ALTON - There is an old saying that “having you for a friend means that I’ve been granted the luck O’ the Irish.” Today all around the Alton/Edwardsville area and beyond, residents are celebrating St. Pat’s Day.
Area establishments were packed by 1 p.m. on Thursday and it appeared some decided to take the afternoon to celebrate the Irish holiday.
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It appeared nearly every area establishment was cooking waves of corn beef and cabbage on one of the most celebratory days of the year.
Geno’s 140 Club in Bethalto owner Shane Cooper said today will be a great day for his popular business. “We have been packed since we opened at 11 a.m.,” he said. “We always enjoy the day. I have been Geno’s owner for seven years, my family first started it in 1983, so St. Patrick’s Day is a big tradition here for us.”
The Alton Sports Tap is as busy as can be today with its annual serving of corned beef and cabbage. In fact, the Sports Tap plans to continue serving corned beef and cabbage through Saturday.
As of 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, the staff at Sports Tap said it was very busy with expectations of that to continue through the day and weekend.
The Stagger Inn in Edwardsville had brisk business by the noon hour, one of the workers there said.
“We are expecting a big turnout and we have a lot of corned beef and cabbage,” he said. The man said Tim, the legendary Stagger bartender, was already at his post greeting people by the lunch hour.
O’Connell’s Pub in Granite City was extremely busy and had been preparing corned beef and cabbage for three days.
“We have prepared 600 pounds of corned beef and cabbage and potatoes,” one of those who worked in the kitchen said. “This place has been in business since 1998 and this is a tradition here.”
O’Connell’s will be the leader of a block party for St. Patrick’s Day Saturday in Granite City. More information on that to come.
Morrison’s Pub in Alton was packed by early in the day and expected a large crowd through the day and night, owner Mary Morrison said.
“It is definitely our biggest day of the year,” she said. “We encourage everyone to come out and enjoy our company!”
Johnson’s Corner, another Irish fixture in Alton, was packed at the lunch hour and expected it to continue. Jimmie Johnson, the owner, was excited to be able to have a normal St. Pat’s Day celebration after a couple of years of a battle with the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Mac's in Alton was extremely crowded by lunchtime with not only St. Pat's Day corned beef and cabbage and drinks, but the first day of March Madness betting. More to come in a separate story on that.
“St. Patrick’s Day is always one of our biggest days of the year to come out and celebrate together,” Johnson said. “We love having everybody out.” Johnson planned 500 pounds of corned beef, a thousand pounds of meat, and 300 pounds of cabbage for his two big celebrations - the Pub Crawl last weekend and today.
The Levee in Carrollton, started by two Irish brothers - Joe and Tom Cronin - has people celebrating today at the bar, but plans a big celebration Saturday for St. Patrick’s Day.
“We encourage everyone to come out on Saturday,” one of the managers at the bar said. “It will be a big day.”
Photos from the St. Patrick's Day Pub Crawl gallery may be purchased at https://www.randymanning.com/Alton-St-Pats-Pub-Crawl
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