Irish pubs are the destination to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day for many. However, the cost of celebrating the holiday might be a little different this year.
Finnegan’s Pub owner Tim Finnegan is preparing for a big crowd this Friday.
“I’m hoping it's a blowout. It'll be our first Friday as a [St. Patrick’s] Day, and I think it'll be a great day,” Finnegan said.
The anticipation is palpable, as the food and beverage industry continues to recover from pandemic lockdowns. These days, though, Finnegan isn’t fighting COVID-19 as much as he’s fighting inflation.
“It's definitely a Catch-22. If you don't pass it off to the customer, you’re passing it off to yourself, so you can only sustain that for so long,” Finnegan said.
Despite the prices, the National Retail Federation is expecting a record-breaking St. Patrick’s Day. According to the organization’s annual survey, 61% of consumers plan to celebrate the holiday compared to 54% in 2022. The NRF said people intend to spend an average of around $44 on St. Patrick’s Day festivities this year.
Finnegan’s serves alcohol and is outsourcing the traditional corned beef and cabbage from a local deli for the holiday.
Finnegan said the amount they spend on beer and liquor has increased by at least 10 to 20%, and the food items have gone up by about 5% in the last year.
“Every little bit adds up. It's a family-run business. Every nickel that comes in is what goes to feed my daughter and my son and my wife, so it becomes difficult,” Finnegan said.
To cope, Finnegan has had to pass a little bit of the buck on to his customers, but he’s trying to resist doing that again.
“We're a community bar in a community area. The people that come in here, you know, you're on a first-name basis with them. You know where they work, you know their kids, what grade they're in. You don't want to affect them as much as you can,” Finnegan said.
Finnegan hopes the St. Patrick’s Day traditions at his pub continue.
“You're not going to get the party you're going to have at home. The bar is one thing I tell everybody, ‘you're paying for the experience,’ you know, the jukebox, the friends, the food. You can't beat it,” Finnegan said.
The NRF also said consumers with children celebrate the holiday more than those without by getting decorations, candy, apparel and accessories.