The Last Irish Saloon

Farrell's saloon, which has stood on the corner of 9th Avenue and 16th Street since 1933. The window display includes signs for the NY Giants and Budweiser, and a notice for an upcoming event at Holy Name Church.

By Patrick Fenton, Contributor
May / June 2019

An old-time bar in Brooklyn, Farrell’s has served as a community center since the 1930s, and is the last marker of what was once a thriving Irish neighborhood.


Farrell’s Bar, on the corner of 16th Street and 9th Avenue in Brooklyn, has been in the same location in Windsor Terrace since 1933. It was the very first bar to open in New York after Prohibition. The writer Pete Hamill once said: “Of all the bars of the neighborhood my father might stop into, Farrell’s was the one he kept returning to until the end of his life.”

It’s the last Irish saloon left in a neighborhood where gentrification has moved rapidly. Once within a five-block area there was one on almost every corner: Langton’s, McCauley’s, Val’s, McNulty’s, Kerrigan’s, O’Neill’s, Lanahan’s, Devaney’s, and Connie’s Corner.

The original “Farrell’s” sign was blown down during a blizzard in 2011. The owners had an exact replica made of it, and they hung the old sign on a wall in the back of the bar.

What kept most of them open for so long, all through World War II and into the ’50s and early ’60s, was simply a celebration of Irish working-class life in their back rooms, celebrating first holy communions and confirmations. They were places to ease the pain of mourning at a time when neighborhood wakes lasted as long as three days, and places to find out who was hiring.

The Irish of the Windsor Terrace that I grew up in during the ’40s and ’50s made their livings working the docks of nearby Red Hook. Men with names like Towey, Welsh, Walsh, and Maloney worked as trolley car operators on the McDonald Avenue line that ran out of the car barns on 19th Street and 9th Avenue. “Red Mike” Quill (the founder of the Transport Workers Union) represented them.

Others worked as sandhogs and ironworkers. Some worked as gravediggers at Greenwood Cemetery over on 20th Street and 9th Avenue. Many became cops or firefighters.

There were once nine movie houses a short distance from each other between Windsor Terrace and Park Slope. Many of the women of the neighborhood worked in them as ticket takers, others, like my mother from Williamstown, Galway, worked as domestics at private houses on Fuller Place near Holy Name Church.

Some worked in the factories that once lined nearby 18th Street like the walls of an ancient village. Or they worked in one of the two laundries in the neighborhood, the Cascade Laundry on Prospect Avenue near 9th, and further down Prospect, the Pilgrim Laundry. Somehow the women managed to juggle raising large Irish families containing as many as eight kids with the grueling work of a steamed-filled laundry room.

Over the years the writers Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin became a part of the lore of Farrell’s and the neighborhood. Many films and beer commercials were shot using it for interior and exterior shots, and they still are. Congressman Peter King was known to campaign here years ago, and still occasionally stops in for a beer.

Three of New York’s finest chroniclers, Jimmy Breslin, Pat Fenton, and Pete Hamill have a last round in Farrell’s saloon in the spring of 2016. Breslin died a year later on March 19, 2017. (Photo: Emily Eldridge)

Jimmy Houlihan spent many years working behind the stick at Farrell’s before Eddie Farrell sold the legendary saloon to him and two other bartenders, Danny Mills and Timmy Horan, in the late ’90s. Houlihan, who is now the sole owner of the bar, has continued to carry on the charitable traditions that Eddie was known for. He realized that something special, something rare had been passed along from the Farrell family to him, Danny, and Timmy, so he keeps the tradition of giving and caring for the neighborhood of Windsor Terrace going.

Each year he organizes numerous fundraisers to help the local Catholic church and school. And if you ask him, he’ll tell you that it doesn’t matter to him if you are new or old to the neighborhood – if you need help, Farrell’s will help you.

Farrell’s owner Jimmy Houlihan working behind the bar.

Once, after the pastor of nearby Holy Name Church mentioned to him that the paint was peeling off of the walls of the classrooms of Holy Name Parochial School, Houlihan volunteered to paint it. In a scene straight off of the pages of a Frank Capra script, he rounded up over 300 people, most of them patrons of his bar, and they all showed up with their own paint brushes and ladders. They painted the school for free over the course of a weekend – all 35 classrooms.

The story spread all the way to Washington, where U.S Rep. Charles Schumer entered it into the Congressional record. The writer Denis Hamill called it a Brooklyn version of an Amish barn-raising.

When I asked Pete Hamill, who recently moved back to Brooklyn, about going back to Farrell’s Bar, he paused, and then he said, “Pat, I would only see ghosts if I went back there.”

The last time he did go back to Farrell’s was in the spring of 2016. He was there to shoot part of a documentary that Jonathan Alter was producing about him and Jimmy Breslin, called Deadline Artists. I remember being in there that afternoon writing about it. As he sat toward the front of the bar, Jonathan Alter asked him what music he associated with Farrell’s when he looked back on his drinking days there.

The question seemed to float in the air for a while as he thought about it. “Early Rock ’n’ Roll,” he answered, as he stared toward the wide front window of the bar.

Once, when he was a younger man, home from the Navy, he could stare out that window onto 9th Avenue and it would be like he was looking at a picture of his old Holy Name Parochial School yearbook: all the faces he remembered through his life would be going by, like they always did.

And if he thought hard enough, memory would bring back an image of him as a young boy hurrying by the bar on some cold winter Sunday morning, carrying his altar boy surplice folded under his arm as he headed toward the first mass of the day at Holy Name Church on the hill.

Over the years these images of youth would play on and on in the wide front window, changing slowly with the decades passing, eventually ending. In their place now, new images appear: images of nannies pushing strollers and young “hipsters” jogging by, as the swirl of time continues its slow movement over 9th Avenue.

But inside Farrell’s Bar, time seems to stand still. The old hammered tin ceiling that so many generations of fathers and sons drank under is still there.

So are the long thick mirrors behind the bar that reflect the images of white-aproned bartenders carrying out the ritual of bringing large buckets of ice up from the basement, and dumping them over the coils of the taps. Like they always have.

Farrell’s serves only two beers on tap, Budweiser and Stella Artois in large quart containers for $8.00. In the ’40s and ’50s, they served only one beer, Rupert Knickerbocker.

They still use what looks like cut-down baseball bats to crush the ice and move it around the taps. Longtime bartender Michael O’Donnell, who knows much about the history of Farrell’s, told me that when Timmy Horan passed away recently, the ice bat he used for so many years was buried with him.

A talented, award-winning local filmmaker, Jay Cusato from Park Slope Films, has been working on a documentary about the bar. Asked why did Farrell’s stand the test of time, he said, “It’s basically the same bar as it was in the 1930s.” He is calling the documentary Why Farrell’s?

The making of Why Farrell’s? Filmmaker Jay Cusato is pictured left, next to crew member Jake King with camera.

Over the years, Farrell’s has become a place where the oral history of Windsor Terrace is stored. It’s a history of a neighborhood that was once teeming with Irish working-class families, a history that few of the “hipsters” moving into the neighborhood know about.When they drive across the Prospect Expressway, they have no idea that once there was another part of Windsor Terrace here, parts of it buried underneath the concrete of the highway now.

In the late ’40s, Robert Moses started construction on the Prospect Expressway, a massive highway project that ran through Windsor Terrace and displaced over 1,000 families, most of them Irish and Italian working-class.

That part of Windsor Terrace once stood like a small town on its own. Irish women of the neighborhood went off to work in the factories of 18th Street that are now all gone. There was the Lucky Penny variety store on the corner of 9th Avenue, and a few doors down there was a barber shop, and Frank’s Italian restaurant, all rowed up like a scene from an Edward Hopper painting. And across the street, on the corner of 19th Street there was Gus’s Diner.

Why Farrell’s? filmmaker Jay Cusato and writer Pat Fenton in front of the original Farrell’s sign.

Gladys Mastrion, who moved over to Staten Island some years ago, comes back often to Farrell’s. If you ask her about the Prospect Expressway and Robert Moses, she will tell you that her grandfather lived at 373 19th Street his whole life and that “in 1952, Moses took his house and gave him $2,000 for it.”

Memories of what once was in Windsor Terrace, history, and tradition are slowly fading with time. Not long ago I attended what will probably be the last Irish wake in the neighborhood. The wake, which took place in Farrell’s Bar, was held for Jacky Malone, a retired NYPD officer I grew up with.

For over 40 years you could usually find him standing at the same spot at the back of the bar next to the old phone booth. After living most of his life just a few doors down from Farrell’s, he moved upstate to be closer to his family.

Jacky Malone sits where he always sat: at the very end of the bar. Friends and family held a wake for Jacky when he passed away in 2017.

When he died in 2017, they posted information on Farrell’s cork bulletin board about a memorial service that would be held for him at nearby Holy Name Church. His sister Snooki brought his ashes down from Lake Luzerne in a polished wooden box. After a funeral mass and a police honor guard ceremony, the crowd formed into a procession, and they all walked down 9th Avenue to Farrell’s Bar. Snooki led the way, carrying Jacky’s ashes with her.

Inside Farrell’s, there was food spread out on tables, the juke box was playing, and you could hear the roar of a large crowd of Jacky’s friends and family as they called up memories of their times with him. His sister Snooki walked back to the spot where Jacky always drank and placed his ashes on the bar. Pints of beer and Jameson’s whiskey were ordered, and soon the afternoon took on the mood of a Joycean wake.

Like Pete Hamill, whenever I go back to Farrell’s now I see ghosts. When I stand where Jacky Malone once stood, and stare into the wide mirrors we both stared into when we were young, I can still hear him asking me, “You still writing all that crap for the newspapers?”

And I would smile and say, “Yeah, Jack, I’m still writing all that crap for the newspapers.” And he would turn and smile back at me, knowing he had just paid me the highest compliment that you could get in Farrell’s – no matter how long you were gone from the bar, you were still part of Farrell’s enough to be teased. Then he would say to the bartender, “Give Pat a beer.”  ♦

66 Responses to “The Last Irish Saloon”

  1. Mark Bassett says:


  2. Jack moran says:

    Well said and brings back a lot memories

  3. Gerry says:

    check out the soccer tavern in Sunset Park

  4. Jeanne O'Connor Bragg says:

    Visited it in 2004. My Grandfather lived in Harrisburg but worked for railroad as an acct in NYC. Visited the Pub regularly…

  5. Michael Minally says:

    I grew up in Park Slope Farrell’s was like a beacon to everyone in the neighborhood when I was a teen we would all hang out outside sneeking in from time to time and hearing the bartenders yell get out because we were not of age but it was never a mean or scary shout all in all it was a way of saying your time will come. All my memories of Farrell’s are joyful and also sad many friends are gone today many toasts to our Comrades that have gone echo threw the air it was a place of safety because you knew if you were in trouble all the Farrell’s elite would be by your side I have been away from Brooklyn for many years and when I do get home from time to time the first thing I want to do is go to Farrell’s and have a beer see familiar faces and new ones but really I go to say hello to a place that helped me so much in my life it really isn’t a bar it’s Home

  6. Sean Rivers says:

    For Pat Fenton. Great story. Curious as to your mother’s Maiden name as my family grew up in Woodside, Queens after my grandfather came from Williamstown. Name was Morgan and his family owned “Morgan’s Pub” in town (haven’t been there since 1999 and while still open then, I believe it has since closed).

    • Pat Fenton says:

      Thank you, Sean. My mom’s name was Mitchell. They lived on a small farm in Williamstown. I was over there about six years or so, and hope to go back this year. I have on my writing desk a small stone brick from what’s left of the thatched cottage she lived in. Such a small town, three towns over from Galway city, you don’t often meet anyone who came from there. My dad Andrew Fenton was born on The Long Walk in Galway. Glad you got in touch and mentioned Williamstown.

  7. Michele McKenna Van Tassel says:

    Great article about a great bar and great people! Not only do fathers come back with their sons, but with their grandsons and granddaughters. Our family also recently held my father, Gerard McKenna, wake at Farrell’s, graciously granted and worked by Houli and Michael O’Donnell. This bar held the friendships, community, family and soul of my father and his neighborhood. I too see and feel goats when I return with my friends for scheduled reunions and get togethers, but they warm me with familiarity, sense of home and wonderful memories. Thank you so very much for a wonderful, loving article and the opportunity to walk down that beautiful memory lane!

  8. Eileen Quigley says:

    I grew up in Windsor terrace, closer to Greenwood ave. Such great memories. Reading this I s so nostalgic

  9. Dennis J. Crimmins says:

    I remember the times stopping by with my Father-in-law…..Always full of laughs with his buddy’s from Train Crews….

  10. Beautiful, comprehensive ode to a neighborhood staple. I live a stone’s throw from Farrell’s. I put it into 2 of my novels “The El” and its sequel. “The Bells of Brooklyn.” Julie is even a character in them!

  11. Denis Keyes says:

    Close to 50 years ago I returned to Farrell’s after having been absent for almost 2 years.

    I put a few dollars on the bar while Jimmy Houlihan poured a beer for me.

    He placed it on the bar and told me “Sorry Pal, your money’s no good here.”

    I had returned from Vietnam the night before and never paid for a beer at Farrell’s while I was on leave.

  12. Thomas G. Campbell says:

    Thanks so much for the article Pat. So many memories of the institution called “Farrell’s”. As a young man growing up in Windsor Terrace, the first beer at Farrells was a “rite of passage”.

  13. Kim Levesque says:


  14. Frank Ducey says:

    I grew up on 9th Ave. only a block away from Farrell’s I still remember Eddie Farrell’s contagious smile. Eddie did not believe in bar stools he felt if you couldn’t stand to drink you couldn’t drink at Farrell’s. When we were teenagers all any us wanted to do was turn 18, so we could have a Cold Bud in Farrell’s and get a buy back on every 4th. sometimes the 3rd. I would get it a short. Yes Budweiser on tap, I believe it was the first bar to have it.
    Some of those bars you mentioned we were getting into (you left out the Shamrock) at 16 & 17 yrs.old but not Farrell’s you didn’t even try.Timmy married my sister Leona. I grew up with Timmy, Danny and Jimmy as my sister would have to take care of me when I was in Holy Name. I remember when Timmy started working in Farrell’s after I turned 18. I remember playing drinking games at the back tables like Boss Underboss to some hysterical conclusions. If we got a little tippsy there were no cars to get in we walked home or got on a bus. Speaking of the back tables at one time women were not allowed to stand at the bar and could only drink at the back tables. That all changed one night so story goes when Pete Hamill brought Shirley MacLaine into Farrell’s and they went up to the bar. The bartender at the time told her politely I’m sorry we don’t serve women at the bar you’ll have to sit at the tables in the back. To which she replied I’ll drink anyplace I EXPLETIVE want to. So women were able to drink at the bar after that, like I said so the story goes. Like anything Farrell’s has moved along with the times they have guest bartenders now my niece Samantha being one of them.
    The neighborhood has changed with it’s now million dollar brownstones and some upscale clientele, but a lot of the friends I grew up still make an effort to get back there. Mind you we were also very upscale when we walked through those doors. So Danny, Timmy especially you Timmy I miss you guys. Jimmy I know I’ll still see you. In closing who could forget a Farrell’s cardboard container of cold Bud. I believe on the 22nd of June Farrell’s is having a big blast celebrating the end of those containers as The Cardboard can’t be stored anymore and the Styrofoam they use now is outlawed. Timmy’s daughter Samantha is a co-owner with Jimmy as Timmy left his half of the bar to her.

  15. richard lang says:

    langs , rrapps, kennedys, coles, slavins, horans, drums, all grew up in the neighborhood and were related. farrells was a beacon. thanks for memorializing. well written.

  16. Steven Gates says:

    My mom & dad made the stained glass “Farrells” windows! Still hanging & looking great!!

    • Patrick Fenton says:

      They are wonderful, Steven. Over the years they have become a part of Farrell’s .

  17. Sean Somers says:

    Fantastic Article!! I have grown up in the Irish Pub industry here in Boston and currently operate the largest family operated Irish Hospitality Group in the country – The Somers Pubs. I can totally identify with every word you wrote. The line in which you refer to the tin ceiling and the “numerous fathers and sons’ that drank under that roof took my breath away. My father immigrated to the States from Listowel Co. Kerry when he was 24 with $70 in his pocket and a guitar over his shoulder and a dream to hopefully some day ‘make it’. He died 4 years ago and took the name ‘Dean of Irish Pubs’ with him. So I guess one could say – Yes, he did make it. He built the one thing he knew no one else in the world could build- an Irish Pub (unless they were from Ireland of course). You can find an Irish Pub anywhere you go in the world, that’s amazing. Like Winston Churchill said “You will never beat the Irish in a fight, & you will never beat the Irish in Hospitality”. Those two things are polar opposites- and that is what makes the Irish so special. -Sean J Somers

    • Pat Fenton says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Sean. Always loved Boston. My dad’s first home town when he came to America, Southie.

  18. Phil Pipitonet says:

    As a kid , I never cared much for beer.
    But hanging out with our boys on the block and / or the neighborhood, some had a taste for beer or they just wanted to get a buzz.
    Can and bottled beer just didn’t do it for me.
    But then , some guys knew some older guys that would buy them a pint or a quart of DRAFT BEER from Farrell’s.
    And then sometimes they would pass around the White Container.
    I usually would pass on my try.
    And one day I decided to take a swig.
    The rest is history.
    That’s how I learned how to appreciate Beer.
    From then on , I would only drink Draft Beer .
    Same scenario for me eating Tomatoes.
    Mom would place tomatoes into the salad she would make for diner,
    and I would pass on the tomatoes.
    But then , I tasted my Dads home grown Tomatoes
    Again, the rest is history
    And will only eat Home Grown Tomatoes
    I’m Italian, my best friends are Irish.
    Even had a good friend that was Maltese, but his family moved away from
    17th. Street when he was in his early teens.
    One last thought, I would never eat Fish
    Best friend Dad (Pop) was a Captain on a Fishing Boat out of New Bedford,Ma. and he would bring home fish ( da ).
    While hanging out in the Maloney’s Kitchen
    I would watch Ida or Pop frying fish, and they would ask me will I like some .i would always say no thank you.
    And one day I said YES.
    And the Rest Is History


    Lovely old Irish story, where did the Kerrigans originate from,?

  20. Seán Culkin says:

    If there were more places like Farrell’s in this country we’d be in a much better place.
    Sad to say, I haven’t been there since the 80’s with my cousins Pat and Alex Timlin. What I took out of Farrell’s was it’s the only place in America that had the true Irish pub feeling. Community, help when you needed it and the news that makes a community a community. Mom and Dad are from Sligo and from an early age that’s what I felt in the pubs near their home places.Thank you for this article and I’ll be back!

  21. Ellen Tucker says:

    Please include the story how women could not sit at the bar, not come in the front door. My relative was one of the first to sit at the bar!

  22. Leona Horan says:

    As the wife of Tim Horan I have to say your article does very little in mentioning his significance as a partner. Tim was well loved and also given a wonderful Irish Wake in Farrells just 2 weeks before his good friend Jack Malone passed. Jimmy is not the sole owner as he has Tim’s and my daughter, Samantha As his partner.

    • Pat Fenton says:

      Leona, if I may call you that, and please call me Pat, I would like to apologize to you and your family for saying that Jimmy Houlihan was the sole owner of Farrell’s and leaving out that your daughter was also a partner in the bar. If I had known that they were partners I certainly would have mentioned it.
      Your husband Tim, and Danny Mills along with Jimmy Houlihan are the main reasons Farrell’s is still standing on the corner of 16th Street and 9th Avenue for so long. They were three men who realized that Farrell’s Bar was a special place the likes of something we would never see again in our time. And the three of them kept that spirit alive; until this day. As you know, Jack Malone thought so much of Tim that he drove all the way down from upstate to be at his funeral. And then he drove all the way back alone. From what someone told me Jack’s legs were so swollen that day he could hardly walk.
      I’m sorry Leona that I didn’t go into more detail about Tim in “The last Irish Saloon”, but I certainly will in future stories. —Pat Fenton

  23. John McGee says:

    I grew up on Terrace Place and 20 th Street , with my 11 brothers and sisters , went to Holy Name and married a girl from the neighborhood Carol
    McCorkle , 16 th street and Eighth Ave , moved to Middletown NY and then Holmdel NJ where we raised six children , one of which moved to our old neighborhood 17 th street and 10 th Ave . A great story about a great establishment !!!! Remember fondly Gerard McKenna , A Farrell ‘s Guy !! Your story brought back some nice memories , having a beer at Farrells was like graduating in the neighborhood , I can recall having a container , made of cardboard in the summer and can still remember how cold it was !! I have faint memories of when the built the Prospect Expressway and the Cable Car depot where Bishop. Ford was built , I remember the seeing the wrecking ball they used to knock it down . I also can remember the green pilgrim laundry trucks all lined up along the streets , they backed up all the way to our house , we couldn’t afford to have our diapers cleaned by the pilgrim laundry . We had to wash and hang them on a clothesline in our back yard . A lot of things have changed in our neighborhood but Farrell’s has always stayed the same . Whenever I could I would bring people to Brooklyn and stop at Farrell’s to show them what Brooklyn was like when
    I grew up . And the ghosts are all friendly at Farrells !!!!

  24. Larry Farrell says:


  25. Marina Callaghan says:

    Living up the road on Windsor Place in the late 70’s….Farrell’s for me, a Rockaway girl….was a familiar and friendly place. Decent, hardworking, salt of the Earth types….that enjoyed good conversation over a few, ice cold beers. If only I could sit again and reminisce with a few of those ghosts ….Barbara Whelan, Billy McCartney & Howie Bischoff to name a few. Oh to do it all again…..Beautiful article. Thank you for it.

  26. Pat Fenton says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Marina.

  27. Joseph kelly says:

    Best saloon in America,in the late sixties when the war was heating up and came home on leave with all the guys that were serving Farrell’s was our home away from home mike Irish chubby Paul tommy Coyne brother John and everybody else Danny and so many others . Eddie Farrell cared about all of us and as time went forward he gave us nothing but good advice I try to get there two maybe three times a year just because that bar is the best along with it’s great crowd and bartenders like duffer Pete and mike and of course Houli my father pat kelly and pat fenton from the same town in Ireland great article and god bless all

    • Frank Ducey says:

      Just like a 10th Ave guy to leave us 9th ave guys out. ?? Joe I still remember another one on 9th ave where MyGirl played on the juke and u and Ernie Banks

    • Patrick Fenton says:

      Thanks, Joseph. We were all lucky growing up in Windsor to me it was like growing up in a small town.

    • Patrick Fenton says:

      Thank you, Joseph. Well said.

  28. Lou Raffaele says:

    Pat. Thanks for another well written and vivid story. You are a true artist. Jacky was my uncle and my mom was “Snooki” — and your recollections brought tears to my eyes. Thanks again for the fond reflections on a neighborhood staple and time of life. As you wrote above, returning to see “ghosts” can oftentimes spur wonderful memories. Take care!

    • Patrick Fenton says:

      And I want to thank you, Lou for your wonderful words about Jacky. The two of us grew up on nearby 17th Street. He lived in 481 and I lived in 483. Snooki was good friends with my sister Eileen. Jacky had a big influence on my life when we were growing up. He had this great street wisdom.

  29. William monahan says:

    We had our own on 136 and Amsterdam. The wonderful Vinegar Hill Bar. All the same ethos,all Irish immigrants and their sons and daughters.You bring back the sweet memories.

    • Patrick Fenton says:

      Thanks, William. And yeah, it didn’t matter what part of New York you lived in, those Irish saloons were much alike.

  30. Andrea says:

    Great story and pictures. The only neighborhood bar you didn’t mention is The Windsor Pub. My mother-in-law bought the building condemned in the 70’s, my husband renovated the building and the Pub was going until my husband died in 1997. No we weren’t as big or famous as Farrell’s but we held our own.
    I just figured since you mentioned quite a few pubs in the neighborhood, this one should be among them.

  31. Kathy Heegan McGuire says:

    Thanks for such a terrific article about Farrell’s Bar and Grill, a mainstay or over 85 years, in “the neighborhood” where both sides of my family grew up. Jim Houlihan is my uncle and the most generous man I have ever known. He teaches all of us by his example, how to care for and about other people. My Grandfather, Ed Houlihan was a Farrell’s regular that had many friends and stopped by during his retirement days just to have a glass of beer and talk to the guys… and spend time with “Jimmy”(the guy everyone else calls “Houli”. We have a photo of Popa and others around the time of the US Bicentennial in 1976… standing at the bar , their reflections in the big mirror-classic. My Heegan cousins can often be found on one side of the bar or the other, and whenever our many out of town cousins come to NY, we always find our way to Windsor Terrace and Farrell’s- the last time for a 50th Birthday party. We love Farrell’s and hope its legacy lives well beyond another 85 years

  32. Peter Keller says:

    I lived in the Slope from 1981 to 1988; Berkeley just up from 5th (when 5th was the real DMZ) and then 12th & 7th Ave.

    I have many fond memories of Farrell’s, drinking at the bar and getting takeout containers to take to the Park.

    Good friends and neighbors asked me to be godfather to their 1st. but the priest at St. Augustine’s, where they had been married, would not allow it as I am a Protestant. I told them to just pick someone else, I would still be an unofficial godfather. His mom was furious and said no way. Instead Brian was baptized with beer at Farrell’s.

    25 years later Brian and his brother, who left Brooklyn as toddlers, were visiting from Florida. I took them on an extended walking tour of the Park and Park Slope, stopping at many of the bars I used to frequent with their parents, including, among others, the Union St. Bar where Kelly McGillis used to work, the Montauk Club and the bar at the corner of 7th 7 3rd. We finished up at Farrell’s with some celebratory drinks – and told the bartender about Brian’s christening!

    We ended the evening walking down Flatbush so the boys could have their 1st walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

    Three years ago my daughter moved to Park Slope, while my son is in Williamsburgh, so I get opportunities to return to one of my favorite neighborhoods. A lot has changed, thank God Farrell’s endures!!

  33. Patrick says:

    Well said, Michael.

  34. Joseph B McNeely says:

    great article Pat. Thank you so much.I lived until I was ten in a there generation household, at 470 different Street, one house off the square. I went to Holy Name and delivered groceries for Carlos Tizio, the fruit and vegetable man across the street from Farrell’s. There was a little disruption in my Irish family when I went to work for “an Italian,” though by then many of my classmates were Italian or Irish Italian. My grandfather, Joe “reds” McNeely, stood/sat every night after work in the same place by the window at Farrell’s just inside the front door. He was some kind of precinct leader for the local political machine. Farrell’s was the big connector, his “office.” He took notes from that corner of people’s needs and complaints to be addressed by Senator Tommy Hefferen.I was proud to go fetch him every night for dinner and carry the cardboard container of beer home from the time I was in third grade. My dad, also Joe and my uncle Jack were accomplished and locally famous ball players at the parade grounds (enough to be featured in Brooklyn Eagle sports columns) but considered Farrell’s their base if not their unofficial sponsor. My parents took us to the suburbs in 1954. I have taken many of my younger siblings and cousins who grew up completely in the suburbs on walking tours ending in Farrell’s. they can’t believe what a rich life they missed. If you spent any part of your young years around Farrell’s and Holy Name and 9th avenue, considered Prospect Park your personal domain as you scooted over the “Indian trails” or ran from trouble (or having caused it) by ducking down and coming out the multiple entrances to the 15th Street F train station, you’ll always be a city kid from Windsor Terrace. When I got to Baltimore’s old Southeast Baltimore neighborhoods in 1970, I realized what I had missed from Winton Terrace — even though my local pub was now called Mary’s Polish Haven. My neighborhood is now gentrifying too and the old pubs are turning into sports bars or foodie places. More than the charm, we are losing the sense that building a neighborhood as a caring, sustainable, memorable place is a constant collective effort, more a contact sport more than a consumer commodity. Your story of Jimmy mobilizing to paint the school is a perfect example of how neighborhood institutions like Farrell’s are a place where you came not just for a beer and comraderie but to get help, giver help and get together to make this a damn great place.

  35. Such nostalgia draws such appreciation for our communities. This speaks of home/people who made a difference in people’s lives. The 3 writers from the neighborhood gave the community profound pride. CHEERS for all the beers, welcoming neighbors like Mr. Malone and bartenders. I was from the 7th Avenue side & there was a bar on 7th Avenue between President Street & Union Street. One block over was a bar between Union St./Berkeley Place. There was also a bar between Garfield Place & First Street. I vividly remember these places because they were a no, no for us kids but the happiest people came out of this bar giving out quarters or dimes; such blessed children were we!?♥️?

  36. Patrick Fenton says:

    Thank you, Cynthia. Those were the days.

  37. Mary Finch Kay says:

    I grew up at 105 Windsor Pl My Mom worked in Ballards Pharmacy & my Dad Richie Finch worked in Farrells for John Farrell in the late 60’s early 70’s. On the morning of 6/18/73 my Dad had a major stroke & heart attack while in Farrells. He passed 10 days later never waking up. Thanks to Mr. Farrell my Mom who is 90 still gets disability income. I went to Holy Name school as well.
    My Great grandfather Daniel& Grandfather Daniel owned
    Lanahans on 8th ave & 5 th ave.
    I loved your article on Farrell’s & still have memories of getting a coke from my Dad & sitting at the “back”. So glad the documentary is being done.
    Best to all
    Mary Finch Kay

  38. Abby says:

    Mr. Fenton —

    Great article!

    I am writing on behalf of Queens Historical Society. We have been trying to get in contact with you regarding the possibility of hosting you to deliver a lecture on the life of Jack Kerouac in Queens.

    Please contact me if you might be interested.

    email: abigailgeluso@gmail.com
    phone: 616.337.3869

  39. lou cornale says:

    Eddie pryz long lunch on Friday !!!!!

  40. James Farrell says:

    What a great article! I’ve alway been fascinated with Farrells bar in Brooklyn because of my family heritage. My grandfather, John Francis Farrell grew up in Brooklyn and was a fireman there for many yeas. I know the name is certainly common and there are many Farrells but the picture of Eddie Farrell reminds me so much of my grandfather. I have an amazing Black & white picture of him on the top of the ladder during a fire rescuing someone on the roof of a walk up. On the photo is written “Photo by Frank Rotunno of Metro Photo & Camera Exch. 752 Metropolitan Ave. BKLY. NY. Wish I knew more about my family history and if there was any direct connection to the amazing Farrells Bar. On a last note, my birthday is March 17th so I’ve always considered myself the luckiest guy in the world. Thanks again for this great article.

  41. Pat Fenton says:

    Much thanks for your kind words, James. Jimmy Houlihan is one of the owners of Farrell’s Bar. If you would like, I ll put you in touch with him and he could tell you about the history of the Farrell’ family and the bar. You can reach me through my e-mail above. Best to you—Pat Fenton

  42. Karen Kelly McEachern says:

    Dear Mr. Fenton,
    As a reader of Irish America I started reading the stories from you, Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill. I find all of them so interesting and reminders of my own growing up in South Boston, Ma. My dad, Joe Kelly, was first generation Irish and loved by all who knew him. Everything he did was for his family. He mostly worked 3 jobs weekly. He was a painter for the housing authority, a cleaner nights in buildings in downtown Boston and did side jobs weekends as a painter. Your heartfelt stories about other Irish families reminds me of him. Thank you for the story of Farrell’s Bar and the people who made it what it was. I hadn’t seen it before but just caught it on Irish America’s website. God Bless the Irish, Karen

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