Social Distancing St. Patrick’s Style

This moment of sublime male contentment was captured outside the Tir na nOg Irish pub in Trenton, New Jersey on March 17, 2009. Buried behind those smiling faces are most likely the concerns of that very difficult year in American history. Our economy was still in the grip of the “Great Recession” and the earliest cases of what would become the N1H1 global pandemic were just coming to light. But on that glorious sunny afternoon, these gentlemen took their pints to the patio in order to practice a bit of social distancing from the mass of humanity that had gathered inside the late Banjo Billy Briggs’ fabled Irish establishment.

Sadly, this year most of the pubs are shuttered, and the pipes will not be calling. Nature has demanded that we honor the spirit of Erin in gentler tones and more intimate settings. But as I look back on that St. Patrick’s Day of eleven years ago, I am reminded that we as a nation have faced similar hardships–and through the pain and the tears there has always been ample reason to raise our voices in song and our pints in celebration!

So in the hope of enhancing your housebound revelries we invite you to enjoy the music and tavern tales in this second installment of our St. Patrick’s Day podcast at Sit Downs and Sessions.

Please click on the images below to get a more in-depth read on those Irish taverns featured in this week’s episode.

Inside the Tir na nOg Pub in Trenton, NJ

On behalf of the lads at Sit Downs and Sessions and American Public House Review we wish everyone a Happy and Healthy St. Patrick’s Day!

Slàinte Mhaith

A Post St. Patrick’s Day Confession

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While it is probably more a function of the passing years, this particular St. Patrick’s Day was a rather tame, yet extremely pleasant, undertaking. Four pints and one wee dram of Tullamore Dew was accompanied by a bowl of Irish Stew at McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub in Bethlehem, PA. But there were those other years when my behavior was fraught with a lack of good judgement.

I was reminded recently of one such endeavor by an old friend who had agreed to escort, and would eventually wind up maintaining the upright position of me and another staff member of American Public House Review as we attempted to traverse the island of Manhattan during one of our March 17th adventures nearly twenty years ago. As I recall, that exceedingly warm afternoon’s long stretch of the legs began at Peter McManus Cafe in Chelsea and ended at Molly’s Shebeen on New York’s West Side. As to the finer details of the return trip, one would have to direct such inquires to the steadfast and sturdy host of The Barfly Confessional.

As part of a long overdue thanks and perhaps a bit of penance, we are pleased to announce a new partnership between our magazine and this superb podcast. And as the latest episode of The Barfly Confessional explores the life and challenges facing a priest in today’s Roman Catholic Church, hopefully, our partnering will be the source of many mutual blessings–or at the very least a few well deserved indulgences!

Posted by: Chris Poh for American Public House Review

The ongoing thirst for the perfect public house leads to Manhattan’s PJ Clarke’s

In this week’s article on the American Public House Review, Chris Poh takes us to a true Manhattan institution.  It is a place with a somewhat murky history and an incredibly inviting atmosphere called PJ Clarke’s.

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Take a stroll around the place.  See Frank Sinatra’s regular table, and the photos of all the luminaries who have graced these very same barstools you are about to occupy.  You may be impressed with all the famous people, but you will be even more impressed with the overwhelming sense of history and belonging this little brick tavern possesses amidst the shadows of the steel giants surrounding PJ Clarke’s in midtown Manhattan.

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In my posting about Molly’s Shebeen, I mention that certain indescribable feeling that old Manhattan bars have.  It is an atmospheric element that is unique to taverns on this island and PJ Clarke’s defines it.  It is Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen at the same time.  It is all together colonial and roaring twenties.  It is warm and inviting, while also feeling like the scene of a Vito Corleone style hit.  If none of that makes sense, please remember that I started the paragraph by calling it indescribable.

by Dave McBride

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In praise of Manhattan’s Molly’s Shebeen

There is a certain something about Manhattan’s historic pubs that makes them so great.  There is an energy, or some kind of mysterious feel, that seems to come through the perfectly worn wood of the bar or from off the scuffed brass of the toe rail.  You can’t find it anywhere else in the world of taverns, and only the really good Manhattan bars possess it.

One of those truly great and historic pubs can be found on the lower eastside of the Island.  It is an Irish tavern called Molly’s Shebeen.  You can check out the story on the American Public House Review by clicking here.

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As you will read, this is one of my very favorite places in Manhattan.  It holds a special and nostalgic place in my memory as one of the taverns that initially sent me on the road towards an addiction to great pubs.  You won’t find a better Irish pub than Molly’s Shebeen anywhere this side of the Atlantic.

by Dave McBride

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Published in: on February 18, 2009 at 1:02 pm  Comments (1)  
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