Irish step dancing and echoing live music from the old sod won’t be available, but this year green masks and Guinness will abound at J.J. Foley’s in the South End – one year after St. Patrick’s Day became the first celebration that fell victim to the scourge of COVID-19.
“Half of St. Patrick’s Day will be better than no St. Patrick’s Day,” said Mike Foley, of the South End annual go-to pub for St. Patrick’s Day.
Last year was just such a time, when the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade was cancelled as COVID-19 set upon the City, and then by St. Patrick’s Day – all was shut down. It was a striking blow not only to businesses such as Foley’s in Boston, but also to the spirit of the City – which is annually one of the best cities in the nation to celebrate St. Pat’s.
Last year, St. Patrick’s Day was the first day that Foley’s attempted to do take-out only, and Mike Foley said it was a surreal day that he won’t soon forget.
“That was our first day that we did just take-out,” he recalled. “It was very, very strange not to have any Irish music going on and people not here relaxing and enjoying a Guinness. It’s sad to think about, but things now seem to be getting better.”
To that end, Foley’s will be ramping up this year for a cautious and safe St. Patrick’s Day. They will have in-person dining and the Guinness will be flowing, but patrons have to stay seated and everyone has to stay six-feet apart.
“We have to kind of do the same as everybody else is doing,” Foley said. “We’ll have to play it by ear. We want people to be safe first. All the tables have to be six feet apart. It will take away a lot of the atmosphere you usually have, but I think people understand that this year.”
The specials this year will be Corned Beef and Cabbage, as well as Shepard’s Pie – a paired down menu from the traditional feast they serve, but again two stalwarts that folks will likely look forward to, he said.
They will start the fun this Friday, and go through St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.
“The weather is supposed to be nice, and I hope to see a lot of green masks coming through here,” said Foley.