ST. LOUIS – Ahead of Friday’s huge St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the Dogtown neighborhood, one business in the area is changing owners. Joe Jovanovich, the owner of The Pat Connolly Tavern, says his family is selling the business.

“It wasn’t something we were looking for necessarily, but we were approached with this opportunity,” Jovanovich said. “At first, we were like, no way, but then as we thought about it more and opened our minds to what it could look like, we ended up deciding to give it a shot.”

According to Jovanovich, some restaurant owners felt reenergized as a result of their businesses surviving the pandemic. While he’s proud Pat’s kept its doors open, the experience took him down a different path.

“Is this really where my heart is? If we’re going to have to sink so much energy into making this work in this post-COVID environment, is that really where my heart of hearts is,” Jovanovich said.

He said the new owner won’t take over until June. For now, it’s business as usual, and he expects business will be booming Friday in Dogtown.

“We hope folks come and see us and celebrate what stands to be the last Connolly St. Patrick’s Day,” Jovanovich said.

For a guy who’s spent nearly every St. Patrick’s Day here since he was a kid, Jovanovich said he is ready to experience next March 17 on the other side of the bar.

“I also look forward to coming down here as a normal patron at future St. Patrick’s Days,” he said. “I think that’ll be special. I’ve never been able to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day with my kids before, and maybe next year I’ll be able to.”