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Beverly Businesses Stock Up on Beer, Meat for South Side Irish Parade

BEVERLY—Twice the steak and three times the Guinness.

That’s what Beverly business owners are stockpiling as they prepare for Sunday’s South Side Irish Parade.

“It’s the biggest sales day all year,” said Dave Kriedemann, 31, owner of the Irish pub O'Rourke's Office, 11064 S. Western Ave. “I’ve added twelve draft lines.”

Kriedemann said his pub typically stocks 15 kegs per week. For the parade, he ordered 44 — “heavy on the Guinness.”

“St. Patrick’s Day will be busy, but the parade brings people from all over the city,” said Sara, a bar manager at Dingers Sports Bar, 10638 S. Western Ave., who declined to give her last name.

“You don’t get as many local people,” Sara, 33, said. “It’s a lot of North Siders. Most people from the area go to parties. They’re doing house things.”

Bar owners are planning on packed houses from about 11 a.m. to closing time, Kriedemann said.

Dingers will remove its stools, install portable bathrooms outside and hire at least seven bouncers, up from the normal 1 or 2, Sara said. And patrons can expect drink prices to increase by $1-2 each.

“There’s no such things as drink specials,” Kriedemann said. “The prices go up significantly.

At O’Rourke’s, beer cans will increase from $3 to $5, and Guinness will go up from $5 to $7. Plus, there will be a $10 cover charge.

“People will pay,” Sara deadpanned.

But not for everything. Maria Ontiveros, who along with her husband owns Taqueria Valparaiso, 10500 S. Western Ave., said she tried upping prices in 2012.

“It didn’t work,” Ontiveros said. “People would come in here, look at the prices and walk out. People will pay at bars; they want to drink. They’re not going to pay that much for food.”

Still, Ontiveros said, she’ll remain open on Sunday — a day her Mexican restaurant typically closes. She’s doubled her chicken, beef and beverage orders, and plans to offer seasonal specials, such as tilapia tacos for Lent.

On Friday afternoon, business owners along South Western Avenue were busy hanging decorations — shamrocks and bright green beer advertisements. City workers cleared snow with Bobcats and shovels, and heaps of blue city barricades alerted residents to Sunday’s festivities.

“We’re just running around trying to get everything ready,” parade co-chair Kevin Coakley said from the parade’s store at 10934 S. Western Ave.

Marshalls and volunteers will meet Saturday night to finalize stations and responsibilities, Coakley said. And portable bathrooms should be set up Saturday.

The South Side Irish Parade, a longtime staple in Beverly, returned to the neighborhood in 2012 following a 2-year hiatus after complaints about rowdy, drunken behavior.

Sara said the hiatus was tough for neighborhood bars.

“A lot of the bars rely on that day,” she said. “They’ve had it for so long that it was a big payday. I’m sure it was an adjustment.”

While it may not have paid off financially, the hiatus did help the parade’s character, Sara said.

“It’s definitely calmed down a lot,” Sara said. She called the parade a family-oriented event full of “lots of happy Irish people.”

Kriedemann, who bartended at O’Rourke’s for two years before buying the pub in June 2012, said he’s excited about his first parade day as owner.

“You hope for the best,” he said. He’ll have Celtic bands, bagpipes and bouncers, and “we close early that day since everyone been drinking since the morning.”

Parade kickoff is at noon Sunday. The parade route runs along South Western Avenue from 103rd to 115th Streets.