Good Ole Dog

When Irish eyes are smiling they're probably in Astoria

A pair of lasses forgo the usual Guinness
photo: Steven Sunshine
A pair of lasses forgo the usual Guinness

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The Irish Rover
37-18 28th Avenue
Astoria, Queens
718-278-9372

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    The Irish Rover turns 12 this year, outlasting by five winters its doomed namesake, a New York-bound barque loaded with "7 million barrels of porter," whose crew succumbed to measles, in the traditional song of the same name. This is a neighborhood pub in the abject sense, from a block away nearly undifferentiable from the street's residential houses. Still, it possesses some of the tune's ripped-shit-while-the-ship-goes-down glee, or fever depending on your take. A bastion of neither good taste nor bad, like the friend forever wearing that once-washed hoodie, the Rover doesn't so much attract a crowd as expect one—which is some measure of integrity. On a recent Saturday night there was room enough to breathe and swivel elbows (another measure), toggling between darts and Buck Hunter. The atmosphere is contemporary saloon (octagonal wood/tiled tables, linoleum flooring)—free from the identity mongering of, say, a McSorley's or alternatively, the self-gratified air of shamrock singles scenes. According to a bartender, Paddy's Day will be a madhouse, but then so will everywhere else. Cover band Tosser, who play there often, will lead the choruses and, would it be wrong to suspect, wankery? The pints are cheap enough at $4.50 import and $3.50 domestic; 12 on tap include Guinness, Harp, and Smithwick's. Jameson comes in at a bargain $4. If a body survive, the rowdiness continues Saturday with the Ireland-England rugby match and a nails-behind-the-eyes hangover. The captain's dog, knocked about the upended bulkhead, had a worse fate.

     
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