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Lack of St. Patrick's Day celebrations hits some local businesses hard

Andrew Hyman
Updated: March 17, 2020 11:46 PM
Created: March 17, 2020 11:41 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — To say Tuesday was not your typical St. Patrick’s Day would be an understatement. 

With Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new rules restricting bars and restaurants to “take out only” now in effect, several area Irish pubs sat empty, including Carroll’s Restaurant and Bar.

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Tables and barstools were empty, but downstairs, the walk-in cooler was packed with full beer kegs, which can't be tapped for the time being.

The only people in the place were co-owner Annmarie McCarthy, and her siblings, all co-owners.

"[We’re] missing our regulars, missing our friends, and family," McCarthy said.

And McCarthy says they’re missing out on a significant amount of revenue, as both St. Patrick’s Day, and the parade the weekend before, are both major boosts for booze sales. 

But, with the rules putting a stop to the festivities for now, McCarthy has had to turn elsewhere for a profit.

So, they've kept their kitchen open, and on Tuesday, they were dishing out to-go orders of Rueben sandwiches, a Saint Patrick’s Day special. 

McCarthy says alcohol sales typically outweigh food sales, but at least on this day, they sold out of sandwiches.

"We're going to make the best out of this, what we can," she said.

Not too far away, outside Enright’s on Monroe Avenue, the sign outside the bar spells a clear message: “We're closed,” The sign read.

“Blame it on the corona.”

Next door to the bar, owner Joe Enright says he’s been able to keep some business going through his adjacent liquor store.

"Things are going okay here," he said.

Though having no bar has hit him hard, as Enright says he had to let go of 12 bar employees, a tough call, but one, he says he had to make.

Under the rule, restaurants can sell beer and liquor, but food has to accompany that, and Enright says, while the bar did serve some food, it was not enough to warrant keeping the business running. 

Much like at Carroll’s, Enright says the parade and paddy’s day celebrations were his two biggest revenue days.

As for how hard the temporary loss of the bar could hurt down the road, Enright says, it's still too early to tell.

“It's only been a day, but of course it'll be probably several weeks I’m guessing, but I really don't know," Enright said.

Though, back at Carroll’s, they’re keeping their hopes, and those kegs, on ice.

"With a little bit of luck of the Irish, this will pass us and we'll be able to celebrate on another day," McCarthy said.

McCarthy says she’s waiting for clearer guidelines from the state before deciding whether or not to adapt to take out alcohol.


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