The St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Ollie’s Pub in downtown Lodi on March 17 is sure to be awfully good. St. Patrick’s Day is the Pub’s biggest day of the year and falling on a Friday this year the party will be turned up in the 209.
Owners Sean and Ashlee Guthrie and Justin and Dawn O’Byrne partnered up 12 years ago to keep the neighborhood bar on School Street bustling as it has been for over 50 years.
“We are local boys so we decided to take it over and it is where it is now,” said Guthrie. “It keeps growing and it is a machine of itself really. My partner is the Irish one, well I am Irish too but he is full Irish. His dad is from Ireland. We wanted to open up a pub and we saw the advantage and Lodi needed a spot so we just kind of fell into it and started from scratch. We ran it like a business instead of a bar; that is how we are successful.”
In traditional Irish pub fashion, the lighting is low, there is a large Guinness mirror, dark wood throughout, Jameson signs, an assortment of Irish whiskeys and, of course, Guinness on tap. They offer several Guinness blends like the Blacksmith which is Guinness and Smithwicks, Snakebite with Magners, and the Badger with Smirnoff Ice.
In their corporation they have over 20 employees and their lead bartender Miguel Razo noted that they are a great company to work for and that they treated everyone like family.
“We have been pretty lucky with the clientele, everyone in Lodi pretty much comes here and knows of it,” stated Guthrie. “Our support system is the best. It is all about the staff. They do a great job. Our door guys do a great job. It is just a big family here. You are not an employee, you are family.”
They do not have a happy hour nor do they offer food but if “the craic is 90” which is Irish slang for “a fantastic, brilliant time” then Ollie’s Pub is the place to be, especially on St. Patrick’s Day.
“We have really become a destination which is great for the Valley,” remarked Guthrie. “We have been recognized by a lot of the other small little pubs. We do well here as far as recognition and so forth. We have received all kinds of awards. We get a lot of locals that have become family. We sell a lot of Guinness here.”
The weeklong celebration will begin with pre-St. Patty festivities including specials with Guinness, Jameson, Proper 12, and Tullamore Dew as well as Irish events leading up to Friday. On Friday, March 17, Ollie’s will open at 8 a.m. with music around noon and by 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. the place will be buzzing with people and it will likely be hard to get in … so get there early.
They will have a bagpipe player and live music. The liquor reps and distributors will be on hand and they will pass out swag.
There will be a whole lot of Irish whiskeys being poured and Guinness being served up as well as Irish car bombs, black and tans and shots. They also plan to have some food offerings for guests to hopefully prevent getting “fluthered” which is another Irish word that means “very, very, drunk.”
Guthrie shared that his favorite parts of being an owner of Ollie’s are “being a staple of Lodi and the people.”
In the bar industry there are always drink trends and currently energy drinks and alcohol seem to be a real crowd pleaser. At Ollie’s the top three shots are the Superman, Starburst, and Pink Taco. Razo created the Cool-Aid shot that customers can enjoy as well. They can also make the shots into a drink if that is preferred over taking a shot.
“I like serving drinks,” expressed Razo. “People are my favorite thing about bartending. I have been bartending for 17 years. Come get a perfect Guinness. They take their Guinness really serious around here.”
Razo explained that there were a couple guys that received a certificate for serving Guinness the right way and they taught them how to do it.
Ollie’s Pub has a lot of outdoor space for those that would prefer to be outdoors. They have a patio in front and back and an outdoor venue in the back parking lot. They offer live music on the weekends which draws a crowd and they have an award-winning Bloody Mary garnished with bacon that is purchased from a local deli.
“We welcome everybody,” mentioned Guthrie. “It is a good spot to hang out. It is not a night club. It is a great drinking establishment.”