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Luck of the Irish: Fifth Ave. dive bar O'Connor's gets a makeover

Hand-carved walnut, exposed brick for the makeover of shuttered dive bar O'Connor's in Park Slope - Photo by Lore Croghan

Eye On Real Estate

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

When Irish eyes are smiling … it's because a new pub is opening on Fifth Avenue that will bring a bit of the Emerald Isle to Park Slope.

Michael and Jimmy McMahon – whose brother owns a pub outside Dublin that was their late father's – are putting the finishing touches on a pub worthy of the Auld Sod in the New World. They're hoping it will be ready to open by – guess when? Saint Patrick's Day.

“We want a place you can bring your mother, your grandmother and the kids,” said Michael, who still has a brogue and pronounces the word “mother” like “mudder” though he and Jimmy came from Ireland 30 years ago.

Their new watering hole, whose name they haven't announced, is at 39 Fifth Ave. It replaces O'Connor's, a bar that had been around since the 1930s and was named one of Forbes Magazine's favorite New York dives in 2009.

“Park Slope needs an Irish pub,” Michael said.

Barclays Center looms behind brothers Jimmy (l.) and Michael McMahon on the roof of their new Irish pub at 39 Fifth Ave. Photo by Lore Croghan

He and Jimmy – a retired welterweight boxer – own Gowanus-based McMahon Construction as well as a pub called McMahon's on Flatbush Avenue in Marine Park.

Their new place in the Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID area will dish up corned beef and other Irish faves and have musicians play Irish music on the weekends.

They enlarged the building and added a new wood-paneled facade. For those with short memories, old photos of O'Connor's show a grim brick facade with tiny windows and two small doors.

On the first floor of the renovated two-story space, there's a walnut top on the stone bar, some walls with walnut paneling, others with newly exposed brick, a stone fireplace and leather upholstered banquettes.

“We wanted it to glow,” Michael said.

The wood work was all done by hand.

Upstairs, for a change of scenery there's a second bar with a modern look which has huge picture windows. A deck out back affords a glimpse of Barclays Center.

View from the second-floor bar at the McMahon brothers' new Park Slope pub. Photo by Lore Croghan

There is room for events – small weddings, First Communion and christening parties, Michael said.

They've been working on the massive property makeover for a year and a half.

“The building was so old it wasn't workable for what we wanted to do,” Michael said.

He and his brother bought O'Connor's bar business – and the building that housed it.

The bar passed from grandfather to father to son – then “the son didn't want to run it and approached me,” Michael explained. “I stopped into our Flatbush pub after Mass one Sunday for breakfast and he introduced himself. He wanted to retire and go to Florida.”

The McMahons bought the building through an LLC in 2008 for $1.54 million from P. O'Connor Realty Corp. of Jupiter, Fla., city Finance Department records indicate.

The brothers held off on renovations until Barclays opened. They expect Barclays guests will patronize their pub, but first and foremost it's meant to be a neighborhood pub.

Up on the roof, the brothers posed for a photo. Barclays Center loomed large behind them.

“That's Jay-Z's club over there,” Jimmy said.

The rap mogul has an outpost of his 40/40 Club at the popular arena.

“We're the Irish answer to Jay-Z,” Jimmy deadpanned.

Workmen replace sidewalk outside Fifth Avenue's new Irish pub. Photo by Lore Croghan

February 12, 2014 - 11:00am


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