Category: Archive

Last orders at Eamonn Doran’s Manhattan restaurant

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

The taps are idle, the bar is quiet and the First Friday Club is homeless.

Eamonn Doran’s, one of New York’s best known Irish hostelries, closed its doors with little fanfare last week after months of speculation surrounding the future of a business that was for many a near-sacred institution.

Speculation about the future of the bar/restaurant, a focal point of both day and night life on Manhattan’s Second Avenue, has been virtually constant since the death of popular publican Eamonn Doran in March 1997.

In recent months much of the speculation centered on the intentions of hardball property developer Harry Macklowe, who owns the block between 52nd and 53rd Street where Doran’s was located.

But in the end it seems that structural problems and the prospect of a new lease negotiation were enough to persuade owner Claire Doran that it was time to call last orders.

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"I’m stunned, we’re all stunned. We’re now a lost tribe," Terry Moran, co-founder and convenor of the First Friday Club, told the Echo.

The First Friday Club is a loose-knit group of Irish and Irish Americans, a number of them writers and journalists, which has convened for lunch at Doran’s on the first Friday of every month since 1977, the year Doran’s opened. Frank and Malachy McCourt are two of the more prominent members of the club.

The club was formed in 1972 and met periodically for several years at P.J. Moran’s. When that establishment closed, several new ones were tried before Doran’s became a permanent home.

The last First Friday gathering at Doran’s was on Sept. 10, a week late because of Labor Day. None present knew of the looming calamity.

According to Moran, the next gathering of the club is set for Friday, Oct. 1, at another popular midtown venue, Langan’s.

"After that, we’ll see what we’ll do," Moran said.

The late Eamonn Doran was so successful that he was able to sell his name as a franchise. There are two other bar/restaurants bearing the name in New York, while London and Paris were being considered for expansion at the time of Doran’s death. The family itself still runs an Eamonn Doran’s in Dublin’s fashionable Temple Bar district.

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