Step into Corby’s Irish Pub on the corner of Lasalle and N. Niles avenues, and you might hear the following phrase: “Welcome to Corby’s Irish Pub. We like to make your dreams a reality.”
Patrick VanBergen is likely the one saying it at the Notre Dame bar made famous by the movie “Rudy.”
Corby’s serves more than a nostalgia trip, however. Bar games, hand-tossed pizza and drinks galore are offered, and Patrick has been a part of it for 13 years, from when he first joined as a part-time bouncer to today as a veteran bartender and security manager.
We asked him for the inside scoop on Corby’s reputation, offerings and place in South Bend’s bar scene.
WHAT IS THE ATMOSPHERE LIKE?
We’re “a Notre Dame bar,” but we get a lot of local people in.
WHAT COCKTAIL DO YOU MOST ENJOY SERVING?
I have my own personal cocktail. It’s a purple drink. It’s called a Purple Pat — PP for short. … It’s raspberry vodka, triple sec, Razzamatazz, lemonade and sprite.
WHAT IS THE STRANGEST DRINK YOU’VE SERVED?
Malört. It’s this disgusting liquor. … These kids, they request it. It is the most god-awful shot in the world. Like I don’t know why anyone would want to do it. I got a buddy that does it, and he’s got to chase it with mustard. That’s how bad it is.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY JOB?
I enjoy new people coming in and interacting and just having them smile. That’s probably the best part about bartending — just interacting with someone.
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE MEMORIES AS A BARTENDER?
There’s a group of guys that come in every year for one or two Notre Dame games. I’ve developed this relationship with them. They know me on a first-name basis, and they’re huge St. Louis Cardinal fans. I’m a Cubs fan, and they know this. They tease me.
One year, the Cubs lost. They came in that following year and brought me a signed Cardinals shirt just to rub it in my face.
IS THERE A SOUTH BEND BAR OR SCENE YOU ENJOY?
We get pretty busy here on the weekend. I like to go to places that aren’t busy. Fortunately for me, on Sundays, it’s an industry thing. You meet up with bartenders from other bars, and we go out. It’s called Sunday Funday. … A lot of the bartenders on the staff here go out, watch football, drink White Claws and just have a good time, you know? Just decompress.
ANY TIPS FOR NEWBIE BARTENDERS?
It’s a people person job. People come down here to tell me about their day, what problems they have. I’m like an underrated psychologist. χ