Thursday, November 13, 2008
Stopped by Donnybrook the other day for a drink. This is the new upscale Irish pubby place that opened at the corner of Clinton and Stanton on Oct. 24.
Having lived across the street for nearly 10 years, we were curious about what became of the space. (We had moved up the way before the former occupant, the Lotus Lounge, closed.) First, the bar. Well, it looks as if the owners (same as Lucky Jack's) spent a fortune renovating the space. Everything is spiffy and buffed. They'll spend a fortune on Pledge.
The folks working were friendly. The bartender said they'd be serving "hearty Irish fare" in the next two weeks. There were two TVs on (mute) with some sort of sports; one TV was tuned to a rugby match that a group of people from the UK were enjoying. The Dave Matthews Band was playing on the house stereo. (And not just any old Dave Matthews -- this was a live recording with an extra side of jam!) We had two draft beers (imperial pints) and two glasses of wine. Our check was $32. It was all perfectly pleasant.
But would we ever go back? Well, it's just not really our thing. We like a little more grit and grime. And history. A friend, who has lived in the neighborhood for years, popped by for a drink and dryly remarked that it's "a little slice of Murray Hill right in the LES." (He must not get out much in the neighborhood these days.)
While at Donnybrook, we started reminiscing about the cluttered Christian Ministries thrift shop that was housed here before the Lotus. We bought some kind of dresser that weighed like 300 pounds. The proprietor, who looked like Jeremiah Johnson, was kind enough to help us lug it up five steep flights of stairs. He refused a tip. But! He wasn't in a hurry to leave. "May I ask you a question?" Uh-oh. "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your lord and savior?" Somehow we got him out the door with only a pamphlet for the trouble. We also thought about the bodega where wd~50 is now on Clinton Street; the bodega with the cock-fighting ring in the back. Anyway, we did a little too much reminiscing at the Donnybrook. Which made me think that this bar is out place. Or rather, we're just out of place.