The Blarney Stone bar on 8th Avenue between West 31st and 32nd near Penn Station is among the last of its breed. The chain of bars in its heyday once consisted of 34 locations, all of which featured relatively cheap beer and booze and a steam table with yes, corned beef featured. But they were far from dives.
My friend Gary, who has since moved to Atlanta, worked across the street from me for a time during my Photo-Lettering employment between 1982 and 1988. He worked daytime hours and I worked nights, but at times we would meet at this since-disappeared Blarney Stone on 3rd between 44th and 45th for a few, him after work, me before.The chain is named for Ireland’s namesake stone, located at Blarney Castle outside Cork. According to legend, kissing it gives the kisser prodigious persuasive powers.
According to Ephemeral New York, the whole thing was begin by Irish immigrant Daniel Flanagan, whose first Stone opened on 3rd Avenue and East 44th in 1952.
One other remains as of March 2017, on 11 Trinity Place in view of the Brooklyn Battery (Hugh Carey) Tunnel.
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