August 17, By Christian Murray
When Bar 43 & Grill opened in May 2008 many thought it would fail.
It moved into a location where many bars had come and gone—off the beaten track of Queens Boulevard and Skillman Avenue.
But six years later, the bar—located at 43-06 43rd Street—is expanding. It is taking over the 500 square foot space next door to it that was previously occupied by the Sunnyside Meat Market, a European butcher shop, which moved to 43-10 43rd Avenue earlier this year.
The gut-renovation of the old butcher shop began last week and the addition should be completed by November.
The bar, which is about 1,000sqf today, currently has about 55-60 seats indoors, with an additional 20 outside. However, with the average customer staying at the pub for 2 ½ hours the place often gets packed.
The bar, however, wasn’t an overnight success when it opened and the owners Nick Murphy and Mickey McCreesh continued to change the formula in order to get it right.
When the bar opened, the establishment was more of a party hangout, where the focus was on drinking and music. However, that dynamic changed when the kitchen opened about six months later and people came to eat and drink.
“We opened the kitchen since many party places can be the ‘it’ bar for a while and then go out of favor,” Murphy said. “Our goal was to be a casual hangout where we could appeal to everyone.”
When the kitchen opened, the bar initially focused on offering higher-end traditional Irish food. However, they decided to move toward offering American bistro—placing a lot of attention on burgers, sandwiches, chicken wings, salads and nachos—which sports fans and casual diners enjoy. About two years ago, the owners then struck a deal to sell Atomic Wings.
“While people come here to watch sports, we have made an effort to appeal to everyone,” Murphy said. “We have outdoor dining, weekend brunch and events such as Trivia Nights.”
“It’s a place where you will often see parents bringing their children,” he said.
However, for the hard core beer drinker, Murphy created a beer club and also doubled the number of beers on tap—to 32—bringing on a slew of craft beers.
“The craft beer world has exploded,” Murphy said, who said the bar initially offered the standard beers on tap such as Guinness, Bass, Stella, Bud and Coors when it first opened.
The addition is likely to add a significant amount of seating—since a large portion of the bar’s existing space is used for stairs, a bathroom, doorway and the bar area.
“The space for our customers right now is about 450 square feet…so we are essentially doubling that,” Murphy said.
Murphy estimates that the bar will have about 95-100 seats after the addition, with about 30 seats outside.
The number of TVs is likely to double, too—from 10 to 20.
The bar will only need to close for a week during construction, since the old butcher shop will be completely revamped before the wall separating the two spaces is smashed down to connect them.
Murphy said the bar will essentially be the same just bigger when the job is done.
“The look and feel will not change,” he said.