It might be a normal Thursday for some, but for the Rose and Shamrock Village Inn, today is the biggest day of the year.

This morning, manager Grant Brunskill started pouring the Guinness at 5am.

"I stand on the Guinness tap and do three-quarter glasses, then the staff fill the rest," he said. "People come up to the bar and order in twos and threes so I have 20 ready to go at one time."

On St Patrick's Day last year the inn went through 18 50 litre kegs of Guinness, and with the celebrations falling on a Thursday this year, Mr Brunskill was expecting it to be "a busy one". "It's a huge day, bigger than any other day of the year," he said. "We have it down to a fine art."


The day is an annual tradition for the village inn - every year they start preparing for the next almost as soon as the day has finished. With live music from 7am, bands have to be booked far in advance, and a month out the inn starts ordering beer and making sure they have enough glasses in stock.

They also have to stock enough food for the full Irish breakfast - last year they served between 100 and 150 meals for breakfast.

This year they already had 85 bookings for the costumed breakfast, but were expecting even more people to "pop in".

"In the morning the crowd really get into it," the manager said. "We have an older crowd most of the time but on St Pat's they range from the very young to grandparents. It's amazing to watch. The grandparents are often the most dressed up."

After being at the pub for six years, Mr Brunskill said he found it amazing how much Kiwis got into St Patrick's, and thought it was the country's most celebrated day after Waitangi Day. "It shows everyone's a little bit Irish."

Police alcohol harm prevention officer Sergeant Raymond Wylie said police were expecting some premises to have one of their busier nights of the year, however every year premises were becoming better at managing their patrons. "Currently I have a great deal of confidence in our licensed premises and do not expect significant levels of rowdiness or disorder."

He said licensees and managers were well aware of their obligations and would be vigilant to intoxication and behaviour issues.

"Police are aware that St Patrick's Day will see an increase in patron numbers and vehicle movements and in response the general public can expect to see a police focus to these areas."