Four generations of the McManus clan have operated this jovial Irish tavern, making it among the oldest family-run bars in the city. Its originator, Peter McManus, left his quaint Irish hometown and disembarked in Ellis Island with “basically five dollars and a potato in his pocket, ” as the story goes. He opened the first McManus as a longshoreman’s bar in 1911 on West 55th Street, which he then converted into a thriving general store during Prohibition while migrating his liquor business into a number of speakeasies. Once the restrictions ended in 1933, the shop was so successful that Peter kept it going and found a new spot on 19th Street in which to revive his bar. Peter’s son, James Sr., spent close to fifty years working in and later running the pub. It then passed into the hands of James Jr., who now stands beside his own son, Justin, serving beer and cracking jokes over a century later. Knowing that they will find pleasant conversation and an intriguing cast of characters at McManus, people often come alone to see what the night holds for them. The atmosphere at McManus is merry, but patrons still respect the history and charm that suffuse every corner of the space. Much of the bar is original, including the stunning Tiffany stained glass windows, the hand carved woodwork and crown molding, and the terrazzo floor that can no longer be made today. “We try to preserve it and are pretty protective of it. This bar was built to last, ” Justin said.
Stout NYC has the magic ability of seeming both like a large fortress and like a cozy cavern. It claims to be New York's largest Irish pub, and yet comfortable seating and cobblestone floors give the bar a warm, friendly atmosphere. With two other locations in the Financial District and near Grand Central, Stout NYC has set itself up as a neighborhood hangout three times over.
A traditional Irish bar, The Perfect Pint has an impressive variety of beers on tap - forty to be exact. Gold lettering and dark woods are reminiscent of British pubs and give the bar a warm and homey feeling. Inside, beer-themed decor reigns supreme, with the tap knobs as faucet handles and re-vamped kegs as the base for bar stools. Sandwiched between the two black-and-white pictures of the old Guinness wagon is a flat-screen TV, the perfect juxtaposition of the Irish bar culture with that of today. The hidden gem, however, is the rooftop bar. Going up the three flights of stairs, we found outdoor seating overlooking 45th Street. Bookended by exposed brick walls and a thatched roof, it can easily transport one back to a quaint Irish village. Below the cast-iron gas lamps, guests sit at tables made from old casks of beer that showcase international coins, beer memorabilia, and other odds and ends. Even the bathrooms are consistent with the theme.
Having lived in England for a year and a half, and always delighted for an excuse to return, I was perfectly thrilled to walk into Wilfie & Nell. At times it is filled with Brits and you will feel like you have been transported back across the Atlantic as you dine on Shepherds Pie, or a Ploughman's Cheese Plate, or just browse through their extended list of beers and enjoy the pub atmosphere with a Manhattan twist.
We, literally, came in out of the rain to have a drink here late one Saturday afternoon. What a nice experience we had while sampling their "kick ass" bloody Mary and a refreshing pint of Guinness. John, the bartender could not have been kinder sharing the history and philosophy of this eight year old bar. There is an amusing story that explains how this pub got its unusual name. Essentially, a four-faced clock in Cork, Ireland fails to keep the same time on each of its faces, so the locals deem it "The Four-Faced Liar, " and the folks who run this bar appreciate the lesson the tale reveals about time. By extending open arms to their customers, they have enjoyed a constant repeat clientele all these years. We loved seeing a group of guys playing cards and having a drink at one of the corner tables, while others were watching the Yankees on the flat screen TV's, and a group of girls were catching up... but no one leaves without a quick, friendly conversation with John. As the rain let up, we finished up our drinks, said our good-byes and headed on our way. Perfect timing!
To spend time inside the Wheeltapper is to take a trip back in time to Ireland, as the pub pays homage to their locomotive system. Numerous pieces of railway equipment adorn the walls and every other possible inch of available space. Even the metal bar stools and wood tables are reminiscent of a long gone Irish era. There are several rooms to meander through and grab a mug of beer. In the back, is a pleasant garden, with heat lamps during the colder months, which is connected to the Fitzpatrick Hotel next door.
Having lived in England for a year and a half, I entered The Churchill with a huge smile on my face... and left still glowing. A quintessential, dark-paneled British Pub that opened at the end of 2011, there is a large bar, an extensive beer list and homey English classics, including fish and chips and Shepherd’s Pie. The interior space, marked by checkerboard flooring, exposed brick walls, and a fireplace has bar-style seating, leather banquettes, and various sized tables, and benches allows for different crowds and dining experiences. What made it stand out for me, however, was all of the British memorabilia that line the walls on two floors, including the back area upstairs in the "garden room" where there is a display of English teapots. Winston Churchill's terribly English voice resounds in the bathrooms and the absolutely charming people who work here made for an unforgettable visit. I am sure that the winter months will be an especially good time to come visit, with hearty brews and whiskeys galore to warm a weary soul. Drink tonight and be merry, for as a drunken Churchill once uttered in his now famous disparaging remark, “in the morning I’ll be sober, but you will still be disgustingly ugly. ”
Below the luxurious William Hotel sits the more meat-and-potatoes Shakespeare, an ode to English pubs. The focus is on the Brits beer and food. The owners, Yves Jadot and Jason Hicks of Jones Wood Foundry uptown, opened this space simultaneously with the more luxuriant library bar and Peacock Restaurant upstairs. Divided into two rooms, the Abingdon's low wood beamed ceilings make for a perfect setting to share a pint of Old Speckled Hen, a cask ale served at 55 degrees - obviously an unexpected surprise for those that have come across the pond. Although served warm, it is "quite popular even with the Americans, " according to Joelle, the bartender. The other favored beer is Wells Bombardier - a classic English bitter. As described by Joelle, it is a lighter flavor, but still has the bitter notes, just not as prominent as some of the others she, personally, has sampled. We had a real feast while sitting in The Snag, located across the hallway. This tiny room for two to four people is modeled after the time when British women were not allowed to drink with the men, and therefore snuck into this enclosed space and were able to order their drinks through a little window that opened up to the bar. It was inside this precious area that we photographed and devoured Bangers and Mash, a perfect butter lettuce salad, a hamburger dripping with melted cheese served with hand cut fries, and then a rich, decadent, incredible sticky toffee pudding.