How One Bar Handles the St. Patrick's Day Rush

St. Patrick’s Day is typically one of the busiest days of the year for the on-premise. With the holiday falling on a Friday and this being the first time many locales will celebrate without any COVID restrictions, the holiday is shaping up to be especially big this year.

We caught up with one of New Jersey’s leading Irish pubs ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day madness to find out how they prep for and handle the holiday rush.

Regan DeBenedetto is director of Operations for The Shannon Rose Irish Pub, which has two locations in New Jersey—one in Ramsey and the other in Clifton. The establishment evokes the traditions of distant Ireland while also staying true to the community its rooted in. “The interior of the pub is composed of many elements and decorations shipped directly from Ireland, but our chef-driven, scratch-made menu incorporates seasonal and local ingredients from our community partners,” says DeBenedetto. “We are dedicated to providing Irish hospitality and are always eager to provide our guests with a warm meal and a perfectly poured pint.”

the shannon rose irish pub
The Shannon Rose Irish Pub serves up plenty of Guinness on St. Patrick's Day.

On St. Patrick’s Day, that Irish hospitality is kicked up a notch as the bars welcome over 1,500 guests in each of their pub locations. “This year we are expecting to break records and hit 2,000 for the day,” says DeBenedetto, who says making sure they enough room to accommodate all the guests is their biggest challenge. “Each pub will feature a huge outdoor tent in addition to our traditional bars and dining rooms. The tents will be fully decked out in St. Patrick’s décor and will host entertainment throughout the day such as bagpipers and Irish step dancers.”

The pubs will also be serving up holiday favorites like green beer, a traditional Irish breakfast, corned beef and cabbage, and of course, Guinness. “Guinness, in particular, is one of our most popular items all month long,” says DeBenedetto. “We will bring in over 60 full kegs to ensure we are fully prepared to greet our guests with an enthusiastic sláinte cheering to good health and happiness!”

The Shannon Rose actually turns the entire month of March into a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, with events and specials before and beyond March 17, including a week-long party the week of St. Patrick’s Day with live entertainment, tastings, and fun giveaways.

Given the large scale of the celebration, the pub starts planning a year in advance. “We start the preparation and planning for St. Patrick’s Day on the Monday following the holiday each year—immediately reviewing what went great and what we want to improve upon,” says DeBenedetto. “This includes everything from food and beverage to live entertainment, merchandise, and fun events. On January 1st, we kick that planning into high gear. Our management teams are masters of planning, always reviewing what we did the year prior and coming up with new ideas on how to continually improve.”

This year, The Shannon Rose will be featuring a special “Foods of Ireland” menu for the month of March with favorites like Smoked Salmon Boxties, Kilarney Coast Mussels, Loaded Dublin Pie, Irish Stout Lamb, and a Guinness Float featuring Bailey’s ice cream.

st patrick's day bar
The Shannon Rose will be featuring a “Foods of Ireland” menu for the month of March.

There’s even something for the kids, including a bright green drink dubbed “Lucky’s Leprechaun Sparkler” and a Lucky Charms Ice Cream Sundae. The Shannon Rose also hosts events for the kids like its annual Kid’s St. Patrick’s Day brunch on March 11th (complete with a Leprechaun parade, fun games, and raffle prizes- all to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital) and post-parade parties and giveaways.

Other new events for this year include a Senior’s St. Paddy’s Brunch on March 12th and early openings at 10am on both March 18th and 19th for Kegs & Eggs, a boozy brunch.

No matter what bars may have planned, DeBenedetto recommends they stay grounded amidst the rush and enjoy the holiday, “Be prepared, have fun, and don’t forget to enjoy the day!”


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