St. Patty’s Day, a day for cultural celebration (more for Americans, less for the Irish)—and drinking beers with the lads whilst listening to raucous bagpipes—was locked down last year when the dreadful COVID-19 clouded over the world. Irish Albuquerque establishments and others who see their highest sales year-round were shut down for dine-in and bar service. Now, as Albuquerque slowly re-opens bars and taprooms, these spots are looking to capitalize.

One of the few Irish pubs in Albuquerque is O’Niell’s. With two locations serving in the heights and Nob Hill, the Irish-themed pubs have been serving the city for decades. A great spot to grab a pint of Guinness and the classic Rob’s Reuben ($9.99), they have been surviving through this last year with take-out and patio service.

With the biggest Irish pub holiday around the corner, O’Niell’s is ready to jump back into action. 

“It’s was really sad last year since we didn’t have a St. Patty’s Day, but I’m excited for this year,” O’Niell’s manager Skyler Whitehead said. “We’re bringing in dancers from the Brightburn Academy of Irish Dance and bagpipers from the New Mexico Fire and Police Pipes and Drums.”

It’s one of those few days out of the year—or maybe for some, the week, to day-drink and be merry. It’s fun, festive and green, but in this pandemic, O’Niells emphasizes the practice of COVID safety and asks for masks and social distancing. The brewery has a great patio at both locations, so we can all spread out.

“Obviously, this year we won’t be able to have as many people. We’re going to have to coordinate the crowd, because they’re not going to have the ability to come and go as they please,” Whitehead says. “We’re going to have to put a limited time on our tables. Patrons are going to have around an hour limit. But in the end, O’Niell’s believes the Albuquerque community needs the ability to celebrate this glorious day with us.”

To keep the food authentic this drinking holiday, stop by and have some corned beef and cabbage with your dark, tall Guinness. Dancers, bagpipes and singing while we celebrate Irish culture is really just a day to have fun. It may not be as boisterous this year as in the past, but it will be the perfect distraction from the COVID craze.

If you’re planning to head over to either of the O’Niell’s locations on March 17 for the show, make sure to make it by 1pm at both locations to catch the first bagpipe set. The bagpipers will be back again at 5:30pm at the Juan Tabo location and 7:30 pm at the Nob Hill location. To catch the Irish dancers, the Heights will be featuring them at 6:30pm and Nob Hill at 8pm.

Support local Irish pubs this St. Patty’s Day, and have a green beer for us.

O’Niell’s Pub

4310 Central Ave. SE & 3301 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE

Neighborhood: Nob Hill & the Heights

Category: Irish Pub

Phone: (505) 255-6782

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Cade Guererro

Cade is young journalist who has worked at publication in Austin, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. He focuses on the cultural topics of Albuquerque.

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