Businesses in Louisville celebrate St. Patrick's Day and first r - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Businesses in Louisville celebrate St. Patrick's Day and first round of NCAA tournament

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- With St. Patrick's Day celebrations, the first round of the men's NCAA tournament starting Thursday, and the women's first round starting Friday, it's been a busy day for businesses across Louisville.

Molly Malone's, in the Highlands, has been packed since they opened at 11:00 a.m. This afternoon, it was crowded with people decked out in green, as well as those sporting their IU and UK gear.

With all that's going on, restaurants in Louisville are expecting a big spike in sales.

Areas like downtown Louisville, St. Matthews and the Highlands have been busy celebrating St. Patrick's Day and the start of the NCAA tournament.

The owner of Molly Malone's says he brought in extra staff and alcohol just for today's festivities.

"It's a great day," said Donal Ryan, the owner of Molly Malone's. "It's great for business...a lot of people love coming out to celebrate their Irish heritage, and then here in Louisville, basketball is so huge, and with the beginning of the tournament, it's just a great, fun day."

On Friday, the first round of the women's tournament will start at the KFC Yum! Center, so downtown restaurants and hotels expect more visitors as well.

"We have a lot of people coming in, definitely from the hotels, definitely want to watch a couple games and then we'll probably get a little crowd for the women's games, probably a little crowd after the games. So, yeah, we're definitely looking forward to it," said Greg Wilson, a bartender at Champion's Sports Bar and Restaurant.  

Whether you're a St. Patrick's Day fan or a college basketball fan, today you can celebrate both in one place.

Places like Molly Malone's are serving Irish food and green beer while turning the channel from their usual soccer to college basketball, knowing that the NCAA first round is a big attraction for many customers.

"Well, it'll bring out a lot of people this evening," said Ryan. "You know there's going to be a lot of people out celebrating St. Patrick's Day. It'll give them a reason to stay out a little later."

"It's St. Patrick's Day. It's the first day of the year people actually accept us drinking early afternoon and watching the games together," said Brandon Beaben, an Indiana fan.

"It's Christmas and New Years Eve all rolled into one," said Dustin Neel, a Kentucky fan.

Some fans say they got to the bar around 11:00 a.m. today and plan to stay all day to watch IU and UK.

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