Midtown Happy Hour: The Blarney Stone Ain’t Just For Lunch
If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so I thought maybe it was time to introduce a happy hour column to the site. Every week, our Happy Hour Correspondent “Mamacita” will post about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap.
The Blarney Stone (on 3rd Ave. btw. 44+45th) is already well known among Midtown Lunchers for their great burger and onion rings during lunchtime. But I thought it was about time the other side of this hidden gem got its due. Blarney is also one of the best happy hour pubs in the area. If you are tired of the typical upscale Irish pub with expensive drinks, obnoxious corporate head honchos and overpriced pub-grub, then Blarney is where you can go and feel like you’ve stepped into your own neighborhood bar, where everyone slurs your name.
Add to that the fact that some lovely, twisted genius decided to slap a scrumptious steam table inside a wonderfully old watering hole. The result is magic or at least a low priced, grimy, sketchy sort of magic. The clientele consists of blue-collar workers, random regulars getting take-out, and old men playing the ponies. Off track betting is almost as big as alcoholism at the bar. The races are on the TV and even the guys OTB stubs are clipped below the beer taps for easy reading. Hell, maybe they can trade those winners in for a few drinks.
It’s not everyday that one catches a glimpse of the rare pompadour mullet. This evening I was lucky. One grey haired man was at the bar. He looked like Al Davis’ redneck brother and seemed to be pulling his usual 12-hour shift of drinking and betting at the bar. Yet another gambler was on his tenth beer and didn’t mind chatting with me for a second. Yeah ladies, take a look at this hottie.
There are so many positives to this low-key dive. Everyone is friendly, has character and is talkative. TV’s also have ESPN and other games on. The food is mouth-watering and ridiculously cheap, but more importantly the draft beers are a steal at $3. We ordered a few Killian’s Irish Red, Sam Adams Lagers ($3), and a Hoegarden ($4). Stella and Guinness are only $4.50, which is a crazy deal in midtown! An extra $1 can get you a “Big Guy” sized beer. We didn’t try it but from the looks of it I’d say it was about a 22 ounce glass. I can’t be positive though.
The hot food trays look amazing. There’s chicken stew with broccoli, pulled pork (that looks really like pernil), chicken cutlet, roasted chicken, pastrami, and the list goes on. We followed Zach’s example and all got cheeseburgers with fries for $6. Pretty much the cheapest burger and fries deal considering the cheeseburger was enormous. Though we asked for it cooked medium the patty came out well, but that was alright because the meat was juicy, charred and had those crispy bits on the edges that were reminiscent of summer days grilling in the backyard.
The fries were the only disappointment. The steak fries had a crispy outer layer but were heavy and mealy on the inside. They were cut into wedges that were much too thick and wide. Except for the greasy outside skin, the flavor was completely absent in these spuds. One of the regulars, whom the Irish bartender knew by name, ordered the pastrami sandwich and it looked fully packed with meaty goodness—I must try this next time!
- CHEAP! BEER! —and we’re not talking Bud or Miller here
- Freshly made ½ pound cheeseburgers with fries or onion rings. Perdue chicken quarter with rice & beans are all $6. Skirt steak dinner is $7. Add in a $3 pint and you are still under the ML price range, incredible!
- Completely easy going and unpretentious crowd
- Probably the best place in Manhattan to go on the next Derby day and avoid any douchbags
- Great place to head after work when you just need to get away form the midtown madness
- A little grimy and very male-centric
- No health food
- Can’t say if cocktails are any good. It’s mostly a beer and shot pub
- I was eyed up by what looked like a gasoline attendant drinking one of the “big guys”
- Women’s bathroom is relatively clean but had no toilet paper to be seen
Blarney Stone, 710 3rd Ave. (btw. 44th & 45th) 212-490-0457