Popular St. Patrick’s Day bars feeling the weight of this pandemic, but grateful the worst is behind them

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Inside ‘The Pub’ (formally known as Avenue Pub), there are dividers at the bar, and the pool table that normally sits in the middle of the room was moved out to create more table space. There will also be tables outside on the sand volleyball court. All tables are first come first serve.

“People come out of the woodwork on St. Patrick’s Day,” Lori Struski said, the owner of The Pub.

The popular Irish spot would normally see hundreds of patrons on parade weekend. But regardless of the strict rules that keep her bar at 50 percent capacity, Struski said she’s just happy the worst from this pandemic is behind her.

“I know it’s impacting my business, absolutely… but I’m still here,” Struski said.

It’s been a tough year for Struski. Back in the Spring, she closed her business for 3-4 months. To make ends meet, she got creative and started building cornhole boards with her family. They sold about 100 of them to help pay the bills.

The cornhole boards are still for sale, but Struski said The Pub’s re-worked menu, which includes special family recipes, has helped create a loyal customer base.

About 10 minutes away, the annual First Ward Parade would normally bring thousands of people to Adolf’s. But this weekend, there will only be 30 people inside the bar at a time, and reservations are already booked.

Patrons will also be out by 11 p.m., which is mandated by the state.

“That’s limiting our revenue,” Brian Krause said, the owner of Adolf’s Old First Ward Tavern. “You got people who are here following the rules, but we have to follow the rules and tell them, ‘Sorry but you can’t stay here anymore.’ It is what it is, we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, but we would like to see that go.”

Many restaurant owners say they’re ready for restrictions to loosen even further, but for now, they’re thankful to the City of Good Neighbors for helping them through the toughest time of their lives.

“I don’t try to get angry about stuff like that, I just try to get more creative with it and know that this time will pass and make us stronger and better,” Struski said. “And you start to really see the people… the true heart of South Buffalo… the true heart of local neighborhoods and Buffalo in general. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Kelsey Anderson is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.

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