By Jack Dalton
Lansing Star staff writer
Irish restaurants and bars in Lansing opened earlier than usual on St. Patrick’s Day to host the annual March 17 celebrations.
People from around the area filled bar stools and tables last Thursday in the city for a fun day of gathering with friends and honoring the Irish heritage.
The Irish Pub and Grill, 1910 W. Saginaw St., opened at 8 a.m. and was serving until the last call just before 2 a.m. “We opened early to bring in a little more business,” Nina Dalisio, a bartender at the pub said. “We’re at capacity until 2:30 a.m.”
Irish Pub and Grill seats between 150 and 180 guests. Dalisio said they would have a line out the door all day, starting to form around 10 a.m.
“This is like Christmas for us,” said Brandee Teremi, also a bartender at the pub.
“This is our best day by far,” Dalisio, added. “The money makes up for not being able to celebrate.”
Dalisio said that the bar ordered 30 to 50 Miller Lite and Labatt Blue green beer kegs, and she expected each to be empty at the end of the night. Teremi added that Irish Car Bombs are always a St. Patrick’s Day favorite and the bar would serve thousands on the holiday alone.
The Irish Pub and Grill scheduled the entire staff to work St. Patrick’s Day, including six bartenders managing three bars. Teremi said they had specials on food and drinks running all day. “Anyone who orders a Killian’s is entered to win a trip to Ireland,” she said.
Claddagh Irish Pub, 2900 Towne Center Blvd., a more traditional Irish restaurant and bar in the Eastwood Towne Center, also opened its doors early.
Brian Pell, general manager of the pub, said they weren’t serving any St. Patrick’s Day specials and hoped to create an authentic Irish atmosphere. “Green beer is more for the non-Irish restaurants,” he said jokingly. “People come to Claddagh for a true Irish experience.”
Like the Irish Pub and Grill, Claddagh stocked up on beer for the week, ordering more than five times the amount from a typical week. “A normal week, we get 20 kegs,” Pell said. “This week was 110.”
Pell said St. Patrick’s Day is always the busiest day of the year, and the restaurant would be at capacity by 10:30 a.m. The Claddagh expanded seating limit by setting up a tent in the parking lot which opened at three and had a full Irish bar serving Guinness, Smithwick’s, Miller Lite, Jameson and other traditional Irish drinks. Pell expected 1,500-1,700 guests throughout the day.
“The tent allows us to serve a lot more people,” Pell said. “Plus, a lot of our customers like being outside. We couldn’t have asked for a better day weather wise.”