Birthday blues | Irish Volunteer faces uncertainty as ninth anniversary nears

By Jim Boyce | One of Beijing’s best locals, The Irish Volunteer, will celebrate its ninth—and possibly last—birthday next Saturday. The team at this Lido veteran and neighboring Hockey Bar are facing uncertainty with their lease.

“We are currently in negotiations with our landlord and some potential new partners to find ways to keep the IV open for our wonderful family of customers,” wrote main shareholder George Smith on social media today.

“You all understand the challenges with landlords and leases so please know we are trying our best to find a positive way forward,” added Smith. “In the end we will have to make a decision based upon our business sense and not our hearts.”

Smith said the plan is to close Irish Volunteer and Hockey Bar during July for renovations. He also hinted at doing some pop-up events.

This situation should be extra incentive to join next Saturday’s birthday bash. Expect extended happy hours, from 2 PM to 9 PM, a corn toss contest, and the usual shenanigans.

I’ve had good times at these parties and on lots of other Irish Volunteer visits, including opening night in 2009 (see photos of that and more in the collage below). That covers everything from seeing Canada win Olympic hockey gold in 2010—and the Cubs win the World Series!—to impromptu corn toss games. Irish Volunteer has also held some wild Canada Day parties and been a major supporter of the annual Maovember charity campaign. Fingers crossed everything works out and we have lots more fun to come!

Some Irish Volunteer and Hockey Bar photos from over the years:

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