The Holidays are a special time of year at our Irish Pub. Yes, it’s hectic. And, yes, staff are working harder than ever. But, there is a vibe about the atmosphere here. It’s magic. And like any kind of spell, there are a few key ingredients that make it work.
Everyone moans about Holiday music starting too early or how sick of it they are by the 2nd week of December. Well, I am here to say that our Holiday play list is fantastic. It is good because we REALLY care about it -time of day, rotation, repeats, and volume. The guys that run the Pub really want the atmosphere to be just right. The Irish call it craic. This time of year we have a formula. One part holiday song, 3 parts contemporary rock, 1 part classic pub tune. OK, I actually don’t know what the formula is (not my job) but somehow all the right tunes at happy hour are playing and, before I know it, instead of hitting the Mall and knocking out my Christmas shopping, I’ve been convinced to order another. Here’s a fun fact for ya — years back (2007 to be exact) Edison Research did a very expensive study to find out what Christmas songs are most popular. Do we play the new ones, play more old ones, or boycott Christmas music altogether? Well, the research revealed that it was the old ones that everyone wanted to hear. And it was at that time we saw the birth of the 100% holiday music station. Case in point, our general manager in Chicago, Tom, an Irish fella and one of the sweetest, hardest working guys you’d ever have the pleasure of knowing, LOVES Fairytale of New York. It’s a Pogues tune featuring Kirsty MacColl. I love it too. Tom, though, is notorious for playing it during every shift and singing it even when the song isn’t on. OTT? Nah, how can “too happy” during any shift be too much?
This time of year we host a LOT of Holiday parties. And together with the music, lights and bodies, you will look around on a Tuesday night and certainly question the day of the week. We are a place where office parties don’t want to leave and other office parties come later to hang …usually when the Boss pulls the plug at the other place. Some of our party planners will tell you that even though it’s hard work during these 4-5 weeks (think overtime on steroids), it’s also super special. First of all, they get to hang with their late night crew and bond. There is always a closeness that comes out of being in the trenches, working towards the same goal that connects people. FOR REAL. Also, party planners get to witness the Holiday buzz first hand with so many of their clients at once. Serving happy customers is just contagious. And, it’s posts like this on our Instagram account that best illustrate what I am talking about here.
But, then there are stories like this that are pretty great too:
“It was my second Christmas at Fadó. I had just finished my first semester of grad school and was working at Fadó full time. I was worn out and heading into my last shift before going home for Christmas. I served a huge party – open bar tab, food – they took up one side of the pub. They drank a lot – and unfortunately some guests were really impatient and rude. The woman coordinating the office party warned me this would happen and she was incredibly nice. So nice in fact that she even wanted to know my story. I told her about grad school, 2 jobs, etc. As the night wore on, she kept telling me how thankful she was & how patient I was being. Well, when she signed the credit card slip at the end, she wrote the same exact amount for the tip as the included gratuity – which amounted to almost $600! I was panicked she hadn’t read the receipt and asked if she knew the grat was included. She explained she served and bartended her way through law school and she knew how hard it was to do both jobs. She said it was her way of “paying it forward”. Almost $600 to me back then was like a million dollars. She was so freaking kind! – Amanda, Bartender, D.C.
When all said and done though, the Holidays are magic because of the people on both sides of the bar. We are a business run by Americans and expats and during the Holidays many of us cannot get back to see our families. This pub is our home away from home and the people we work with and serve (our regulars) are very much our extended family. This story tells it best:
“The first Christmas I ever spent away from home was at the Atlanta pub. I started work about 6 weeks before Christmas and was told that I wouldn’t be able to leave over the Holidays. I was heart broken about missing the Holiday with my family. But, the Orphan’s Christmas that the managers hosted at the pub made the day special. Big dinner, Christmas movies, lots of booze. I remember very little other than the warm feelings, because I am pretty sure I was blacked out by 9PM.” -Michelle, General Manager, DC
Oh and just last week …THIS happened
(that’s a $1000 tip on a $30 bill)
So there it is. The Spell for Christmas Magic – Add one part music, one part mirth-making, mix with old friends – and the ones you haven’t met – and you have some very special Christmas craic.
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