“It’s an inviting place in a rough-and-tumble sort of way, with a well-worn tile floor, lead-paned windows and a splendid carved mahogany bar. A back room has eerie green and blue banquettes and cocktail tables. The owner, Jim McManus, is a slow-moving, cocky Irishman with a 60-megabyte memory of anecdotes. “I started with my father and my brother 56 years ago,” says the thick-set, silver-haired owner with obvious pride. “This place was a drugstore before that.” In the middle of a chat, Mr. McManus launches into a discourse on how to make a perfect rob roy. “Swirl the shaker with the scotch and vermouth very gently,” he admonishes. “You don’t want to bruise the vermouth; it’s delicate. Like wine.”
At 7 P.M. on this day, the bar is filled with a casually clad, risible crowd ranging from business suits to blue jeans and flannels. Mr. McManus’s son, Jamo, who is 38 years old, works here. He represents the third generation in the business and heads the kitchen, where generally satisfying pub fare like sandwiches, steaks and casseroles is prepared.
Jim McManus can spin tales taller than the head on a fresh draft beer. “One day Errol Flynn walked in here and was looking pretty gone,” he recalls. “He said, ‘I’ll have a double vodka on the rocks.’ I said, ‘You’re not gonna get it from me,’ and I showed him the door.”
Then there was the time that Burt Lancaster came in with Leonard Bernstein. “It was during the Vietnam War, and Lancaster made some remark about the American flag,’ Mr. McManus remembers.” ~ Bryan Miller, New York Times (1992)