The Guinness Brewery and Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day in Rochester

A Visit to the Guinness Brewery

I was in Dublin with friends several years ago and we all thought we should visit the Guinness Brewery. It was a nice Saturday afternoon as we made our way, by using public transportation and walking, to get to our destination. Upon arrival to St. James Gate we discovered the brewery was closed on weekends. Completely disappointed, we did the next best thing; we went to the nearest pub displaying a Guinness sign (which is every pub in Ireland) to quench our thirst.

A Substitute Irish Tour

This was not a pub that receives many tourists. We went right to the bar to order a pint of Guinness, one for each of us, purely to experience the culture. It didn’t take long for the locals to strike up a conversation with us. Three men spent three hours telling us about the brewery, Dublin, and the Irish. We received a special tour through the now blurry eyes of these colorful Irish gentlemen. We learned about Guinness: the way to pour it, how to tell a good pint from a bad one, and how to drink it.

The conversation stayed lively, only to be interrupted once by a woman throwing a teapot from the front door at the bartender, words were exchanged and they had to chase her out. She wasn’t drinking Guinness, but I’m sure she had been drinking something. We talked about our heritage, politics and religion. And we did so in a fun and constructive manner.

It was difficult to leave our new friends, however we needed to be on our way and the three men said they had better finish running the errands their wives had sent them out to do. I got the impression they “ran errands” every Saturday afternoon.

Back to the Brewery

It took me four years to journey back to Ireland and to Dublin. This time, making sure it was a weekday, the brewery was open and I was able to enter St. James Gate.

I took the tour with a friend that had not been with me the on my first attempt. We saw all the typical beer making contraptions and perused the museum of posters and promotional signs. And at the end of the tour we received our free pint of Guinness – rumored to be the best pint served anywhere – it was good.

However, even after I purchased my souvenir rugby shirt and took several photographs, I still felt a void. The failed attempt four years earlier had rendered a more memorable experience than this day had.

St. Patrick’s Day in Rochester

For a taste of Ireland closer to home, here are few ways to spend St. Patrick’s Day (Saturday March 17) in Downtown Rochester:

The Rochester Mills Brewery (Fourth St. & Water St.) will open its doors at 8:00 a.m. to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Irish menu specials include: Bangers and Mash, Irish stew, and Corned Beef & Cabbage. Substitute Guinness for one of the many handcrafted beers on tap. Drink special throughout the day – NO COVER – and music starts at 3:00 p.m. and runs until close. Pints of beer are $4.50.

O’Connor’s Public House (On Main Street) offers a free breakfast from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. and will be open all day. Several bands will perform – $10.00 COVER – with a big tent set up in the back alley. Pints of Guinness are $7.00 and served in a plastic cup.


Mr. B’s Rochester (On Main Street) will be open normal Saturday hours with a special menu which includes Lamb Stew and Corned Beef & Cabbage. Live music from 3:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. – NO COVER – and the upstairs deck will be open. 22 ounce Guinness beers are $6.00.


A Final Thought

Please be safe and do not drive if you over celebrate. Wear St. Patrick’s patron color of BLUE, or wear GREEN for Ireland, or ORANGE for Northern Ireland. Real beer is a warm dark color and never green – that’s a gimmick that the big domestic beer companies started.

Michael Dwyer is a freelance writer and travel columnist. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

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