Even though St. Patrick’s Day falls during spring break for Arizona State University students, Irish bars expect to do the usual big business that day.
“It doesn’t seem to affect us,” said Patty St. Vincent, co-owner of Casey Moore’s Oyster House. “We’re a neighborhood pub.”
Local residents, graduate students and professors make up most of Casey Moore’s clientele, she said.
Steve Goumas, owner of Rúla Búla, said that last year’s St. Patrick’s Day was one of the most successful in the pub’s 14 years even though ASU classes weren’t in session.
With Irish dancers as young as five years old and 800 pounds of corned beef ordered, Rúla Búla wants to focus on families and food, Goumas said.
“We’re not looking to sell a high volume of alcohol,” he said.
Goumas said that Rúla Búla probably will serve between 6,000 and 7,000 beers on St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on Sunday, particularly Guinness. The pub sells more Guinness than any other business in Arizona, he said.
ASU students make up the core group of customers at Robbie Fox’s Public House, said general manager Charles Tansey.
With classes starting on Monday, Tansey thought that St. Patrick’s Day could be a last hurrah for students before returning from break.
In October, Robbie Fox’s celebrated Halloween on the weekend before since the actual date fell on a Wednesday, he said. Although the Halloween event was successful, the manager didn’t believe it would be effective to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day before spring break.
Tansey estimated that about 8,000 patrons could pass through Robbie Fox’s Public House on St. Patrick’s Day.
“It is by far and away the biggest day of the year for an Irish pub,” he said. “It expands the business exponentially.”
Although the bars market to different customer bases, all three prepare for St. Patrick’s Day well in advance.
Planning at Casey Moore’s starts in February when the bar requests permits to extend into the apartments next door, St. Vincent said. About a week out, green food coloring is added to one or two kegs of beer.
“As far as the rest goes, it’s just a matter of decorating,” she said.
With the logistics of extending the back patio, taking over 6th Street and setting up a stage, planning at Robbie Fox’s happens months in advance, Tansey said.
“We started in 2012 planning for 2013,” he said.
Rúla Búla’s planning for St. Patrick’s Day occurs years in advance, Goumas said.
“You’re going on your past history for the event,” he said.
Musical acts need to be booked eight months to a year in advance, and they generally charge double or triple their regular rates for performances on St. Patrick’s Day, Goumas said.
Tansey said that planning, or lack thereof, doesn’t necessarily translate into the success of St. Patrick’s Day.
Robbie Fox’s opened in February of 2010, so it prepared for its grand opening rather than St. Patrick’s Day, Tansey said. The bar still had a successful holiday.
Bar employees also benefit from St. Patrick’s Day.
More temporary workers are hired for the day at Rúla Búla. Goumas said two out of three employees on St. Patrick’s Day are temporary workers that he hires about two months in advance.
At Casey Moore’s, St. Patrick’s Day means more tips, St. Vincent said.