The staff of Donohue’s on New York’s Upper East Side received a surprising gift from long-time customer, Robert Ellsworth, following his death in May. The millionaire art collector left the bar a massive “thank you” in the form of a generous $100,000 tip.

Run by an Irish-American family with County Galway roots, the bar was a favorite of Ellsworth’s. He frequented it at least four times a week, returning time and time again for his grilled cheese sandwich or omelet for lunch, and steak for dinner.

The millionaire left $50,000 to Donohue’s owner Maureen Donohue-Peters (53) and another $50,000 to her niece Maureen Barrie (28), who works at the bar as a waitress one night a week.

Ellsworth, 85, who recently passed away following a fall, knew the bar's owner since she was a little girl.

"The man was witty and fun,” Donohue told the Independent. “He knew me when I was in diapers, so there's a whole history there. To me, he was Bob. He wasn't Mr. Ellsworth, this big guy."

"I got a call from his office and they said Mr Ellsworth had left me something. Then a lady came in and she showed me the paperwork. I was shocked – I didn't expect anything."

Donohue-Peters says she plans to upgrade her boat with the unexpected windfall.

Image: 1871 House/Facebook

Image: 1871 House/Facebook

The Lexington Avenue bar has also played host to other famous faces, although the bar focuses on maintaining its home-like atmosphere.

"Bruce Springsteen has been in, as well as Jimmy Fallon and Gabriel Byrne. I didn't talk to Bruce too much, I really didn't know it was him. Then all of a sudden he got up to leave and came over to talk to me and I was like, 'Woah, that's who he is'," Donohue-Peters said.

"Going here is like coming home to family. It doesn't matter what you do or what you make," she added.


* Originally published in 2015.

One New York Irish bar receive a surprising tip.Getty Images