'Quite a tradition' - Pubs gear up for local St. Patrick's Day celebration

LAWRENCEVILLE - Some Gwinnett establishments are predicting a green St. Patrick's Day.

Loafing Leprechaun Restaurant & Irish Pub in Duluth and Tabby's Irish Pub in Buford are expecting large crowds today, the annual celebration of one of the patron saints of Ireland.

Tanya Wynn, manager of the Loafing Leprechaun, said the restaurant will likely be full by 11:30 a.m. About 5,000 pints of beer will be poured and between 300 and 400 pounds of corned beef will be cooked up throughout the day, she said.

St. Patrick's Day is more than an excuse for people to go out and drink, said Richard Cox, who co-owns the Loafing Leprechaun with Brian Harris.

"It's a day where just everyone comes out for a common cause. ... It's a lot of people coming out to have fun," Cox said. "It's become quite a tradition out here."

Tabby's Irish Pub will have tons of Guinness, Harp and Bass available during its day-long celebration, owner Rauna Hart said. Last year, about 1,000 people visited the establishment on St. Patrick's Day, a few months after the pub had opened.

Paddy's Pub on the Chateau Elan campus in Braselton is also a popular spot for Irish revelers.

Although the Gwinnett restaurants are prepared for a busy day, the National Retail Federation, using an annual consumer survey, predicts St. Patrick's Day will be celebrated by 3 million fewer Americans - a 3 percent decline nationwide - compared with 2008. It estimates spending for the holiday will drop nearly 10 percent from last year, a decrease of $350 million, according to the Associated Press.

For more information about the Gwinnett festivities, visit www.loafingleprechaun.com and www.tabbysirishpub.net.