In a continued, spirited effort to get people to patronize downtown, Portland’s two Irish bars in the city’s core are hosting festivals over the next few weeks, though they’ll look quite different: One sticks to its Irish roots, while the other adopts a German theme for a day.
Because there’s no better way to countdown the days to its primary celebration, St. Patrick’s Day, Kells Irish Pub is hosting a new event to mark the fact that we’re only 180 days away from that date. The Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Festival will take place Saturday, Sept. 17 at its historic location on Southwest 2nd Avenue.
Attendees can expect pretty much all of the features they enjoy on March 17, including traditional Irish dancing, live bagpipes and drum performances and plenty of beer.
The midway party is likely a welcome addition to the pub’s fans who look forward to St. Patrick’s Day all year long. After all, they went two years without one due to the pandemic. The multiday Kells Irish Festival finally made its return to downtown Portland last March.
“We have to make up for lost time!” owner Gerard McAleese stated in a press release. “After two years without the festival, we thought we’d better take every opportunity to celebrate. We’re ready to welcome everyone in with some old-fashioned Kells hospitality.”
Just two weeks later, Paddy’s is scheduled to host its first Oktoberfest. The Irish bar will adopt Bavarian cultural traditions for the day by serving beer in authentic steins and offering a new menu of German fare (brats, pork schnitzel with rahm sauce, potato pancakes, swiss cheese fondue and apple cinnamon bread pudding). Traditional attire is strongly encouraged for attendees to truly get into the spirit of the event.
“The whole purpose of Paddy’s is to connect people,” co-owner Josh Johnston stated in a press release. “This is a fun way for us to try something new in our community and celebrate the start of the fall season.”
Both bars will use their events to raise money for various charities: Kells is accepting donations for the Center for Medically Fragile Children at Providence Child Center and a portion of Paddy’s cover charge ($10 in advance, $15 at the door) will go to Friends of the Children Portland.