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New pub in Sunnyside stays close to home

Ciaran Staunton, an activist and businessman, has opened up the James Joyce-inspired Molly Blooms pub in Sunnyside. Photo by Rebecca Henely
By Rebecca Henely

With its dark wood facade, embroidered upholstered booths and 19th-century-style chandeliers, Molly Blooms, at 43-13 Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside, bears strong resemblance to a Victorian-era Irish pub — only with Wi-Fi access and a large-screen TV.

The pub and coffee shop, which opened in March, is the latest venture of Sunnyside resident and activist Ciaran Staunton. Having run O’Neill’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, at 729 Third Avenue in Manhattan, for 15 years, Staunton is taking a similar formula back to his place of residence, opening a seven-day-a-week establishment that is a coffee shop by day and a bar by night.

But by linking the bar to James Joyce’s famous novel “Ulysses,” whose main character’s wife is named Molly Bloom, Staunton is aiming to take visitors back to the type of place Joyce might have frequented.

“That’s what we wanted to recreate,” Staunton said.

Yet Staunton is not only interested in luring in the coffee, beer or literary lovers. As someone who has long been interested in beautifying Sunnyside, he is also hoping to help out his neighborhood. In constructing and staffing his bar, Staunton said he hired local contractors and has hired people from the community to staff his pub. Much of the meat comes from the Butcher Block, at 43-46 41st St., in Sunnyside and local moms come in to cook scones in the morning.

“We cannot say ‘shop local’ if we don’t spend local as contractors and hirers,” Staunton said.

In addition to the Joycean interior, Molly Blooms also features a garden in the back where patrons will be able to sit, eat and drink when the weather is mild. Like the interior, the garden is Wi-Fi ready.

Molly Blooms has six types of draft beer, many city-brewed, as well as a small menu featuring salads, wraps, burgers, vegetarian items and daily specials. Some of the specials include Irish comfort food such as lamb stew and shepherd’s pie. In the morning the pub serves coffee, tea and scones. The bar is also planning to host nights with traditional Irish music, jazz music and book and poetry readings.

Staunton said Sunnyside has always had a large progressive element and hopes that they will find at Molly Blooms a place to hang their hats.

“That’s what we’re not,” Staunton said, “‘just another bar.’”

Molly Blooms is open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 11 p.m. on Sunday.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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