Last year, Paddy’s took a small step toward normalcy by tapping its traditional green beer for limited crowds on St. Patrick’s Day. Now, the bar and grill says it’s officially reopening downtown Portland with a return to its traditional March 17 festivities.
Today, the city’s oldest Irish pub announced that the street party you may recall from pre-pandemic times will be back in full force.
On Thursday, March 17, then, you can expect tents outside the Southwest Yamhill Street property with a rotating cast of live performers, including bands, Irish dancers, and—of course—traditional bagpipers.
Paddy’s co-owner Josh Johnston gestured toward the uncertain status of downtown Portland and cast his drinking holiday as an act of civic duty.
“If we want to restore our vibrant downtown, we need everyone to be part of the solution,” Johnston said. “Festivals like St. Patrick’s Day, Blues Fest, Rose Festival, etc., will all help rebuild tourism. Still, ultimately, we need people to come back to work in the offices downtown to sustain all the retail, shopping and restaurants. We hope our St Patrick’s Day Festival gives people a reason to return.”
Last year, Paddy’s welcomed back customers on its most popular holiday for limited indoor dining as well as meals served on an expanded outdoor patio. The number of attendees, however, was capped by limited ticket sales due to ongoing concerns about COVID.
But even a smaller festival was a sign of hope. Prior to that point in the pandemic, Paddy’s was better known for the plywood protecting its doors and windows rather than its handsome mahogany bar, which is so tall that servers need a ladder to reach the top shelves.
The return of a more typical street festival could buoy spirits further about downtown’s revival. Paddy’s says it expects to serve 500 pounds of corned beef and cabbage, 100 kegs of Guinness and over 50 gallons of Irish coffee that day.
For the hardcore St. Patrick’s Day fans, Paddy’s will open at 11 am sharp, so you can truly spend your entire day devoted to, well, day drinking. A $25 cover kicks in at 2 pm, and kids are welcome until 7 pm—those 12 and under get in for free.
Oh, and there’s one more tradition worth mentioning: As always, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Children’s Cancer Association.