Pints ​​and plastic separators: Not your typical St. Paddy’s Day at Ann Arbor’s Irish bar

ANN ARBOR – Conor O’Neill’s was the focus of an unusually quiet St. Patrick’s Day celebration in downtown Ann Arbor on Wednesday.

As the main Irish pub in downtown Ann Arbor, Conor O’Neill’s doors usually open at 7am on St. Patrick’s Day. The customers were already outside at 6 a.m. Instead, owned by owner Tom Murray and his son Brandon, who serves as the restaurant’s manager, he decided to postpone the opening to 9 a.m. and discouraged customers from queuing to keep the social distance.

Although Tom Murray said he was disappointed with Mayor Christopher Taylor’s veto on a resolution that closed Main Street between Liberty and William and allowed the restaurant to set up about 40 to 50 tables on the street, the restaurant was able to do the indoor and outdoor dining Indoor areas fill outdoor capacity until approximately 3:00 PM The restaurant put in place a reservation system that had a $ 10 cover fee for groups of up to six people and a limit of two hours per group.

The Mayor of Ann Arbor vetoed the St. Patrick’s Day event on Main Street

“Fortunately, it’s beautiful today,” said Brandon Murray as the patio tables began to fill. “It was still a good day.”

Inside, customers sat at regularly refurbished, socially distant tables and bars at seats that were separated from one another by plastic partitions. Live performances by the O’Hare School of Irish Dance, Brother Crowe and Shaun Garth Walker replaced the usual list of five or six bands.

“It’s not our typical day – it’s not as busy as we are used to.” Brandon Murray said. “It still feels busy though. A capacity of 50 percent means almost 50 percent of the staff, so it feels like 100 percent at the same time. “

Under the current constraints, the restaurant’s indoor capacity was limited to 50 percent. Guests are required to wear masks at all times unless they are seated, and the restaurant has a policy of not serving customers standing at the bar – a big departure from the norm for St. Patrick’s Day, which the The queue for drinks can be so high a lot according to the younger Murray.

“It’s very different for a bar on St. Patrick’s Day. We’re used to 10 or 15 people sometimes, ”he said. “But compared to last year, that’s a lot better.”

Last year’s St. Patrick’s Day the restaurant was limited to just performing.

“It’s starting to get back to normal,” said Murray. “I wouldn’t say it feels like a normal St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s a lot closer to normal than it has been in recent months, which is really all we can ask for at this point.”

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