Midtown Happy Hour: Nelly Spillane’s Serves A Perfect Guinness Every Times

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 posts 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.

Okay, I get it. No one enjoyed last week’s review of Player’s. But as life has it, you win some and then you lose some. This week, hopefully you’ll agree, my visit is a win. Every once in a while, or for most, once in a blue moon, you walk into an unassuming bar for the very first time, and realize instantly that you’ve found “home” (or at least, as home as you can get inside a Midtown bar). Not since my visit to Dublin’s Temple Bar years ago, have I been able to garner such instant camaraderie with a bartender as well as the bar’s patrons…that is, until my friends and I found Nelly Spillane’s.

Located next to Rattle ‘N Hum, there is definitely some friendly competition that must go on. That said, though I like Rattle (on days when I can move in it), my vote must go to Nelly.

Like Rattle, Nelly isn’t large. Though the bar is narrow, it is also very long. With tables up front and in the back, it can definitely hold a decent-sized happy hour crowd.

Nelly’s serves the best pint of Guinness I’ve ever had in the States, owing to the fact that the owners take great pride in ensuring the temperature of their Guinness served is roughly 44⁰F, which in my opinion, is superior to the colder temperatures other pubs serve it at. There is also delicious Irish American pub fare- we ordered wings (voted best wings in NYC), sliders and their sampler platter, which by the way, though not Irish-American, contained an extremely tasty spring roll dipping sauce.  And finally their amazingly attentive, humorous, and multi-tasking bartender, Emmet.

Almost instantly, he learned the names of me and a dozen of my closest friends, our drink preferences and more impressively, his other customers too. Our crowd had so much fun, most of us stayed well past happy hour, until nearby restaurant employees came in for night caps.

Happy hour specials are abundant and run Monday through Friday from 4-8 pm. Included are…ready? $5 Specialty Cocktails (Cosmo, Appletini, Nellytini, Jollytini, Mandarin Nectar Passion Fruitini); $5 wines (house red and white); and $4 Yuengling and Bud Light pints and domestic bottles.

Sidenote: Emmet is from across the pond and his visa expires soon, so make sure to visit him on Wednesdays (and his colleagues other nights) before it’s too late!

Nelly Spillane’s, 18 East 33rd St. (at Madison), 212.792.9673


  • I’ve heard that bar charges BEYOND OUTRAGEOUS prices for mixed drinks and food. I’ve never been, but I’m pretty sure a bunch of co-workers were furious at how insane the pricing was…which they didn’t know until after they received the bill.

  • food was pretty mediocre/terrible when I went a couple months ago.

    place is as authentic as Olive Garden is Italian.

    at least Rattle N Hum has a decent beer selection

  • voted ‘best wings’ by what publication/organization? It doesn’t say. hmm…

  • At least they misuse apostrophes on their sign — apparently the plural of martini and wine adds apostrophe + s, but not bottle.

    44 degrees is still too cold, but since Diageo claims it should be served 37-40 degrees, I guess it’s a start (and at least it isn’t “Guinness Extra Cold”, found at terrible pubs in England for years). A better start would be to ignore Guinness entirely.

    But having a good bartender and good crowd trumps any of that. The whole point of Happy Hour is to be social while drinking!

  • The front half of the sampler platter looks very tasty, especially the spicy little nugget in the green blouse

  • Still misfiring on a few cylinders. The pic of the HH sign is good, but…. pic of the sampler platter and no mention of food prices? And you went on about the Guinness, but how much is a pint here? Were the wings really that good? $5-6? $8? These things are important to ML’ers! A review like this should provide more answers than questions. For most people, the important thing isn’t how chummy we can get with the bartender….

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    Restaurant Review 2012 , Guinness $7 20oz Glass , and the prices are average Midtown Manhattan and Happy Hour as above nuf said !!!!

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    I travel from PA to Manhattan and this is my local away from home. I love the atmosphere and folks there! Drinks are great and they have really fun events that I have attended in the past. Love their Chicken Curry plate and Shepherd’s Pie dish.

    Mark and crew make everyone feel welcome and I am planning a meetup in June for our online business there. They have attractive private function packages that made them the best choice to hold our event. http://www.nellyspillanes.com/private-functions.php

    I have brought friends there and they have loved it too!

    I think their pricing is fair and they have a great lunch menu that they have recently introduced. Entertainment and DJ have been also really good.

    I’ll continue to see Nelly Spillane’s as my favourite Irish local pub when I visit NYC. Overall, I have been impressed and would agree with the writer of this review on their observations. I can say this as I have been there well over a dozen times already. Service, food, and drinks have been consistently good.

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