St. Patrick’s Day brings boost in business for bars during pandemic

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On March 17, almost everyone in Indianapolis is Irish, but last year on St. Patrick’s Day, the world wasn’t so lucky.

Several people in Broad Ripple and downtown Indianapolis told News 8 they skipped work Wednesday to celebrate the holiday.

John Gresehover and Barry Pachciarz recall exactly what they were doing when they found out everything was about to change. “We were actually at the Big Ten tournament last year and the world ended, the tournament ended, and so it’s just awesome to be out again,” Gresehover said.

“Yeah, I think it was the last IU game that they won in post-season play, was the first game of the Big Ten tournament, and, that evening, I believe President (Donald) Trump came on TV at 9 o’clock that evening and made the announcement to the country that we pretty much were shutting down,” Pachciarz said.

The pandemic put a nearly 88-year-old pub and restaurant in a position it had never been in. Like many other businesses, the Aristocrat Pub & Restaurant had to shut down for 132 days. General manager Sue Bays said that happened the day before St. Patrick’s Day, their busiest day of the year.

“We had all this food, all this beer. We had like probably 80 kegs and then now we’re closed,” Bays recalled Wednesday.

Some of that fortune is starting to return. Bays said they could open the bar top March 10.

“We were so excited. That’s what we were waiting for,” Bays said.

Bar employees said they hope Wednesday was just a preview of what is coming. They are looking forward to an even bigger boost in business as the NCAA men’s basketball tournament kicks off Thursday.