A HUGE crowd including the local mayor turned out to celebrate the opening of Hirafu’s new Irish pub Paddy McGinty’s on Friday night.
The overwhelming response among patrons was that owners Roger Donazzan and Wayne Lazarus had done an incredible job recreating an authentic Irish drinking hall – complete with Guinness on tap shipped in from Dublin – in the heart of Hirafu.
The crowd could have topped 100 at times but the space handled them well, with patrons spilling outside later in the evening.
The bar is in the building that housed the old Big Cliff izakaya bar on Hirafu’s main street.
Offering food and drink in a smoke-free environment daily from 11am, Paddy McGinty’s will be one of the first foreign-owned Hirafu entertainment venues to open seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The move to open every day all year round has been welcomed by local government and business who are aiming to build Niseko’s summer infrastructure.
"It will not only cater for the large influx of tourists over the winter months but also the local and visiting Japanese and foreigners in the green season," Donazzan said.
"In the summer the outside beer garden and deck around the pub will further compliment the Paddy McGinty’s experience.
"Our mission is to serve fine food, great drinks and of course Guinness and Kilkenny on tap, all at a reasonable price in an exciting, welcoming and very high standard and comfortable environment."
Donazzan said they will also ensure they look after their regulars with special offers and discounts, and are also considering a local staff card with which holders can benefit from offers.
Managing the bar is Irishman Alan Power who has worked in and run Irish pubs in Tokyo for the last 15 years, and moved to Niseko with his wife and two daughters especially to run the pub.
Pub chef is local character Shin-san who has worked for the Grand Hirafu resort and at one stage owned his own Italian restaurant. Shin-san is chairman and teacher at the local children’s mogul school and competed when he was young.