The Beer Flows Green and So Do the Dollars
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The 21-hour celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in the downtown ended at 2:30 this morning when the bars closed.
But during those 21 hours, those of Irish descent — and those who wished they were Irish — consumed seeming countless pints of green beer and Guinness stout and gallons of Jameson Irish whiskey and Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur.
They also consumed hundreds of pounds of corned beef and cabbage and thousands of Reuben sandwiches as they listened to Irish folk songs sung live by the Dolan Family Singers at O’Donold’s on West Federal Street and The Experienced and Patio Furniture at V2 a couple doors east.
Nearly everyone, whether they were walking along Federal Street or inside a restaurant or bar, wore some item of green attire or with an Irish theme. Many had Irish slogans or mottos, from Barb Ewing’s sweatshirt that read “Kiss me, I’m Irish,” to Jessica Matyan’s white shirt, adorned with a large green shamrock, which read, “Take me drunk, I’m home.”
Ewing is chief operating officer of Youngstown Business Incubator while Matyan is a barista at Joe Maxx on East Federal Street.
Every seat at O’Donold’s, which opened at 5:30 a.m. Thursday, was filled by 11 a.m. and staff was setting up a stand outside to sell green beer at noon. Outside as well were William Hart wearing a McConnell tartan kilt – green overlaid with a white and gold plaid – and Alexys Shields with a Kelly green bow in her hair and a green body gem shamrock affixed to her left check. Next to her was McKenzie Jones in a green T-shirt with a slightly darker green shamrock.
If you were wondering, Hart said he was “wearing nothing beneath” his kilt. Six members of his family were inside.
Inside, the Dolan family singers – William, Tom, Kelly, Dan and David (on guitar) had begun singing the 65 to 70 songs in their repertoire at 8 a.m. William announced they would continue through 10 p.m. They had just completed “Bound for South Australia” at 11 a.m. when they launched into “O’Riley’s Daughter” to an appreciative audience.
William’s son, Brennen, and Brennen’s son, Liam, 4, stood in front of the quintet, Liam smiling and clad entirely in green, including a green tie on a green shirt. The Dolans have been singing every St. Patrick’s Day the last quarter century, Brennen said, and their appearance at O’Donold’s was their first there in five years.
The chief operating officer of O’Donold’s, Heather Mullins, expected 20,000 visitors to stop at the pub during the 21 hours it was open, noting that last year 71,000 visited the O’Donold’s in Austintown.
She expected patrons would consume the best part of the 30 bottles of Jameson’s Irish whiskey – Bushmills and other brands are nowhere nearly as popular – and more bottles of Bailey’s.
Some Jameson’s was served as one ingredient in a buttered breakfast shot, the other being orange juice.
The beer O’Donold’s served came green, the Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery saving the bar staff the effort of adding green dye to the kegs ordered for the Irish holiday.
“Youngstown State [students] will hit us at noon,” Mullins said as the beer stand outside was set up. The fare O’Donold’s offered yesterday included “Irish egg rolls, shepherd’s pie, Reubens, and other dishes with corned beef.”
The general manager of Suzie’s Dog’s & Draft’s, Beau Bowden, said his restaurant had rearranged its space overnight so it could double its seating to 150. He, too, was bracing for the wave of YSU students. He expected most of the demand would be for Guinness stout, Killian beer, Irish whiskey stout and Jameson’s whiskey.
At V2, where it was quieter, manager Nick Capogreco said his restaurant opened 90 minutes before its scheduled 11 a.m. Already three-quarters filled by 11:30, he expected business would overflow before much longer. Co-owner Eddie Moses predicted 10,000 guests would have stopped in before the doors closed at 2:30 this morning.
Capogreco’s green T-shirt read, “Keep Calm and Get Lucky.”
The restaurant offered fare with an Irish theme that included Irish potato skins as an appetizer and Capogreco predicted it would sell “tons” of corned beef and cabbage.
The bar offered “Irish car bombs” and “Irish mules” in addition to Jameson’s, green beer (Coor’s light but the staff added the food dye) and Bailey’s.
Two bands were to perform, The Experienced, from noon until 3 p.m. and Patio Furniture from 3 to 6 p.m. Two disc jockeys were to play Irish music afterward. As Mullins noted at O’Donold’s, Capogreco noted Jameson is the most popular Irish whiskey and Guinness stout the most popular beer on St. Patrick’s Day.
Jameson’s is an ingredient in both an Irish car bomb and Irish mule. Other ingredients in the former are Guinness, Bailey’s and Kahlua coffee liqueur. A mule has ginger beer and bitters as well.
“They’re both real popular,” Capogreco said.
The Joe Maxx coffee shop did not offer Irish coffee – although it has a liquor license, it chose not to, said barista Victoria Clark – instead offering “Grasshopper Tea Latte” and a “Shamrock Crunch” smoothie.
The Grasshopper tea latte is “peppermint tea with a touch of sweet chocolate syrup,” Clark pointed out, while the shamrock crunch is “a frozen blended mixture of chocolate peppermint and crushed Oreos.”
Joe Maxx also offered a “Nutty Irishman,” a concoction of nonalcoholic Irish cream and kolachi syrup.
Helping to draw crowd downtown last night was the Carrie Underwood concert at the Covelli Centre, all noted. Those serving alcohol said they expected their customers to be well-behaved.
Pictured above are Shelli Aey, Lyndsey Strines and Kim Stachowicz.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.