Pubs part of family heritage for local bartender

Erin Breslin at McNally's Pub in downtown St. Charles Jan. 27.

Aside from working as a bartender at McNally’s Irish Pub, 109 W. Main St., Charles, for over 10 years, Erin Breslin’s roots to Irish pubs go back much further.

Breslin said her father’s family once had a pub in Ireland. With its Irish traditions and ties to her family heritage, McNally’s Irish Pub carries a homey feel for her.

“It’s where friends gather,” she said. “Everyone knows each other’s name — like in ‘Cheers.’”

Breslin started working at McNally’s Irish Pub as a bartender in 1998. At that time, the pub had just opened. Before she started working there, Breslin learned how to bartend at a small golf course in Addison, where she grew up.

“I kind of just fell into it,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed it.”

Breslin moved to St. Charles around the same time she applied to work at McNally’s. She noted how much the city’s grown since then.

“There’s a lot more shops,” she said. “There’s always something to do.”

Compared to other towns, Breslin said she likes St. Charles for its quaint feel and a variety of entertainment.

“It’s a great town,” she said.

As a bartender, her job entails a lot of customer service and, of course, making traditional Irish drinks.

Her most important task is “pouring the perfect Guinness,” perhaps the most popular Irish beer, she said. Other popular Irish drinks at the pub include Irish coffee made of coffee, Jameson whiskey and sugar, as well as a baby Guinness, a layered drink made up of Patron XO tequila with Bailey’s Irish Cream on top. Every Sunday, the bar also plays traditional Irish music.

But the most well-known tradition at the bar is its celebration of the fast-approaching St. Patrick’s Day.

Though the holiday is in March, the celebration starts as early as Feb. 17 at McNally’s when the pub kicks off “St. Practice Day” with live entertainment and trivia. The city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day festival and parade will also be just outside the pub’s doors.

“It’s a season for us,” Breslin said. “We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day to the fullest.”

When St. Patrick’s Day does come around, Breslin said that the bar will likely be busy every night that week.

“It’s just all fun, excitement and people wall to wall,” she said. “It’s a fun month.”

Despite a bartender’s sometimes long and late hours, Breslin said she enjoys its fast pace and the customers who come in — some of whom have parents or grandfathers from Ireland, too.

“(St. Charles) has got a lot of great people,” she said.

Source: Elizabeth Stoever,

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