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Jan 17, 2010 06:06 PM

Old-School (typically Irish) Bar with Great Brisket, C/B, Comfort Food - No Frills

When I was 14, my uncle was still in the publishing business. It was boozy. I'd visit him in Manhattan, and he'd take me from his office to a wonderful Irish bar near Grand Central Station -- I think it was a McCann's, (just a step up the ladder from the Blarney Stone chain, where we'd also go). His friends would greet us and the bartender would make me a Roy Rodgers and they'd show us to where there'd be a carving station in the back. For happy hour I think they gave away Corned Beef sandwiches (my uncle told me they made it back on the $$ of the drinks). The food was divine, rich and flavorful -- a far cry from the bland dinners I was used to mom turning out. We'd get a brisket sandwich and a corned beef (with very intense deli mustard) and each eat half-and-half. And a side of macaroni and cheese that was a cloud of yellow creaminess. The table next to the carving station had platters of cole slaw, potato salad, and superb pickles that were gratis.

Years later, I worked at 39th and 3rd for awhile. Back in the late '70s, there were great bars all up 2nd and 3rd Avenue where the beer was cold, the shots were 50 cents, and for about $3 I could eat like a king.

These days, I'm driving when I'm in Manhattan so I don't get a chance to really pay attention, especially when navigating city streets in a car. It seems to me, though, that the old McCann's, Blarney Stone and their ilk have all gone out of business. I don't get out of the UES/Midtown East area very often so perhaps that's why I have yet to spy a good pub -- with the kind of food I'm looking for.

I'm certain NYC 'hounds will steer me toward a great spot that'll bring back memories. I've tried to link below but the links aren't working... Chowhound reports a couple of Blarney Stones, Finnegan's Wake, a Mc Ann's. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance,


P.S. We also get to Flushing once a week. They've killed the two Irish bars I know of that were left -- one on Northern Boulevard near Bayside and the other was right on Main Street where the Chung Fat Super Market is.

Finnegan's Wake
1361 1st Ave, New York, NY 10021

McAnn's on First
948 1st Ave, New York, NY 10022

Blarney Stone
710 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10017

Blarney Rock
137 W 33rd St, New York, NY 10001

Mc Anns Bar
625 8th Ave Ste 220, New York, NY 10018

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  1. I've been to the Blarney Stone on 3rd Ave. and 44th St. a few months ago. It's exactly what you're looking for. Cheap Budweiser, decent corned beef and brisket sandwiches. The burgers are good too. Give it a shot.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Bob Martinez

      Thanks ever so much!

      My quaff of choice will probably be either a Schlitz or a Rheingold -- whichever they have -- for nostalgia's sake. And no shots -- I'll be driving. Which leads me to wonder where to park the car...

        1. re: Peter Cherches

          Agreed. I love Blarney Stone. Really cheap for the area and a great burger ($5!).

          1. re: ChiefHDB

            What about Mollie's on 3rd ave in the low 20s? Too far?

      1. re: Bob Martinez

        Molly's has similar feel on that same block. Better quality on 3 av at Patrick Kavanaugh at 34 St and McCormack's at 27 St. One of the better remaining dive bars is Rudy's on 9 ave and 45 St with the big pig on the sidewalk. Free hot dogs and boneless chicken dinner (hard boiled egg).

        1. re: MahatmaKanejeeves

          I like Molly's a lot. The burger is big and juicy, the Guinness is the right temperature, there's sawdust on the floor and a fireplace in the back.

          You can sit at the bar and engage in a little people watching or grab a booth, break out a book and kill the better part of a cold, wet day.

          1. re: steve h.

            While Molly's is a great place, it's definitely not the same type of place the poster was recalling. Too expensive and fewer alchoholics. I suggest the Blarney Rock on W 33rd St.

            1. re: kayemtee

              You're probably right. Still, the shepherds pie, lamb stew and the burger make for a worthwhile destination on a cold day. Being dimly lit just adds to the atmosphere. No Schlitz or Rheingold (this is a good thing).