Metro Detroit bars optimistic for St. Patrick’s Day sales

Businesses prepare for upcoming holiday

DETROIT – The precautions taken to remain safe during the coronavirus pandemic seem more noticeable on big holidays.

Saint Patrick’s Day is a big deal to a lot of Irish bars and restaurants. In 2020, they missed out on the holiday revenue, but they’re hoping 2021 will give them an extra boost.

For many, March 17 and the celebrations leading up to it are sometimes equivalent to a full month’s worth of income.

“January, February, traditionally the two slowest months in the hospitality business, so you get that nice shot in the arm -- parade day and then Saint Patrick’s Day,” said Bob Roberts, co-owner of McShane’s Irish Pub & Whiskey Bar on Michigan Avenue.

Irish bars and restaurants missed out on that income in 2020, but even worse, they were fully stocked with extra food and alcohol for Saint Patrick’s Day.

“We had our corned beef cooked or cabbage cooked or, you know carrots or potatoes done and a lot of that went to waste,” said Marty Dunleavy, the manager of Dunleavy’s in Allen Park. “We had to throw it away.”

For the second year in a row, COVID-19 has forced organizers to cancel Detroit’s annual Saint Patrick’s Parade in Corktown, but Roberts said Corktown will still be a great place to celebrate safely.

“Sunday would have been the parade,” Roberts said. “We had some really good activity, you know people dressed up, people in their green are coming down from the suburbs, just like they used to.”

Dunleavy said a normal Saint Patrick’s Day would involved a packed house and more than 20 kegs.

“There’ll be no standing around. If there’s no seats available, we’re sorry, then go outside and have you wait,” Dunleavy said.

But both McShane’s and Dunleavy’s are excited to give their customers a way to celebrate safely with a lot bunch of delicious Irish food, whiskey and beer.

If you do plan to head out to an Irish bar or restaurant Wednesday, just remember to be patient, they’re operating at 50% capacity, so wait times will likely be longer.

Many Irish restaurants are also doing carry out, so if you plan to celebrate at home you can take your corned beef to go.

About the Authors:

You can watch Kim on the morning newscast weekdays from 4:30 to 7 a.m., and frequently doing reports on the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.