Bars get more time for St. Paddy’s

With March 17 falling on a Monday this year, it seems like a perfect opportunity for local Irish (and those who pretend) to be Dublin their fun, with two extra days to enjoy beer, beef stew and bagpipe music.

But the potential for four consecutive days of celebration left some bar owners wondering whether people might be Irish-ed out by today. Larry Audley, owner of PJ’s Tavern in Cresson, said it doesn’t matter when St. Paddy’s Day falls on the calendar, “we always celebrate.”

The weekend will undoubtedly be busier, he said, but with the Singing McGuire Brothers – a 40-year tradition for PJ’s – performing from noon to 2 and 6 to 9 p.m. today, there will be a lot of people showing up.

As always, corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew and Reuben sandwiches will be on special along with soda bread made by local nuns. The traditional restaurant menu will be available, as well.

Andy Glass, owner of Shan Nicole’s Irish Pub in Hollidaysburg, said when St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Sunday in 2013, it was an especially busy day.

He said he’s not expecting the same today, but added that, “It’s a bar. You never know. Stranger things have happened,” and Monday could be busier than he planned for.

“There’s a pretty big number of people who take off that day anyway,” he said, and people may space out their celebrating Friday through Monday.

“I think we’re still going to be busy,” he added.

He plans to serve Irish stew and shepherd’s pie plus drink specials, including green beer.

There’s one place, however, that’s preparing for a four-day celebration all the way through today – and beyond.

“We’re Irish central. We’re the only Irish pub in the area. We’re it,” said Molly Maguire’s Pub owner John Pentland. “We [started] with bands on Saturday, running through Sunday into Monday, and right through Monday night into Tuesday.”

Molly’s is serving a full Irish breakfast today and a special St. Paddy’s Day menu including shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash and colcannon, a traditional mashed potato and cabbage dish.

Pentland also will be offering hungry guests Atlantic seafood chowder, steamed clams and a cheese plate featuring all-Irish cheeses.

“We fully expect this to be huge,” he said. “St. Paddy’s Day can be on any day of the week – everyone’s Irish on St. Paddy’s.”

Tony Pacifico, manager of Zach’s Sports and Spirits, said Sunday is traditionally the big celebration day, but today will likely be fairly busy, too.

With three bands having played over the weekend, crowds today might be more mellow, Pacifico said, with the early after-work crowd just stopping in for a green beer or two.

“But it should still be a nice crowd,” he said.

Pentland said he welcomes anyone to celebrate with Molly’s today as long as they are responsible and understand the holiday’s importance.

“It’s how we venerate our St. Patrick, who we keep a statue of in the pub. We’re very serious about this,” he said. “This is a big day for the Irish.”

So while customers shouldn’t expect to see cardboard shamrocks, plastic leprechauns or even green beer at Molly’s, he said customers should come prepared to party like they’re Irish – even if they’re not.

“The most called-off day of the year is March 18,” Pentland said, chuckling.

Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.