Please note: the COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly in Atlantic Canada. The information in this article may be outdated by the time you’re reading it.
As COVID-19 precautions have Irish pubs across Atlantic Canada nearly empty on what’s normally one of their biggest nights of the year, a group of Halifax pub owners is plotting a St. Patrick’s Day do-over.
And they’re hoping more businesses — and even more cities — join in.
Called St. Patrick’s May, four legendary Irish pubs in the Halifax Regional Municipality — Celtic Corner Public House, the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse, Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub and Finbar’s Irish Pub — are moving St. Patrick’s Day celebrations two months ahead this year to May 17 (if things are open again by then.)
By the luck of the irish, that just happens to be a long weekend, points out Jeff McLatchy, a St. Patrick’s May co-conspirator and owner of the Celtic Corner Public House.
“We literally just took everything that we had ready to go for today, and we’re just going to take big black markers and scratch out ‘March’ and put in ‘May,’” he says.
There are also plans for social media campaigns, he says, and they’ll likely try to get the municipality behind the effort too, he says.
McLatchy’s hoping other pubs and local businesses will pile on and host their own St. Patrick’s May festivities, too — even pubs and businesses in other cities and provinces, he says.
“I want to stress that it’s for everyone, not just for the four pubs that came up with it.”
The idea sprung up during a chat he was having with Joe McGuinness, co-owner of Durty Nelly’s; Brian Doherty, co-owner of the Old Triangle; and Mike Casey, co-owner of Finbar’s Pub.
They were talking about how hard it was going to be for all of them to lose the usual St. Patrick’s Day income in the wake of warnings from health officials to cancel large gatherings and stay home, in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
St. Patrick’s Day is normally the Celtic Corner’s biggest sales day, McLatchy says.
But with nicer weather in May — and with all four of the pubs participating so far having outdoor seating — he’s hoping St. Patrick’s May could be bigger and better.
“The economy could use a little boost after this all washes away,” he says.