By Jason DeRusha

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It is the place to be every St. Patrick’s Day, but 20 years ago, no one was really sure if the luck of the Irish would shine on The Local.

“It’s a tough business these days, you know, we’re just happy to have been here for 20 years in downtown Minneapolis,” said Peter Killen, the CEO of The Local.

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Killen is the second Irishman to run the pub on Nicollet Mall, taking over after original founder Kieran Folliard left to start Two Gingers Whiskey.

“Two Gingers started here, Finnegans beer started here,” Killen said.

A lot of great ideas started at the Local’s gorgeous, 80-foot-long bar, which was crafted in Ireland and put together on 10th Street and Nicollet in downtown Minneapolis.

The Local’s signature cocktail, a combination of ginger ale and Irish Whiskey, led to it being the No. 1 seller of Jameson in the U.S. for years. It was such a big deal they encased a ceremonial whiskey barrel head right in the floor.

The Local’s also been the top seller of Guinness Irish beer as well.

“We have a very good estimate of well over a million pints of Guinness, which is kind of crazy,” Killen said. “It’s the only beer we’ve served over the whole 20 years.”

They’ve sold an ocean’s worth of cod, too.

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“The fish and chips, we can be proud of it,” Killen said

Chef Vincent Francual heads the culinary side of The Local.

What does a French chef know about an Irish pub?

“I did spend a lot of time going out in an Irish pub, actually, I’m more of an pub guy,” Francual said.

Both the French and the Irish use a lot of cream and butter in their food, and both culinary cultures understand that the food has to work with beer.

Still, all of that is secondary to the fellowship.

“Our vision is to be the friendliest…our No. 1 focus is to be the friendliest pub in the world,” Killen said.

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St. Patrick’s Day is on a Saturday this year. So, on March 17, The Local will be the place to be in downtown Minneapolis.

Jason DeRusha