St. Patrick’s Day Spirit Is Brewing at These Watering Holes
It’s that time of year again to raise a glass to the patron saint of Ireland…or to just have a good excuse to enjoy the offerings of a good Irish pub. From whiskeys and ales to corned beef and stout stew, here’s a handful of Green Island–themed spots around town to visit this March.
The Long Room (120 West 44th St.)
Just off of Times Square, The Long Room is a welcome refuge from the neighborhood’s pricey post-theater bars and kitschy tourist spots. With shelves of antique books, rounded wood ceilings, and a marble bar that runs like a track down the length of the pub (which, hence its name, is some distance), The Long Room offers an extensive range of some 40 beers on tap ranging from local Brooklyn Brewery ales to Irish staples like Kilkenny, Smithwicks, and, of course, Guinness.
An impressive collection of Scottish and Irish whiskies and single malts also pair well with the no-nonsense gastropub menu, which includes some intriguing beer-tinged entrées: ale-battered fish and chips, oatmeal stout beef stew, and pork chops brined in cider. Come on Saturdays for live music.
P.J. Carney’s (906 Seventh Ave.)
Among New York’s drinking institutions—the Monkey Bar, the Rainbow Room, Bemelmans—P.J. Carney’s holds an appeal uniquely its own. Located directly across from Carnegie Hall, it’s long been a low-key watering hole for performers, writers, and everyday city dwellers alike.
Irish posters and New York memorabilia adorn the walls, while the drink menu is a comprehensive list of the usual suspects for a down-at-heel establishment—cosmopolitans and martinis, Hoegaarden and Samuel Adams. P.J. Carney’s doesn’t try to be trendy or hip; it’s the normal neighborhood pub that all too often gets run out of business in Manhattan, thanks to the increasing demand for eclectic cocktails and imported craft beer. But P.J. Carney’s charm has kept it in booming business since 1927; call it the luck of the Irish.
Neary’s (358 East 57th St.)
What could be more Irish than an anniversary that falls on St. Patrick’s Day? One of New York City’s finest Irish restaurants, Neary’s, has been loved for its Irish clubhouse atmosphere since it opened March 17, 1967.
It boasts paisley wallpaper that matches red leather banquettes; warm, attentive hospitality of founder Jimmy Neary, his family members, and a staff who have worked here for decades; and a rich menu of seafood platters, ham steak with pineapple, liver with bacon, and corned beef with cabbage. But dinner is not required to enjoy a fine Irish evening here. The full bar attracts a tony clientele that comes to sip on a Harp’s or a single malt and dwell in the stately atmosphere that has been graced by the likes of the Clintons, Michael Bloomberg, and Ted Kennedy, just to name a few of the famous politicians whose patronage is documented in photos framed on the walls.
Rock & Reilly’s (218 West 35th St.)
Given that it’s an offshoot of a West Hollywood mainstay, Rock & Reilly’s is understandably in a league of its own when it comes to Irish bars in Manhattan. It’s neither a quotidian pub nor an upscale whiskey joint; rather, it occupies an impressive 10,000 square feet in the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel.
It’s fashioned with a mahogany bar, outdoor terrace with a retractable roof, and selection of fine whiskies that make their way into cocktails of equal caliber, such as Rock and Veev that mixes Reilly’s Mother’s Milk whiskey with acai liqueur, grenadine, and lemonade. Beer flights take samplings to a new level, mixing ales and other alcohols into mouthwatering concoctions—think Guinness-topped champagne and pale ale mixed with ginger beer.
Crown Inn (724 Franklin Ave., Brooklyn)
The Crown Inn is a reason, alone, to visit Brooklyn’s up-and-coming neighborhood Crown Heights. A simple and well-conceived neighborhood bar, the Inn recalls the look of just the type of place one would love to stumble into to warm up on a blustery night. A repurposed bodega, the Crown Inn is now outfitted with black leather banquettes, brick walls, a copper-trimmed bar, and light fixtures culled from old ships. Beers and four local wines are on tap, along with 40 types of bourbon and bites such as crostini and cheese and charcuterie boards.
The Copper Still (151 2nd Ave.)
For whiskey enthusiasts, The Copper Still is the place to go. It hasn’t ceased expanding its collection of the golden fluid since it opened in 2014 and now boasts one of the most impressive whiskey libraries in the city. On offer are innumerable types of Scotch, blends, and whiskies sourced from all over the world ranging from classics—Oban and Glenmorangie and Tullamore D.E.W.—to rare Japanese bottles and difficult-to-find ryes and bourbons.
Brief tasting notes are listed on the menu, though the expert staff is also on hand to make the selection less overwhelming. For casual drinkers, there’s also a great weekday happy hour that includes cocktails, beers, and wine too. For the more rigorous whiskey students, a membership to the bar’s “Whiskey Club” affords a personalized tasting booklet that the bartenders keep on file documenting your impressions and preferences for every drink you try.