New York’s Irish pubs under threat20th May, 2014 by Lauren Eads
Rising rents and the ongoing boom in craft beer are threatening to put many of New York’s traditional Irish pubs out of business, according to a report by Crains’s New York Business.
With many younger patrons preferring craft beer and healthier foods, traditional pubs face being squeezed out of the market unless they can adapt with up to 2,000 Irish pubs in the city said to be under threat from closure.
In addition to rising rents, Irish pubs are being killed off by changing tastes with sales of Guinness stout, a staple of Irish pubs, levelling out in recent years due to increased competition with craft and flavoured beers.
Paul Hurley, president of the United Restaurant and Tavern Owners of New York, was forced to close his pub Kennedy’s after the landlord doubled the $20,000 monthly rent.
Other casualties include Blarney Stone bars, which used to number 30 in the City, but today just five remain.
To survive, many pubs are changing their model to appeal to a younger audience, less interested in the traditional elements of an Irish pub.
One such pub owner is Martin Whelan who has built up a portfolio of nine pubs across the city featuring more than 32 stouts from US microbreweries and a menu which includes a $15 tuna burger.
He said that with rents increasing, success lies in large-scale operations and spreading expenses across a number of partners, adding that the days where a bartender could open a place with a friend are long gone.
However the owner of Paddy Reilly, Steve Duggan, was optimistic that Irish pubs would survive, speaking to NY Daily News.
He said: “Probably the reason why we are surviving, it’s because we are the only all-draft Guinness bar in the world.
“We specialize in Guinness and music.”
“There are other Irish bars opening up.
“We are the greatest city in the world.”