Metro Detroit bar owners expect low key St. Patrick’s Day amid pandemic limits

Detroit City Distillery in Eastern Market will be relocating their bar on the street in front of their whiskey cocktail and other libations tasting room for St. Patrick’s Day, “for socially distant, well-mannered outdoor celebrations.”

Eastern Market’s neighbors, Beaubien Fine Foods, will be selling hot corned beef pies by Katrina Iott, and award-winning chef Rebecca LaMalfa of Eastern Market Brewing Co. will be releasing two new beers, Cutters Plans, Corned Beef Sandwiches and offering cheap shots of Slane Irish whiskey while Thomas Magee pours Bushmill’s all day and televises the Flogging Molly concert live from Dublin.

Old Shillelagh in Detroit’s Greektown neighborhood is slated to open early Wednesday. On Saturday the “St. Practice Day” took place, on which socially distant tables and chairs were shown outdoors in a neighboring parking lot with many people dressed in green.

Flood’s Bar & Grille in downtown Detroit is planning an all-day block party.

Motor City Gas Whiskey in Royal Oak offers a variety of specialty cocktails and Irish-inspired food with indoor seating and an outdoor deck with heaters and fire pits. Carryout is also available.

Black said current regulations are severely limiting the capabilities of Dick O’Dow’s, which has a capacity of 360 but will be capped at 100 on St. Patrick’s Day. The bar’s public space is larger than most restaurants, he said. The guidelines require that guests remain seated at their tables unless they go to the bathroom. There is space for about 100 guests outdoors as well as heaters and fire pits.

“Whether we agree with the rules or not, we will obey them,” said Black. “There won’t be anyone standing around or someone in the public space in the bar. We’ll use our outside area. We have a garage door that we can open when the weather is nice enough to make the atmosphere more welcoming.”

St. Patrick’s Day is the biggest day of the year for Dick O’Dow’s. The day usually coincides with the start of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which makes this whole week a big week for the bar – about 5 percent of the bar’s annual sales, Black said.

“It’s a big day for us, but it’s not going to be made or broken,” said Black. “We can work well.”

Regardless of the guidelines, Schwarz still expects a lively atmosphere. He has received calls from customers about reservations and waiting times. Black said he didn’t set a time limit on seats. All noisy night owls are politely asked to leave.

“It’s a fun day for us,” said Black. “However, we see the big picture that ensures people’s safety. If you celebrate with us, we want you here. We won’t try to limit your fun.”

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