Céad Míle Fáilte, or a hundred thousand welcomes, is what one experiences when they walk through the doors at the newly renovated Finn MacCool’s on Main Street. Upon entrance to the upscale watering hole, a frosted glass window depicting its namesake, Fionn mac Cumhaill, is a beautifully executed tribute and a subtle nod to the Gaelic hunter-warrior and to the Irish revolutionary group.
After a fire burned the popular Irish pub down in June 2016, Finn’s was forced to shut its doors as it repaired and renovated the stand-alone building. For months, the community waited with bated breath for their favorite gathering place to reopen. One group of regulars assembled in the parking lot of the then-vacant building to enjoy a tailgate party and to cheer on the owner, Connie O’Reilly, as he and his crew rebuilt the large structure.
When asked about the outpouring of support and loyalty that he received during such a tumultuous year, O’Reilly paused, took a deep breath and was audibly moved. He said, “It made us feel really important. We truly appreciate everyone showing appreciation.” He also emphasized his gratitude to the first responders whom he credits with saving the majority of his restaurant and for the miracle that there was not even an incident of smoke inhalation during the ordeal. O’Reilly thanks the Village of Baxter Estates building department “for closely advising us and helping us at every turn.”
O’Reilly, a staple in the community for more than 35 years, owns other restaurants in New York City. He graciously offers his Port Washington venue up for fundraisers, as with the Christmas Tree Lighting Committee. This past December, O’Reilly and his family were recognized for all the charitable work they have done and they had the honor of lighting the tree located at Blumenfeld Park.
The wooden floors, plush chairs, wainscoting and bright neutrals give the once dark bar and restaurant an airy and fresh ambiance that will attract a discerning clientele. A cozy corner fireplace beckons patrons to enjoy a pint, share a story and warm up. At the oval-shaped bar, bartenders like Marcus invite customers with a smile to sit, relax and enjoy a cocktail. He encourages trying something new, like his signature “Paloma,” an elegant tequila and grapefruit-based drink with a light pink aesthetic.
It is clear that this is not the same beer and burger joint as it was prior to the fire. The menu offers lobster, crab cakes, thin crust pizza with goat cheese, caramelized onions and olives, Irish bangers and mash and a British cottage pie, not “shepherd’s.” Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. Executive Chef William Smith is taking the menu in a fresh direction. While keeping some comfort foods, he is focusing on fish and meats, like lamb chops. His goal is to offer a menu where there is something for everyone, be it gluten-free or vegetarian.
Jim Thompson gave a glowing review of the new Finn MacCool’s and thought it worthy of five stars. Another diner was disappointed that the corned beef has been removed from the menu, but was happy to see familiar faces.
Energetic and ambitious manager Phil Moody is thrilled to provide a more club-like atmosphere. The oval bar is something that can only be found at Finn MacCool’s on Long Island.
He said, “we are still tweaking and perfecting our menu and improving our wine list, daily.” He believes that the best way to serve the customers is by listening to their needs. Moody would like feedback on the Finn MacCool’s experience and is looking forward to reading the emails from www.finnmaccoolsny.com.