Rocky Sullivan’s Moving to Red Hook


If memory serves me correctly, that’s Chris Byrne, the bar’s owner.

Building by building, store by store, person by person, Manhattan just keeps getting less interesting and more generic. The latest news: Rocky Sullivan’s is closing it’s doors on Lexington Avenue at the end of the month.

The Irish literary hangout is relocating to Red Hook and Gowanus Lounge has a picture of new sign going up on the corner of Van Dyke and Dwight streets. By some accounts, the new Rocky’s is already open.

Calls to the bar were not returned. (Why won’t they take my calls? That was four years ago. I was drunk. And I apologized.) But word has it that the landlord tripled the rent. Surprise. Surprise.

A little history from the Rocky Sullivan’s web site:

In the late spring of 1996, musician Chris Byrne (Seanchai, Black ’47 and Paddy-A-Go-Go) approached journalist Patrick Farrelly (HBO’s Left of the Dial, Irish Voice, Michael Moore’s TV Nation) with a proposition. Byrne was tired of bars with lousy jukes, loud televisions, watery Guinness, yuppie wannabee customers, and pretentious bartenders. “The only way round this problem is to open our own,” Byrne concluded. Farrelly agreed. In September, 1996 Rocky Sullivan’s opened its doors at 129 Lexington Avenue, between 28th and 29th Streets in midtown Manhattan.

Rocky Sullivan’s marked itself on the overcrowded Manhattan bar map as a joint with a difference. It’s Wednesday night readings have drawn enthusiastic crowds and top flight writers—Roddy Doyle, Frank McCourt, Edna O’Brien, Pete Hamill, Rosemary Breslin, Mike Lupica—to name a few.

The music line up is distinctive, nothing bloodless or bland is allowed—from Seanchai’s Friday night Irish hip hop party, to various local and international guests (music guests have included Karen Casey,The Popes, Damien Dempsey, Terry “Cruncher’ O’Neill and many more).

And don’t forget Thursday’s Pub Quiz—Manhattan’s longest running and most popular trivia night.

On Tuesday and Wednesday nights Irish language classes are held in our back lounge.

Apart from that, you can wander in, ignore all of the above, and settle down with a pint of Guinness that, we are told, is best in the city.