An Irish duo’s bar in New York is dedicated to the famous Irish writer Oscar Wilde.
Frank McCole and Tommy Burke’s bar – called ‘Oscar Wilde’ – is in the NoMad neighbourhood and cost around $4 million to create.
It also boasts the honour of having the ‘longest bar New York’.
The pair live in New York but are from Ireland with McCole coming from Monaghan and Burke from Mayo.
Together they have created a place that the flamboyant Wilde would have loved. It is full of luxury, with marble statues, wood panels from Hope Castle in Castleblayney, gilt-framed mirrors, a piano dating back to the 1890s, pieces of imported Murano, grand fireplaces and a variety of antiques from from Ireland, France, England, Scotland, and Wales.
There are 26 clocks in the bar but they never change time. Each one os permanently set to 1.50 – the time of Oscar Wilde’s death.
Burke said: “What initially motivated us to pay homage to Wilde was that he was long-time friends with Lillie Langtry.”
The duo also have two bars named after 19th century actress and socialite Langtry. Lillie’s Victorian Establishment can be found on both Union Square and Times Square.
They said they were ‘very proud when Ireland became the first nation in the world to legalise same sex marriages’.
To celebrate they want to “attract local New Yorkers, tourists the theatre and Broadway community, Wilde fans and others… to celebrate Oscar Wilde’s legacy and become an inclusive destination for all.”
They took inspiration from an Oscar Wilde quote – “Moderation is a fatal thing, nothing succeeds like excess” – when designing their bar.
The bar isn’t just the longest in New York, it is also one of the most attractive with intricate carvings with garlands.
Another bar is made of Carrera-marble top and held up by white marble lions carved in Vietnam.
Other features in the 5,874 sq ft space include a life size bronze statue of Wilde, with his hand perfectly shaped to hold a pint of Guinness.
There is also a fireplace from the 1840s, 18th century inlay from Hope Castle, porcelain from Gosford Castle and a walking stick from 1878 that was a gift from Wilde’s family.
McCole and Burke’s favourite feature is a Belgiun piano from the 1890s.
The cocktail list is inspired by the prohibition era after the duo discovered that the building was once the HQ of New York’s Prohibition Enforcement.
The mafia are said to have occupied a floor of the building so they could listen in on the discussions of federal agents.
McCole and Burke, along with mixologist Johnny Swet decided that the cocktail list should reflect both the Victorian and Prohibition eras.
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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling