Midtown Happy Hour: While Away the Hours at the Irish Ivy
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.
Not long ago, McAnn’s pub changed hands. I noticed the new sign over the summer, but I had just gotten a chance to make my way back to explore. The updated name is The Irish Ivy (46th btw. 5th and 6th), and since it’s fairly new, there weren’t many reviews on yelp or elsewhere. I was curious to check out their happy hour.
What I found out… the Irish Ivy is a place where I could see easily see myself becoming regular. The happy hour is long, from 4:00 – 9:00. Bud Light and Miller Light is $4, wines are $6 and well drinks are $5. Although the deals aren’t the best I’ve seen in Midtown, they also aren’t the worst… and I could tell as soon as I came in that this is a bar where service is fantastic, and you’ll get taken care of. And the atmosphere is fun enough that you could sit here for the whole five hours and have a good time.
I went on a Tuesday a little after 5:00 and the place was crowded. We couldn’t find a seat at the bar for a while. (This doesn’t happen everywhere on a Tuesday, mind you.) The bartender made us feel welcome and suggested some new beers to try (I’ve been loving the Untappd smartphone app to “check-in” every time I try a new beer). Although there’s a great selection of brews on tap that run from $5-$7 for a 16 oz. pint, I had a can of Dale’s Pale Ale to try something totally new. Happily, I ran into one of my favorite bartenders from my neighborhood from my early days in New York City. I hadn’t seen her in over a year after she left my local pub, and now I find out she’s working at the Irish Ivy during the day shift. Oh happy day; I’ll have to come for lunch sometime… I noticed they do have specials under $10! And at least I know they hire great bartenders.
Looking around, the place was was pumping, yet unintimidating, with a good crowd of both guys and gals. The music was loud, but not so loud that it became difficult to carry on a conversation. It started out modern and mellow, then switched to good drunky 80s tunes later on. (And apparently there’s an 80s Halloween Karaoke party going on Wednesday if you can brave the Frankenstorm.)
Although there weren’t any happy hour food specials here, I’ve got to admit, my friend and I were very pleased with what we ordered. The wings were on the pricy side at $10 for 8 normal-sized wings, but they were fantastic. The sauce was very buttery with a lovely, delayed Buffalo-style heat. They were cooked nicely — juicy but not soggy and limp. The blue cheese sauce was one of the best I’ve tried in Midtown; it was certainly the chunkiest, and had a well-balanced flavor. The carrots and celery did not disappoint.
We also ordered the buttermilk fried chicken sliders with spicy tomato mayonnaise. Again, a bit expensive at $10 for the portion, but we loved the crunchy breading on the tender chicken, the flavor of the mayo, and the excellent fries.
I also thought the menu looked nicer than what I’ve seen, with slight twists on a traditional pub menu like grilled flatbread, Buffalo chicken nachos, and baked Guiness mac & cheese. I’ll also note, the bartender we met makes 500 cocktails if you’re into that!
Understand that The Irish Ivy is a type of place where if you’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to you. I observed what appeared to be the practice of buy-backs happening with regulars (for those of you who aren’t big drinkers, buy-backs means the third or fourth drink is comped, and I’ve found this happens most often in Irish pubs). We even got a deal as first-time customers. Of course, there are never any guarantees on buy-backs, and to benefit, you are required to be somewhat of a lush. So, if you are prone to having several drinks in one sitting, you might give the Irish Ivy a shot. And you might find yourself coming back again and again.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- I love a place with good service, food, and booze.
- I’m always into a bustling, vibrant bar scene… yeah!
- The happy hour is LONG — 4-9 pm, let’s get our drink on!
- Wings are my thang, and these wings pass the test.
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- I only like quiet bars where I can read a book. This isn’t my scene.
- I like a place with happy hour specials on food, and they don’t have ‘em.
- I’m a cheap date, so a five hour long happy hour is probably not a good idea for me.
Irish Ivy, 3 West 46th Street, 212-730-5007