As an added bonus, it's on a Friday.
Steve Ricalis, who co-owns Donaleigh’s Irish Public House at 28 Dunlop St. E., says his full staff and taps are ready and waiting.
“We are expecting a very busy weekend. We’re actually counting on it after the last three years of restrictions,” Ricalis tells BarrieToday. “I think everybody feels pretty comfortable with being out and around others.”
Ricalis says they’re expecting a full house of around 375 patrons, which the 20 kegs of beer and other drinks should accommodate, along with live music from Memphis Mudd and Donaleigh’s Irish menu
“The kegs are just the draft — there are other beers and drinks, of course. But for food, our shepherd's pie and Irish nachos are likely to be the most requested item,” he says.
While he isn’t of Irish descent, Ricalis says his business partner is and that's only a small portion of why he decided to open the establishment.
“One of the reasons we opened an Irish bar was when I was travelling around the world, there was always an Irish bar, no matter where you were,” Ricalis says. “You can be in Istanbul and find an Irish bar. There is always a great feel to it, but especially around St. Patrick’s Day.”
Over at Malones Pint House, at 118 Bradford St., owner Sarah Lynne Maloney says the festivities have already begun at the establishment.
“We had the Irish Claddagh Club, who are based here in Barrie. We had a corn beef and cabbage dinner and there were about 50 people dancing and having a lovely evening,” Maloney says.
Three years ago today, Maloney says she was crying in her living room after having thrown out the prepped St. Paddy's Day meals, as she told BarrieToday in a March 11, 2021 interview. The date March 17, 2020 was when the provincial government announced the lockdowns due to COVID-19.
This year, Maloney is in great spirits.
“It's a lot different than three years ago, that's for sure," she says. "Everyone is upbeat. We’re excited to get going and there is enough drink, food and music to go around."
The live music starts at noon and goes until at least 12 a.m.
But Maloney says anyone looking for a seat is out of the luck of the Irish, because they’re not taking reservations.
“No, not today. First come, first serve and honestly, we have people that plan on being here when we (opened),” she says. “It's a Friday and that's always a busy day anyways. I’m hoping we get some people for lunch and when they go back to work, more come in to get ready for the rest of the day.”