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Huntington celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with Irish food, music

March 18, 2019 GMT

HUNTINGTON — Several downtown Huntington pubs and restaurants traded their kelly greens for more Shamrock-inspired shades in honor of St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday.

Several featured Irish-themed menus, traditional music, specialty drinks and plenty of Guinness beer to go around.

Bahnhof WVrsthaus and Biergarten on 7th Avenue, a German-themed restaurant, expanded its menu to include traditional bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie. The restaurant completely sold out before Sunday’s closing, said general manager Dathan Holley.

Even though it is a German restaurant, Holley said the staff felt it is important to include other culinary treats in honor of the holiday.

“We are German-themed, but we are German-themed with an Appalachian twist,” he said. “We try to branch out and cover other countries with it and infused flavors.”

The restaurant also featured live music from the Charleston Rogues, a Celtic punk Pogues cover band. Before the band took to the stage, there was a wedding ceremony held for drummer Jake Wegman and bride Lisa Staup, both of South Charleston. The band’s lead singer, T.J. King, was the minister and then signed their marriage certificate after exiting the stage.

Wegman and Staup are of German-descent, so when the Charleston Rogues were booked to play Bahnhof on St. Patrick’s Day, they planned a Shamrock wedding.

“I went into the store and said, ‘Give me all your green dresses,’ ” Staup said. “The very first dress I tried on was a perfect fit.”

King said he was thrilled to bring the band’s version of the Irish punk music to Huntington because he graduated from Marshall University.

“I love spending St. Patrick’s Day where they bleed green,” he said.

He was most impressed with the crowd’s welcoming reaction, including 82-year-old Vicki Browning, who danced to a punk tune for the enjoyment of the crowd.

“I loved the music; I could hardly sit still,” said Browning, of Ironton.

The staff at the Bodega, a cafe and market at 9th Street and 4th Avenue, unveiled a full Irish menu to celebrate the holiday, including Irish beef stew, stout braised beef sandwiches, Bailey’s Irish cream brownies and bangers and mash.

Downtown Huntington Partners and iHeartMedia hosted the first-ever “Let’s Get Shamrocked” event, which included the participation of more than 30 retailers. Customers were given special beads they could show at various stops downtown for extra savings.

People also flocked to the Tavern, a pub on 4th Avenue, to get their beers and specialty drinks. The holiday is one of the busiest days for the pub, and the weekend was no exception, said Dirk Harrison. They celebrated by serving free homemade beef Guinness and red wine Irish stew.

“Saturday night was extremely busy, and this has been a dynamic Sunday for us,” Harrison said.

Celebrating there with friends was Huntington resident Mike Campbell, who said the city is the best to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

“It has the all the ingredients to be a great town,” he said. “The people who are friendly and enjoy having a good time, and it has all the establishments that are fun to go to.”

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.