Janet Burt recalled she first went to O’Neill’s, the popular Maspeth bar and restaurant, when she was 19 years old.
So naturally Burt, 54, missed the eatery when she moved to Virginia, and much like the community was distraught to find out about the tragic fire two years ago, which caused O’Neill’s to close until this September.
When Burt heard about the neighborhood bistro’s 80th anniversary, she made sure to make the journey north to celebrate with old friends.
“When I heard about the 80th anniversary I said I had to show,” Burt said. “It’s awesome. It’s so different than it used to be. It was much smaller.”
Since the bar had its grand reopening, owners increased the size, expanded the fine dining menu, and added some more formal and private room space.
Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley hosted a party in one of the private rooms to thank her staff and supporters, before presenting a plaque and proclamation to the restaurant from the City Council for the anniversary Wednesday.
“Everybody knows there was a big fire and it took down the walls, but it could never take down the memory,” Crowley said. “We’re so glad to be here today and celebrate 80 years. O’Neill’s has never looked better.”
Civic leaders and community residents came in droves to O’Neill’s celebration. They congratulated owners, but also enjoyed the special deals.
Because O’Neill’s was founded in 1933, a day after Prohibition was repealed, numerous beers returned to their 10 cent price from that era from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Additionally, four special cocktails were half price.
There were also free roast beef sandwiches, which is an O’Neill’s tradition on Friday nights, and DJ Johnny Guerrero was spinning music that spanned eight decades.
“As you can see by the turnout tonight, the neighborhood is happy we’re back and we’re just looking for another 80 years,” O’Neill’s manager Danny Pyle said.