Pub Crawl 2022
A tour of Westchester's tried-and-true (and relatively new) taverns and pubs
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By Morris Gut
There is nothing that brings out the true local color of a community than your friendly local pub or tavern. Here are a few of my favorites in Westchester, some of whom have been filling those pints for decades…
Jack’s Bar, Eastchester
Jack’s is the new kid on the block, and a darn good one, too. Seasonal decorations are up, and owner Shane Clifford has been drawing a fine crowd. It has been totally remodeled and offers an enhanced Irish/American tavern menu on steroids. The best way to describe it. Generous specialties coming out of Chef Brendan Donohoe’s kitchen include Spicy Chicken Ranch Pizza; Pepperoni & Salami Calzone; Half Roasted Duck; decadent Short Rib Mac N’ Cheese; Jack’s Meatballs; Burrata Pizza out of their woodfired oven; Berkshire Pork Chop; and Grilled Lamb Sliders. The staff could not be more friendly. Open daily. Indoor & outdoor seating. TVs. Municipal parking; free evenings. Jack’s Bar, 219 Main St., Eastchester.
Dunne’s Pub, White Plains
Dunne’s is a neighborhood treasure, an authentic Irish tavern with all the traditional Gaelic accoutrements intact. New owner Declan Farrell, who also operates Vintage on Main Street, White Plains, has upgraded the premises but taken great strains not to get caught up in the modernist mode. It is a friendly, home-style place with an excellent kitchen to boot, dishing out generous servings of traditional Irish American fare at prices that will leave some money in your wallet. Declan and his staff know how to pour that pint of Guinness while keeping the crowd in spirited conversation. Try such kitchen favorites as their fabulous Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich, Plain Jane Burger served on a Kaiser roll, Beer Battered Fish & Chips, Grilled Irish Bangers, and Cheddar Cheese Meatloaf served with Irish beans and mashed potatoes. Oktoberfest is celebrated on the first Thursday of every month all year. Open seven days for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Municipal parking; free evenings. Dunne’s Pub, 15 Shapham Place, White Plains.
Squire’s, Briarcliff Manor
Proprietor Kurt Knox, his family, and staff have been serving patrons for 54 years since 1967. No easy task in this business, for sure, and when I entered the bar/lounge area for the first time, I was made to feel right at home. That’s one mark of longevity, and that’s the way it should be in the hospitality trade. Why do I enjoy old venues like Squire’s? The stories: chat with the staff and patrons, and you often get back a book filled with the local color of the area. A little history to go with all the memorabilia strewn on the walls in the bar and dining room walls, the character of the place. I recall hearing of their award-winning burgers year after year in the local media. So that’s what I wanted on this visit, I zeroed in on the Squire’s Burger topped with bacon and cheese served on a soft bun with a mountain of fries. Their basic burger probably has not changed in years and has withstood the test of many palates over time. Mine, too, I am pleased to report. It was a retro-delish indulgence. I did notice the Prime Rib listed on the menu on weekends. Not too many restos serve it these days. Squire’s, 94 N. State Rd., Briarcliff Manor. Open daily. Free parking.
McShane’s Public House, Port Chester
Edmund Cleary had worked for Dunne’s Pub in White Plains for many years, a personable barkeep who knew how the keep the crowd buzzing. Vincent Furey tended bar at Davy Byrnes Irish Restaurant in Port Chester. Longtime friends, they partnered to open McShane’s Public House, converting a former Latin restaurant into an Irish gastropub with wrap-around bar, original tin ceiling, table and booth seating, a freestanding community table, and plenty of TVs to keep up with daily events. Best news of all is the menu offers above-average gastro-fare loaded with flavor. Take their overstuffed Corned Beef Reuben: a winner for its tender corned beef, pickled cabbage, stout mustard, and Gruyere cheese. Check out the plump juicy Burgers and McShane’s Fish & Chips. McShane’s Public House, 123 N. Main Street, Port Chester.
The Barley House, Thornwood
A warm, friendly greeting from the staff was a welcoming start to my recent lunch at The Barley House on Commerce St. The wrap-around bar area with its barn wood accents, and high tops looked inviting. There is a good craft beer selection posted on the wall in artsy fashion. Settled on a Singlecut 18 Watt IPA as I looked around the restaurant. There is another dining room on one side of the freestanding house and an open-air deck. Watching several dishes emerge from the eclectic American kitchen gave me pause. Portions were very generous, nicely plated, too. A couple near me ordered a giant homemade soft pretzel with dipping sauce. That was just for starters. Then there were those overstuffed sandwiches. My pastrami Reuben with Swiss, coleslaw, and Russian on rye, served with fries, was decadence on a plate. Their burgers are prepared with a blend of short rib, brisket, and chuck served on a croissant-brioche bun. Owners Bobby Harris and Rob Nugent also operate The Barley Beach House in Rye and Barley on the Hudson in Tarrytown. The Barley House, 665 Commerce St., Thornwood. Open seven days. Free parking.
The storied towns and trails that make up the Sleepy Hollow area of Westchester are loaded with fables and tales, and there are some venues dotting this landscape along the Hudson River that bring out the best of it. One must undoubtedly be Julia McCue’s popular Horsefeathers along Rt. 9, a pub and restaurant that has been part of the local scene since 1981. You are greeted by a convivial staff ready to serve you. The menu offers a copious selection of more than 100 specialties. The vintage metal topped wooden bar area is lined with cozy mini booths. The larger dining area is highlighted by a large mural depicting a cross-section of our most famous authors from Hemingway to Vonnegut, with readings from each. The Knickerbocker, their hefty 10 oz. burger topped with ‘rolled in’ caramelized onions and horseradish cheddar on a soft bun, is served with hand-cut steak fries. Their Cobb Salad with chicken, cheddar, bacon, tomato, hardboiled egg, croutons is served with a side of blue cheese. A special thumbs up to the restaurant for creating ‘A Moveable Feast’ fundraiser during the height of the pandemic. Proceeds went to help both staff and essential workers in the area. Horsefeathers, 94 N. Broadway, Tarrytown. Open daily for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Free parking in the rear.
Duck Inn, Mamaroneck
Proprietor Paul Collins has been at the helm here for 20 years, but the place has been operating in one form or another for 100. You must have noticed it across from Harbor Island Park on Boston Post Road. The façade is strewn with ducks, there are duck artifacts inside, too. Collins is a duck lover. Housed in what used to be part of the historic George Washington Hotel that used to be along a Pony Express route. It is even said Al Capone ran booze through here during Prohibition. Well, the cozy bar is strewn with memorabilia, and the friendly barkeeps make sharing a brew or two most congenial. Please note, there is no food. You are a short walk from some good eateries. This is an authentic pub where spirited conversation takes center stage. It is just around the corner from the Emelin Theater and the Mamaroneck Library. Duck Inn, 128 W. Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck. 914-835-8791 Currently on Facebook.
Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in greater Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at 914-235-6591 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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