We count down the 12 Days to Christmas, why not the 17 Days to St. Patrick’s Day? If there’s one holiday that should be a season of cheer, it’s this one, we say. Here’s Edition 8 of the Vacay.ca St. Patrick’s Day in Canada Countdown — where we name 17 of the best Irish bars in the land!
Day 8: O’Hanlons, Regina
Story by Jody Robbins
REGINA — It’s a long way from downtown Regina to the Emerald Isle, but some say you can get there in one pint at O’Hanlons. Combining woodwork by local artisans with a tin roof and stained-glass windows, the pub looks “just like any other pub you’d find in Western Ireland,” says owner and former Galway resident Niall O’Hanlon. The only Irish-owned pub in Regina, O’Hanlons has been going strong for the past 12 years.
It claims to sell more beer than any other bar in Western Canada and with capacity for 400 Irishmen (or Irishmen for a day), they just might be right. While the Guinness cascades all year, St. Paddy’s Day is like a second Christmas for O’Hanlons. A prominent countdown clock above the main bar is always there to remind you just how far away you are to the happiest day of the year. The clientele is a mix of anybody and everybody, 19 to 80 years old, “any nice person is more than welcome to come through our door,” encourages O’Hanlon.
Quote from an Irishman: “Nobody with an Irish passport has to work on St. Patrick’s Day,” says O’Hanlon. “We become part of the problem.”
You know it’s authentic Irish because: They don’t always play Irish music. “We’re not fake at all,” says O’Hanlon. Another tip-off this place is the real deal? They don’t feel the need for a website. Business is always booming and patrons know where to find them.
Cost of a pint of Guinness: $8. Also recommended on St. Paddy’s Day, is Irish whisky, ranging from $4.75 to $30. Like many traditional Irish pubs, you won’t find green beer here. “Why would you ruin a perfectly good thing by adding dye to it?” questions O’Hanlon, with just a hint of irritation at even being asked about it.
St. Patrick’s Day plans: They’ll be open early (10am) serving pints and a full Irish breakfast. So popular is the breakfast of gammon ($9.95) — blood sausage, eggs, beans, mushrooms, real hash browns and potato bread — that many patrons order it three times over the course of a day. Live music begins at 11 am, with a line-up of eight bands, including the City of Regina Pipe Band. Catchy, Celtic music and three sets of Irish dancers promise to get the crowd to its feet.
Contact info: 1947 Scarth St., Regina; 306-566-4094; Facebook Page
Have you got a favourite Irish pub? Tell us about it. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we may feature it in our countdown!