Bar and Restaurants all across the country pride themselves on being a haven and refuge for customers looking to press pause on life. Mahogany bars, cold pints of beer, a bartender's greeting is aimed to soothe a fatigued soul. We all have that one local pub or bar that speaks to you in a way that other establishments don't. Black and white pictures of local heroes and family patriarchs were placed carefully on an exposed brick wall. Friendship and soulmates meet in a crowded bar with the smell of mystery and regret lingering in the air. Bar owners navigate through familiar faces to strangers with trouble on their minds. Foreign melodies and classic songs set the temperature for the day.
I opened my own bar and beer garden in 2019 (Bricks and Hops) in the south Bronx, my hometown. It was important to me to open an establishment that the neighborhood could own. My wife and I wanted to keep it local, we hire locals from the neighborhood and support the local beers and alcohol brands of New York. Great service, great food, good energy! We wanted people from the community to feel like they didn't have to travel outside the Bronx to experience an amazing time with friends and family. With that being said, I decided to start a video series called "One for the Road". I hit the streets of New York City with my brother Large as well as a host of others. We set off to investigate how other bar owners like myself are handling the post-pandemic life. I want to soak up and learn as much as I can about the bar industry along the way, discover the old tradition and learn what it takes to stay in the game.
We sat down with Peter O' Connell of Molly's Shebeen. He's been in the business for 73 years, a two-time bartender of the year, and his knowledge and stories from past and present are gems. Without further ado, this is "One For The Road".