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Finnegan’s in Huntington turns 100

Finnegan's Restaurant and Taproom in Huntington will celebrate

Finnegan's Restaurant and Taproom in Huntington will celebrate the end of its first century later in July 2012. This is an undated picture of the family that started the business, from left, Andrew Finnegan and his sons Andrew, Patrick and William. Credit: Handout

Visiting Finnegan’s Restaurant & Tap Room on Wall Street in Huntington on an average Saturday night reveals a common nightlife experience; a good-looking crowd, aged around 21-35, dancing to loud music while chatting and drinking at the bar. The lights are dim, and without steady illumination the wall decor doesn’t really stand out – but during the day, when the action here is more about dining or catching a game on one of the house TVs, the many photos and memorabilia tell a story that is assuredly uncommon to find on Long Island.

There are yellowing newspaper clippings, photos of old buildings and many of high school sports teams that once took the field for Huntington High School …decades ago – hanging in frames in all directions. The wooden tap mantle is seemingly born of another era, and the ceiling tiles reveal styles long-since abandoned from current tavern construction. Is this a “retro” eatery and bar, trying to appear a fixture of the town? Not so, for as it turns out, Finnegan’s will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in business on Saturday, July 28.

Forget the Internet, Finnegan's predates TV and radio broadcasting. It has survived through both World Wars, The Great Depression, Prohibition (as a speak-easy) and other events that have come and gone since the Finnegan family first opened this space – and although it once encompassed a larger space reaching from Main Street to the end of the store currently next door --  its presence on the always-busy Huntington Village scene remains constant.

Many locals have fond memories of the venue as it has served generations of Long Islanders, and although today the owner is the Lessing’s group (also owners of the Post Office Café in Babylon and The Library Café in Farmingdale, among others), the historical value what the Finnegan family began will be recognized on its Saturday birthday with a day of festivities.

Starting at 6 p.m., Wall Street will be closed down (from Gerard to Main), and with no cover, all are invited to enter the block party to enjoy presentations plus performances from an Irish band, bagpipers, dancers and the U.S. Marine Corps Guard. Food specials for the event include $5 Guinness sausages, $2 ice cream, $5 burgers and hot dogs two-for-$5, as well as Jameson whiskey and Guinness beer served in commemorative cups for $5 (which you can keep). T-shirts and polo golf shirts celebrating the day will also be on sale, but there will also be giveaways (including free koozies).

However, even as this centennial bash comes to a close by 10 p.m., fans of Finnegan’s can continue to find deals on meals for days with a number of specials available for different food items daily until Thursday, Aug. 2.

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