There are two events which will predictably and unforgivably overwhelm an Irish pub: A grand opening celebration and St. Patrick's Day. For two courageous Belltown bars, those parties will fall on almost the same day.
Patrick Coyne of Paddy Coyne's Irish Pub, which this Monday opened its fourth and biggest location on Alaskan Way, and Jennifer Jackson, who's handling the St. Patrick's Day festivities for the now one-day old C.S. Finnegan's at First and Vine, say they're ready for the weekend's holiday crowds.
"It was a lot of pressure, but we made it happen," Coyne says. "Hopefully we'll have a great St. Patrick's Day."
Many of those hopes rest on the restaurant's staff, which had four days of training before the restaurant opened.
"It's a whole brand new staff," says Coyne, who seven years ago opened Paddy Coyne's in South Lake Union, and has since added locations in Tacoma and Bellevue. "We just hired high."
Over at C.S. Finnegan's, a spin-off of The Celtic Swell, new hires will be interspersed with veterans from the eight-year old bar in Alki.
"We're using our most experienced staff," Jackson says. "We're going to have people distributed evenly."
Staff responsibilities will be especially daunting since the new pub has arranged to erect a 2800-square foot tent with two bars. For the holiday, owner Gareth Hughes has recruited bands, bagpipers and Irish step dancers.
"It wasn't like we intended to do this," Jackson says of the crunched time frame. "The original timing was to open mid-February, but they got really busy."
Hughes and his brother, who lives in Ireland, just this weekend finished staining the bar.
"It's coming together," Jackson says. "We're pretty excited because we're the only Irish pub doing such a massive show."