Irish spirit engulfs bars

With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Sunday this year, the owner of Shan Nicole’s Irish Pub in Hollidaysburg admits he doesn’t know what to expect.

“I have owned it for eight years, but [the holiday] has never been on a Sunday. I don’t know whether it will affect us or not,” said Kent Lesser.

Nevertheless, he is prepared.

“We will have a special menu on Sunday including Guinness beef stew, shepherd’s pie, potato soup, reuben sandwiches and corned beef sandwiches,” Lesser said. “We will serve green beer. We will have it [today] if people want it. We color it as people order.”

John Pentland, co-owner of Molly Maguire’s Pub, 1600 Bell Ave., is in the same boat as Lesser.

“[St. Patrick’s Day] is usually our busiest day of the year. This is the first time it has been on a Sunday since we have owned it. We will have to wait and see,” Pentland said. “St. Patrick’s Day is St. Patrick’s Day, but it would be better on a Saturday.”

Pentland said he typically opens at 7 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, but won’t be able to open until 9 a.m. Sunday. The Liquor Control Board permits a 9 a.m. Sunday opening as long as meals are served.

His Sunday menu will feature cabbage and mashed potatoes with ham and corned beef. He will have a band starting at 5 p.m. and a disc jockey beginning at 8:30 p.m.

“We will drink some Guinness; that is what we always do. We have all Irish beers. Green beer is a gimmick. We have real Irish beer. We won’t be putting green dye in our beer,” Pentland said. “We have the biggest selection of Irish whiskey in the city.”

Larry Audley, owner of P.J.’s Tavern in Cresson, is excited about the weekend.

“We will be open both [today] and Sunday. We will be celebrating for two days; that should be good for business,” Audley said.

P.J.’s Tavern will have lots of Irish specialties, including green beer, corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew and reuben sandwiches both days.

“We typically only serve those items on St. Patrick’s Day,” Audley said.

The Singing Maguire Brothers will perform from noon to 2 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday.

“They have been coming here for at least 20 years,” Audley said.

Meanwhile, Steve Horton and Tony Russo believe having the holiday on Sunday may help their businesses.

“We will have our big St. Patrick’s Day dance and party on Saturday night. We will have a lot of people, and they won’t have to get up early on Sunday,” said Horton, owner of CoBRH’s Lounge, 1200 Sixth Ave. “Everyone can party Saturday night, and being open on Sunday is a bonus.”

CoBRH’s will open at 11 a.m. Sunday and feature corned beef, cabbage and potatoes all day. Patrons also can enjoy green beer and a special green drink for St. Patrick’s Day called “CoBRH’s venom,” Horton said.

The Phoenix Restaurant, which reopened in January under the management of Russo and his wife, Phyllis, will not be open on Sunday, but he doesn’t think that will hurt his business.

“We anticipate a good crowd Saturday. We have it all decorated with leprechauns and shamrocks and green carnations. We will have Irish stew and some other special menu items,” Russo said. “We do not serve green beer, but we have a full bar and will have some special green martinis.”

The Belmar Hotel, 1501 Fourth Ave., also may benefit from the holiday falling on a Sunday.

“It is like a double celebration. Some people will celebrate on Saturday, and others will celebrate on Sunday,” said manager Dawn Pellegrine. “We will have drink and food specials both days, green punch and green beer and corned beef and cabbage.”

The Knickerbocker Tavern, 3957 Sixth Ave., is expecting a good Sunday crowd for St. Patrick’s Day.

“For us, Sundays usually start out slower, but we anticipate it will be busier for dinner. Late Sunday night gets busy anyway. We will have extra staff on hand to accommodate a larger group of people,” said bartender Heather McConahy.