SANTA BARBARA, Calif.
Clay Lovejoy remembers preparing for St. Patrick's Day at Lovejoy's Pickle Room in Santa Barbara last year when the coronavirus pandemic led to a lockdown.
Things are better this year.
Lovejoy said he is now allowed to serve more customers inside and in a new outdoor space.
Since Lovejoy's Pickle Room is located in the historic Jimmy's Oriental Gardens the chef created a fusion Rueben egg roll. Corned Beef and Cabbage is also on the menu.
Lovejoy expects Irish whiskey to be a big seller, too.
"We will definitely be toasting for St. Paddy's Day. Everybody feels so much better and a little bit more alive, you feel the town waking up a bit and it's a good feeling right now, " said Lovejoy.
After dark it looked like a pub crawl in downtown Santa Barbara.
Champion Irish dancer Allana Callaghan and her Firedance Studio student Tara Tuohy put on an impromptu show outside Dargan's Irish Pub & Restaurant.
Callaghan said the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on her performances and studio lessons last year, but now she is in demand and delighted to dance.
Dargan's bartender Mitch Lee said he didn't expect the long line of people waiting to enjoy the limited seating inside and expanded seating outdoors.
Maddie Owen waited in line wearing shamrock-shaped glasses. She said her day off happened to fall on the holiday.
A healthcare worker wearing a Kiss Me I'm Irish t-shirt said she was tired but still wanted to make the most of St. Patrick's Day.