We’ve heard of man bites dog, how about Irishman opens British pub?
Well this is a Cock and Bull story in some sense.
Although his plans are raising a few eyebrows, Kevin Hynes, a Dubliner, plans to open Cock & Bull, a British gastro-pub, in the middle of New York.
Speaking at the Irish America Hall of Fame event this week, one of the inductees, Tom Moran, CEO of Mutual of America and philanthropist, said the fact that his friend, Hynes, has decided to open this pub near Times Square shows how “times in Ireland have changed”.
Hynes was raised in the Irish pub business. His father, Dessie Hynes, owned O’Donoghue’s and Hynes pubs on Bagott Street, Dublin, and his brother Tony owned Russell’s in Ranelagh. He’s also no stranger to the Irish pub trade in New York, having worked at Rosie O’Grady’s and the Glass House Tavern, Irish-owned establishments in midtown Manhattan.
However, the Dubliner decided that a British gastro-pub was the business concept that would work in Manhattan. He doesn’t deny that there has been a great deal of “eye-rolling” since he made the decision.
Speaking to IrishCentral he said, “A few people’s eyes roll when they hear it’s a British pub but there are a lot of young Irish guys in the city who are involved in British concept places like pie businesses.”
He continued, “When my friend Tom Moran gives me grief about it I was saying, ‘It’s because of you and Bill Flynn and all the great work of the Peace Process, now I’ve got to push it further.’ It’s the next step forward.
“We’re looking at Cock & Bull as a restaurant and a business concept. We’re trying to do something a little different.”
Hynes said that putting a Union Jack flag outside the pub is a big deal but he said his final decision was made by the fact that if it was an Italian restaurant he would have put a flag up.
The fact that he had decided to go with the business concept of a British gastro-pub meant he had to be prepared to make it work, Union Jack and all. He added, “If you’re going to go with a concept you have to go with it…It is called the Cock and Bull so it’s tongue and cheek an Irish guy opening it, but the name is also an old British pub name.
IrishCentral asked Hynes why, being a Dubliner, he had decided to go with the British pub concept. He explained “When it came to opening a place in New York I looked at all the concepts like Italian, Irish, and a load of others but this seemed to be the one that would work best in the city. There are many British coming over here all the time on holiday and living here and it’s a concept that works.
“In the recent past in New York, English gastro-pubs like the Spotted Pig and the Breslin have really taken off and I’ve been really impressed with them.”
So despite the jibes and glares he might get from surprised Irish walking under the Union Jack, Hynes is following in a growing trend of British style pubs, with excellent food, in New York.