Dozens of Irish bars have been closed in Manhattan since the pandemic

Irish eyes weep in Manhattan.

At least 25 Irish pubs in the borough have closed over the two years of the pandemic, according to Sean Murphy of New York bar resource MurphGuide.

“It got too depressing after a while, so I stopped keeping track,” he told the Post as St. Patrick’s Day approaches on Thursday.

The Mayor’s Office of Nightlife stated that in 2019 there were approximately 331 Irish, Scottish and British style pubs across the five boroughs. Of these, 216 were in Manhattan. That means more than 10 percent of waterholes have dried up during the two-year pandemic.

Bars and restaurants closed the day before St Pat’s in 2020 due to COVID-19 – and many stayed closed even after lockdown was lifted.

Sixth generation bar owner Shaun Clancy said capturing a video announcing the closure of his Midtown gin joint, Foley’s, was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

Sixth generation bar owner Shaun Clancy
Shaun Clancy’s Bar Foley’s expected a massive windfall as March Madness approached, but then COVID hit in March 2020.

March 2020 would have been his biggest month of the year – with sales of $25,000 – with St. Patrick’s Day, the NCAA tournament and baseball’s opening day.

“It couldn’t have come at a worse time… those 30 days covered the cost of five quiet months,” Clancy said.

When his bar — known for its 10,000 baseball memorabilia now stored in a warehouse — closed, MLB umpires paid his employees.

Foley’s was known as a meeting place for baseball fans.

Clancy now lives in Florida and works at the fresh food counter at a Publix supermarket. “And I’m laughing because… I had 19 employees, everyone… made more money than me,” he said.

The luck of the Irish ran out for some of Robert Mahon’s cash deals too. His father, John, owns Pig ‘N’ Whistle Group, which ran 12 bars in Manhattan before COVID.

They were forced to close PJ Moran’s in Midtown, Pig ‘n’ Whistle on Third, and Pig ‘n’ Whistle Times Square, laying off “a few hundred” employees.

“It’s difficult to close a business, especially when it’s been in the family for more than 25 years,” Mahon said.

PJ Morans
PJ Moran’s has also had to close due to the pandemic.
JC Reis
Robert Mahon
Robert Mahon has managed to regroup after some problems with his bars.
JC Reis

Mahon has already renegotiated a deal with his landlord at Pig ‘n’ Whistle on Third and, with the help of Ken McCoy, owner of The Horny Ram in Midtown, just opened a more “modern” bar, Amy Fontaine’s, on March 8.

Overall, liquor licenses at over 1,400 establishments, including bars and restaurants, in Manhattan have become dormant since March 2020, according to the state liquor agency.

One of the survivors was Bloom’s Tavern on East 58th between Second and Third Avenues, which co-owner Noel Donovan says has caught on in a residential neighborhood thanks to its eclectic clientele.

Amy Fontaines/Pig N' Whistle
Although some Pig ‘N’ Whistle Group locations are closed, they’ve seen a little better luck in recent days.
Eric Thomas/NY Post
Noel Donovan, owner of Bloom's Tavern
Noel Donovan’s bar, Bloom’s Tavern, managed to stay afloat.
JC Reis

“We’ve got everyone from top anchors at Bloomberg to tailors at Bloomingdale’s,” he said. In 2020, Bloom’s closed just one day but reduced its workforce from 25 to six, but is now back to 22 in time for St Patrick’s Day.

“Hopefully this will be a good year to regain a lot of what we’ve lost,” he said. Dozens of Irish bars have been closed in Manhattan since the pandemic


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