Hoping for boost, St. Paul businesses brace for flurry of Winter Carnival customers

Downtown St. Paul businesses are hopeful the Winter Carnival will drive customers to restaurants and bars on West Seventh Street.

“Our brunch today has been pretty hectic,” Julia Martinez, St. Paul Parlour Bar assistant general manager, said.

A flurry of people sat down at the Parlour Bar on Saturday and managers credit the Winter Carnival.

“We see a lot of families and it’s just been great. Winter Carnival has brought a lot in for us today,” Martinez said.

The St. Paul Winter Carnival kicked off on Friday.

RELATED: St. Paul Winter Carnival now underway

The 10-day event drives people downtown and businesses hope patrons stop in a restaurant or bar for a bite to eat.

“It’s wonderful. I mean it just makes me happy. I love seeing people bustling around again,” Martinez said.

She said they depend on downtown events to bring in more customers and cash.

“It’s been great actually. We have not noticed much of a decline outside of the normal holiday,” Martinez said.

Shamrocks Bar and Grill staff said they could use a little luck.

“Everything is different and we have to take it day by day and see what’s happening,” Kizzy Bell, Shamrocks assistant general manager, said. “Friday and Saturdays it’s pretty much half of the revenue that we usually do so we definitely have been hurting.”

When the St. Paul vaccine-or-test mandate rolled out, the restaurant saw a drop in customers, but the manager said the carnival could pick up foot traffic and give some relief.

“We tried to get people in with our special events and everything at the Xcel Center. We have a calendar of everything that Xcel is doing and making sure that we’re staffed appropriately,” Bell said.

The Winter Carnival is underway in downtown St. Paul until Feb. 6.