Finn MacCool’s, the rollicking Port Washington Irish bar that was a watering hole for the 1986 Mets, reopened Tuesday night, nearly eight months after being gutted by a kitchen fire.
The Irish pub feel has been largely stripped for “more of an upscale Hamptons type of look,” says owner Connie O’Reilly, who immigrated from Ireland at 18 and turned the early 1900s warehouse space on Main Street into a bar in 1984.
The result: granite stone on the bar, softer tones in the dining room and “furniture with more of a country club feel,” alongside better brands of wine and a 20-beer tap list that features five Long Island brews.
The menu has been given a makeover. The expected Irish pub fare of stuffed potato skins, mozzarella sticks and shepherd’s pie still exists. But new executive chef Billy Smith, who has designed the menus at O’Reilly’s Penn Station area restaurants Niles and Gray Bar, has added new American dishes like lollipop lamb chops ($17), and a lobster club sandwich ($19).
Named for the hunter-warrior in Irish mythology, Finn MacCool’s was a popular party spot for the 1986 Mets, where players including Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Bob Ojeda, Lenny Dykstra and Wally Backman were regulars.
In “The Bad Guys Won!,” former Newsday sports writer Jeff Pearlman captured the revelry:
“One night, Henry Downing, the bar’s manager, concocted a drink for the Mets that he named The Nervous Breakdown.
It was a potent combination of vodka, cranberry juice, tequila and schnapps, and the 12 Mets sitting around the table eagerly devoured pitcher after pitcher. The one who drank the most was Strawberry. “I remember he really took to that,” O’Reilly said. “I guess he liked the taste.”
As Strawberry guzzled away, he got louder and louder. Then he started stumbling around. By the time he took a taxi home, it was 2 a.m. Strawberry was wasted.
“The next afternoon we were watching the game from the bar, and the broadcaster said Darryl wasn’t playing,” O’Reilly said. “They showed him sitting on the bench . . . something about a 24-hour virus.”
Finn MacCool’s, 205 Main St., Port Washington, 516-944-3439, finnmaccoolsny.com