Monahan & Fitzgerald revamps and reopens

By Rich Bockmann

Monahan & Fitzgerald has been one of Bayside’s traditional Irish pubs for 25 years, and with the recent renovations now complete, owner Jim Fitzgerald said he hopes “to have a go at another 25-year run.”

With a redesigned interior, a new schedule of events and a revamped menu, Fitzgerald believes his restaurant will reflect the new character of Bayside.

“It feels like the neighborhood has changed over the years,” he said, noting that his Irish pub has fewer Irish patrons than when it opened in the 1980s. “I’m still sold on the community.”

He said that when the economy tanked and other businesses struggled to stay afloat beginning 2 1/2 years ago, he realized that for the cozy Irish pub to have any kind of future, it would have to be modernized.

The first thing to go was the cluttered old bar, but that just opened up a whole can of worms and Fitzgerald decided that a total renovation was in order. With new hardwood floors and tiling, 16 flat-screen TVs, four more beers on tap and an open, inviting floor plan in place, Fitzgerald is ready to reinvent his bar.

“We want to make it a more sports-oriented-type pub,” he said. “Give them a reason to get off their couch.”

A weekly movie night, karaoke on Wednesdays, bands on Thursday nights and a DJ with music videos on weekend nights complete a calendar of events Fitzgerald hopes will draw in new patrons.

The owner also takes great pride in his kitchen’s menu.

“We were one of the first places to do catering. I don’t think anyone does as good a job as we do,” he said.

In addition to old favorites like homemade ring sausages, chef Raul Santos has added items like marinated-steak sliders with caramelized onions.

Fitzgerald said the lack of convenient parking is still one of the biggest problems he and other restaurant owners in the neighborhood face.

“We felt if we didn’t change, we’d be left behind. I believe in this town. When the economy comes back, we can grow with it,” he said.

Monahan & Fitzgerald’s will celebrate its 25-year anniversary at 214-17 41st Ave. the week of May 1 with 25 percent off patrons’ restaurant bill.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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