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When Atlantans think of soccer, patios and Guinness beer, chances are thoughts of Fado Irish Pub are not far behind. Fado opened its doors in Buckhead more than 20 years ago and has become a well-known gathering spot for sports events and beyond.
As an authentic Irish pub, Fado always goes all out for St. Patrick’s Day. Keep reading to learn more about its incredible history, this year’s St. Patrick’s Day line-up of events and more!
1. How did Fado find its home in Atlanta?
Fado opened in Buckhead in 1996 — it was a happy accident. Irish Pub Company, a small company based out of Dublin, came to the U.S. with the goal of selling restauranteurs and bar owners on the Irish pub concept. They were a design and build firm that created custom, authentic Irish pubs in Ireland and then shipped them around the world where they would be installed and enjoyed for years to come.
Unfortunately, the company didn’t find much interest because the concept didn’t fit the typical U.S. mold. It didn’t have big open spaces, there were no TVs at the time and there were no domestic beers. Staying true to their belief in the concept, the small group of entrepreneurs decided to open one themselves. They chose Atlanta because of its location on the East Coast (the team was still living in Ireland) and the availability of direct flights.
In 1996, the first authentic pub in the U.S. opened on the corner of Peachtree and Buckhead Ave. Above the door it said ‘Fado Fado’ which in Gaelic means ‘long, long ago’. The phrase would be used at the beginning of a story like ‘once upon a time…’. The team chose that name because they wanted to tell the story of Ireland’s rich pub culture here in the U.S. The outlet was an instant hit and quickly became the number one Guinness account in the entire United States. Over the years it has become a mainstay in Buckhead and is known for its quality and everything from a place for informal gatherings, family events, corporate functions and plenty of international soccer and rugby.
2. How have Fado’s St. Patrick’s Day events evolved since you opened in 1996?
It’s gone from an event that spilled out into the back parking lot one day a year, with the peak drinking time of 3-4pm (10 years ago it was 12am!) to a multi-day outdoor event that takes up a city block with multiple stages, beer gardens and a ‘wind down’ Family Day after the big festival that includes multiple family activities and a petting zoo for the kids.
We have also expanded our alcohol offerings. In previous years we mainly served whiskey and beer in tubs, where as today we have added cocktails, tubs of canned wines and hard seltzers. Our music selection has also changed to include DJs and live bands. We have noticed that DJs play an integral part throughout our event, especially late night when the live music ends.
3. What are some St. Patrick’s Day food specials that have stayed around since the beginning?
#1 is Corned Beef and Cabbage. We took it off the menu one year and there was a small riot!
4. What is new for St. Patrick’s Day this year?
We are going to have a new look! Remodeling is underway for our new outdoor patio and we are hoping it will be done by Paddy’s Day! We’ve been hosting this event for more than 20 years, and there is a pretty simple formula – great music, fantastic food and drink and an enthusiastic team serving up the best pints and cocktails from morning ‘til close! The goal is to make it look easy.
5. What is the best part about St. Patrick’s Day for your team?
The day after. Just kidding! St Patrick’s Day is an all-hands-on-deck kind of event. Everyone in the company, including the owner, is working very long hours. And there is nothing quite like the camaraderie felt in the middle of a 15-hour St Patrick’s day shift! Except, maybe, the taste of the first pint when we’re all done.
6. What are the line-up of events for St. Patrick’s Day at Fado Irish Pub?
On Friday, March 13th, we are hosting our 19th annual St Baldrick’s Head-shaving event. The lead volunteer & his family are Irish and he has been working with us every year since his young daughter was stricken with cancer. And, gratefully, she has been cancer-free ever since! Shave your head in solidarity with kids battling childhood cancer and all the money you raise will help fight end childhood cancer! We will have donation cans available around the pub. Or go online HERE and donate today!
On Saturday, March 14 we open our doors at 7:30am for international soccer and rugby. And our annual outdoor block party is from 1pm – 10pm with live music, Irish dancers, pipers and plenty of food and drink. And when the outdoor event wraps up, the DJ kicks it up inside ‘til late.
On Tuesday, March 17 our doors open again at 8am for our die hard Paddy’s – a pint of Guinness and some breakfast. Folks come down before work, pop in for lunch, an afternoon soccer game and then the real party gets going around 4pm. We’ll have Irish dancers throughout. Plus, live music and our DJ lined up ‘til close.
Want more information? Take a look at Fado Irish Pub’s St. Patrick’s Day events here.