St. Patrick’s Day in Calgary: Bars gear up for unrestricted celebrations

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Thursday marks the first time in three years that Calgary bars and restaurants can hold St. Patrick’s Day festivities without any public health restrictions.

Day celebrations have been largely canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The major boost in sales is much needed for venues like the Jamesons Pub on 17th Avenue, where owner Harry Dimitriadis says the holidays are usually the busiest day at the venue.

“We’ll be doing a week of sales on St. Patrick’s Day alone, so that’s a huge relief for businesses,” Dimitriadis said.

“Our phones keep ringing, we’ve also been getting emails about reservations for about a month now, so I think people are just ready to let loose, hang out, drink together and have a good time. moment.”

Jeff Beddoes, managing partner of St. James Corner, agrees.

He says his staff are thrilled to finally see smiling faces walking through the doors again, as a steady stream of traffic means big profits.

“We’ve had, by far, the most excitement in years, and people are ready to celebrate,” Beddoes said.

The vibe in Calgary pubs will also be upped this year as there are no longer restrictions on live music or dancing.

This news is music to the ears of Jamie Allanach, a Scottish musician who moved to Calgary three years ago.

Allanach went several months without a gig due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was very difficult with this delay to miss parties, so it’s great to finally be busy again, because there’s definitely a real buzz now and I think everyone is so relieved that we’re getting into an endemic phase,” Allanach said. .

“Before, I had to tell people not to dance… Which is basically asking people nicely not to have a good time. This service industry is a huge contributor to a lot of musicians like me who rely on bringing our original material to ordinary people in bars or pubs.

That kind of excitement is shared by bar-goers like Katja Ruohio, who donned an Irish singlet and leprechaun hat to celebrate.

“It’s so awesome, and it kind of reminds me of the last time I got to travel and visit Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day,” Ruohio said.

“It’s good to be back to normal as so many restaurants are struggling so hopefully we can support them and those places will be packed today.”

Ruohio estimates bartenders will go through 40 or 50 kegs on Thursday to keep up with demand.

The increase in client numbers is welcome for servers like Santana Webb, who says he feels his job is safer now that restrictions have been lifted and business is picking up.

“It’s such a relief to have that sense of normalcy back,” Webb said.

“The industry has had its ups and downs, and it’s been hard to gauge, but I think now we’re finally coming out of the haze and hopefully it’s very long term this time.”

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