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‘Bar Rescue’ Draws Hundreds to Sunnyside, As Many Look to Check Out the New Jack’s Ale House

Photo: QueensPost

Aug. 30, 2014 By Christian Murray

Hundreds of fans lined Skillman Avenue Friday night waiting to get inside the revamped Jack’s Ale House and become part of the Spike TV reality show Bar Rescue.

The fans waited until 11 pm to be get inside, where they were greeted to several TV cameras and cheers from the three McGowan brothers–John, Jimmy and Brian– who own the establishment.

Bar Rescue, a show starring the hard-charging nightlife expert Jon Taffer, helps troubled bars come back from the brink.

Taffer and his crew revamped the 39-46 Skillman Avenue bar in recognition of the firefighting background of the McGowan brothers—all three of whom are current or former firefighters.

The establishment is now called Jack’s Fire Dept and the exterior resembles a firehouse—complete with the name: “Lad Co. 39-46 NY.” Inside, the front of a fire engine juts out from the wall accentuating the theme. Furthermore, there is firefighting equipment and various motifs placed throughout the bar.

The name “Jack” remains, since the name is in honor of the McGowan brothers’ late father.

Taffer unveiled the do-over to the McGowan brothers—and family—at about 7:30 pm after he gave them a pep talk in preparation of the night (see photo below). The family screamed with excitement when they opened the doors to the bar and noticed the transformation.

Many people showed up to support the McGowans. For instance,  firefighters from FDNY’s Ladder Company 161 parked outside the the bar for 30 minutes to celebrate the occasion. Many who lined up outside were family friends.

More than 500 people waited in line to get in last night. The line went from the corner of Skillman and 40th Street all the way to 39th Place, before wrapping around the corner.

Once inside, the production company was strict about letting anyone take photos—particularly of Taffer.

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87 Comments

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Susan from Memphis

Since my husband and I travel to NYC frequently, when we saw the Bar Rescue show it put Jack’s on our radar. While we were in NYC for the holidays we traveled to Queens to check it out ourselves. Great experience. The locals were there singing along with the juke box, the guys started to show up for the game on TV, the food was good, atmosphere a expected. Perfect neighborhood bar!

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Sparky

big party at Jack’s today!
Arizona State Alums and Notre Dame Alums will be watching the 3:30 kickoff!
Sun Devils in Sunnyside!!!

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43rd & 43rd

Wow, interesting choice. People were already complaining it was too insular and cliquey, so they made it super heavily themed to a specific group. It was an easy gimmick to go with, I’m sure it looks good on TV, but not sure how it will work out. I guess instead of courting different Sunnysiders, they’re hoping to attract firefighters from all across the city. Good luck with that.

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jay

So if a bar is themed (which many are to some extent) than they are doomed? that doesnt make any sense. firefighters aren’t the only ones who enjoy the decor of a place like this. its exciting and refreshing. red lobster is a seafood themed place, fridays had its own vibe with the decor, and on and on. People enjoy going someplace different. And I’m sure this family, having aired their personal struggles on TV are ready for a good change and are embracing something very personal to them. personal investment into your own business is the best way to be happy, and deliver that happiness to the patrons. i wish them the best success and happiness.

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Krissi

I used to go to Jack’s about once a week and never felt this sort of attitude from the staff or patrons. Everyone’s been very warm and welcoming, like most of my Sunnyside experiences.

I really have no idea where the trolls/crazy people are on this site come from.

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Sunnyside_Native

Good luck and God bless to the McGowan family! I cannot believe some of the comments here. I used to frequent Firewater, and the crowd was always a regular old time neighborhood crew. There’s nothing wrong with that! What a great feeling to walk into a bar and have people know your name. The trouble with the new neighborhood folk is that they don’t really like us very much! Skillman Avenue has changed, but if you’re looking for hipsterish, stick to Williamsburg!

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Garfield

Jon, you haven’t fed me in two days and I think Odie’s dead. He swallowed his tongue and I was too stricken with hunger and ennui to help him. Can you just drop the petty gripe and get back to looking after me? PLEASE??

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Jon

UPDATE
Got a email back from mayors office of film and tv.
About taking photos.
It reads:

“Thank you for your email. I will address your complaint with the production company so they can educate their staff. I appreciate you taking the time to bring this to our attention.

Best,

Stephanie Argamaso
Production and Event Coordinator
Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting”

Just show the production know are just a bunch of jerks.

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Dave

The bottom line is Taffer was brought in like he always is to save people that get into this business but don’t have any idea how it works. You can’t blame the old guard about being in there. Blame the ownership for letting it happen.
If you don’t have experience in a particular field your not going to learn it in a week from a know it all on tv.

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Hoping for the best

To all of you who say it was doing fine the way it was you are dead WRONG they are probably in The Red or why would they bother going calling on Jon Taffer. The truth is the Old Guard discouraged the new neighborhood folks from going I have been in there twice for wine tasting last year and I thought that was a good idea. I went back and what did I see an almost empty bar with FAT DUDES sitting around yelling there outdated Racist, homophobic and sexist remarks. The world has changed guys either change with it or your business will die. Get rid of that crowd and your business will expand by leaps and bounds. Let these outdated fools run the bar and you will face extinction I will be there Saturday with my wife to see what the crowd will be like. The McGowan brothers are okay I only know Brian well and his lovely wife Kristen and of course the matriarch Helene they are really nice and welcoming they just need to extend that out to the rest of the good people of Sunnyside. And before anyone says anything I came from Working Class roots and respect those folks a whole lot what I don’t respect is the childish outdated comments.

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doc

Folks please remember the response to any douche bag PA that tells you to move, be quiet or get out of our “shot” is f–koff or I’ll shove that clipboard up your a$$. These a-holes need to remember that they are guests in our neighborhood, we are not guests on their set.

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Ant

@a.bidge you’re a [email protected]@kin troll…the local bunch is what made this place and will keep it in business…please leave Sunnyside you interloping piece of trash…go back to Culdasackia, Wisconsin or wherever the f&ck you’re from…

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Woodside Warrior

@JIMMY MAC — I’m excited for the new opening. Hopefully you can get rid of some of that tacky TV stuff on the patio. All in all, you guys had a great vibe before and it’s going to be even better now!

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El loco

Enough with this non-sense already. This is booooooooooooooooring! Isn’t there anything more interesting going on in this neighborhood.

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Aloha

@aiden sorry you had a rough childhood in da bronx here’s an Air Hug for ya. You are right that everyone is entitled to their opinion but you should know ,being an ADA,not to judge a group by a few bad apples. I’ll still be there on Friday night in the Hawaiian shirt so come on in and we can discuss or we can resolve our differences on the Jacked up challenge or a few drinks. If Bar Rescue can get the MacGowan Brothers to get along than anything is possible.

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WeLiveHere

Looking forward to the new Jack’s.
Pretty nuts that this message board is so cray!

Lots of nice business old and new in Sunnyside – stinkeye from the longtime residents aside. But that stuff never bothered me. Stinkeye frm the locals in East Harlem, the same from the locals when I lived in the south.

Some people and born in a place and stay there, other people move around. People look for an affordable place to raise kids and learn to love a place like Sunnside.

To the people that don’t say hello cuz they u assume I’m something I’m not – they’ll be gone before too long. Folks in Sunnyside smoke and drink like fools. And litter from what I’ve seen. But it’s all good. All good in the hood. My good.

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pride of sunnyside

GRAND OPENING is this friday hope to see you all!!!! Thankyou all for showing your support

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CHRISTINA

FORGIVE THE WEIRD HOMOPHOBIC RANT FROM EARLIER …… CAFFE BENE WAS GIVING OUT FREE FRAPPES THIS MORNING ME A BAD PERSON ME
DRANK TOO MANY…

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Concerned Hipster

I don’t know about youse, but woolly hats keep your head warm in the winter and have been scientifically proven to be quite effective in combating hypothermia. My Vivienne Westwood beanie shrank in the wash last year, but it’s no thing. I bought a replacement from Rainbow’s for £3.49. A hat’s a hat is a warm hat.

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Kathy Anderson

Can’t wait to see the new Jacks Fire Dept… Haven’t people heard if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all … . Omg
If you don’t like the location or the people in it don’t go there.
The McGowan’s are trying to keep something very special to them around for not only themselves but everyone to come and have a good time. Good luck to all involved and hope to be there soon… I will def need a drink after reading some of these comments…some people are so rude!!!!

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Be Positive

Is it too tough to just say: good luck to the McGowan family who are known to be community minded?
Is it too tough to say: thanks for bringing some excitement to the neighborhood and bringing us nationwide attention?
Is it too tough to say: Thanks for being part of the show…your bar looks fantastic, which helps our neighborhood look better too?

Maybe it’s easier being a negative troll. Look forward to checking the place out.

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Rick Duro

The McGowans are good folks, olde school Sunnyside! A family of people that have put their lives on the line for the people of our great city. I wish them all the best for the new bar!

Rick Duro
SUDS

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Luis

Nothing but love for the McGowans they are my neighbors we have lived 3 doors from them for 14 years and they have always been stand up people and they love animals like us so what’s not to like. We missed Friday Night’s festivities too many tools wanting to be on TV! my wife and I will be there once they re-open.

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Aiden

Oh Aloha Grow up! everyone is entitled to there opinion and it’s Jackasses like you that keep the people out of Jack’s. by the way I am an ADA in DA Bronx who grew up in the South Bronx and believe me you are nothing compared to what i dealt with growing up. I will be there make sure you are PUNK!

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Regular Joe

So you’re from The Bronx? Great! Why don’t you move back up there and patronize the neighborhood bars instead of trying to lecture us Sunnyside natives about how we should treat the hoards of newly arrived hipsters, yuppies, and Manhattan Rent Refugees?

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a.bidge

@ Christina – stand up comic sounds right, you’ve certainly made me laugh with your verbal diarrhea. I’m no hipster, you can keep your woolly hats. Your jumping to assumption is ridiculous, who says I wasn’t here 10 years ago?! You think you are the only long term resident? The difference between you and I is that I understand area’s need to evolve or die, where as you dinosaurs want to stay in the past. I’m as working class as any of you loud mouths, I don’t live in a $2mil apt, and certainly never had a nanny. I guess I just have class, where as you clearly just have volume and asshole opinions.

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My new spot

I walked by and had a chance to see the new place. It was just amazing. The 2 brothers explained it was closed so the staff could properly be trained on drinks and new service system that was installed. They also need a little time to order food and spirits since it was so busy and is a holiday weekend so deliveries were just about impossible. I seen the menu and was given a walk through and fell In love w/ it. I can’t wait til it’s open and good luck guys. I got a nice vibe from these guys!

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Bornandraised

@a.bidge I was very careful when I called you a tool. I don’t use that word loosely.
It’s kinda obvious.

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Arleen

Jack’s looks really nice. The firehouse decor is & looks beautiful !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Wish the McGowans great success & they have alot of family & friends wishing them the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good Luck & GOD BLESS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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a.bidge

@aloha – I’d love nothing more than to come down there and discuss my opinions with you, however, I’ve tried these discussions in sunnyside before and all I can say is that thick skin is hard to penetrate. To clarify, I don’t know if you are a classless jerk or not, I said that the bar is full of them and I stand by that, whether you are one or not, is on you.

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CHRISTINA

AND IF YOU SEE SOMEONE WALKING THE STREETS OF SUNNYSIDE THAT SAYS “YUPPIES GO HOME” OR “NATIVES DONT SIT UNDER THE 7 TRAIN” THATS ME. COME AND SAY HELLO 🙂

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CHRISTINA

& TOMMY, I WAS THINKING THE SAME THING!!! LOL…. & A.BIDGE, C’MON DOWN FOR A DRINK. IM SURE YOU WILL BE THE GUY WEARING THE WOOL HAT & SCARF IN 80 DEGREE WEATHER!!! HAHAHAHAHA…. & A DIFF PERSPECTIVE, LET ME TELL YA SOMETHING – YOU GUYS WOULD HAVE BEEN WELCOMED WITH OPEN ARMS, BUT THE BOTTOM LINE IS, 10 YEARS AGO – YOU WOULD HAVE TURNED UP YOUR NOSES AT LIVING IN QUEENS! BUT WHEN 2008 HIT, YOU ALL DIDNT KNOW WHETHER TO SHIT OR GO BLIND, SO YOU HAD TO DOWNGRADE. AND YOU’S (YES – “YOU’S”) WERENT EVEN PRACTICAL ABOUT IT. INSTEAD OF PACKING YOUR SHIT AND MOVING OUT OF MANHATTAN TO AN AFFORDABLE HOUSE ON LONG ISLAND OR JERSEY, YOU BUILD 2 MILLION DOLLAR apartment RIGHT UP THE BLOCK FROM THE QUEENSBRIDGE PROJECTS!!! REAL SMART. I GUESS YOUR NANNIES DIDNT TEACH YOU ABOUT BEING PRACTICAL. SO ANYWAYS, BECAUSE OF YOUR SHALLOW ASSES, WE HAVE LOST MANY STORES TO HIGHER PRICED RENTS, WE HAVE LOST THE FIVE POINTS BUILDING IN L.I.C BECAUSE IT WAS AN EYE SORE FOR YOUR HIGH FALUTENT ASSES, WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH 50 DIFFERENT BRANDS OF ORGANIC everyfuckinthing INVADING OUR SHELVES IN OUR SUPERMARKETS (take your blue terra chips and shove ’em up your ass!), YOU GOT RID OF MY HALAL MAN UNDER THE 7 TRAIN BECAUSE YOUR ASSES WERE TOO FAGGY TO EAT FOOD FROM A CART (BUT YOU’LL SIT UNDER THE 7 TRAIN WHERE PIGEONS CAN SHIT ON YOU – GENIUS!!!) YOU DONT OWN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, YOU NEVER WILL. THE NATIVES ARENT GOING ANYWHERE. GET WITH THE PROGRAM. & BTW – I AM A STAND UP COMIC, THANK YOU FOR ALL THE MATERIAL, THAT ONLY “YOU’S” CAN PROVIDE!!! HAHAHAHA!

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Anonymous visitor

Problem is the old time neighbors don’t own shit. They are in their crappy rat filled rent controlled apartments. How does it feel to walk into a building every day after work that stinks of roach spray!! enjoy your miserable life trying to get by like it was 1960.

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Kiki McG

We wish the McGowan family all the best on the revamp of Jack’s Ale House. The comments on this article make me sick. If you have something against this establishment then don’t go? The McGowan’s are a good family and should be supported by the locals of Sunnyside and not bashed. Yes the neighborhood is changing, but people (like myself) who were born and raised here know the true Sunnyside before this hipster shit started. I’m proud that there is still a local owned stronghold still in the hood and that will remain there for years to come. Like it was said in earlier comments…if you don’t like it then get the EF outta here!!!

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McGowan Girl

Hey everyone! We would like to start off with thank you to all who came out on Friday night for the relaunch! What a night it was!!
I would like to also inform everyone that we will be closed for a few days to get everything in order… Although we had a soft opening for the show on Friday night, all bars that go through this process close for a few days after to finish the renovation and get all workers fully trained! Sorry if you came by last night to get your peek, but just a few more days and #JacksFireDept. will be up and ready for football season!! Thank you again!

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Aloha

@a.bidge,@aiden Im a US Army Vet, A 9/11 volunteer and an Ironworker who grew up in Sunnyside but according to you Im a classless jerk?? Well if you have the testicular fortitude I invite both of you down next Friday night for drinks and we can discuss like men your posts. I’ll be the guy in a Hawaiian shirt. Hope to see you there and if not then I guess you’re a wanna be tough guys with a keyboard and a tool

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Cliff

Went there once and was stared at because I was a little let’s just say on the Dark side. They were not welcoming even the bartender was not thrilled I was there.I hope they get rid of the trash that used to go there because that’s the only way they will make it. Sunnyside is no longer that White Working Class neighborhood from years gone by it’s diverse and people of all types should be welcomed in the Bar. I am going to try it again with my buddies and this time I hope we are more welcomed than before. I am willing to give it another shot I hope they are willing to change there attitudes. I wish them nothing but luck.

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a.bidge

@christina – well done, you’ve managed to join the ranks of keyboard warrior txxt and make at least 2 utterly incorrect assumptions in one post, well done moron. I’ve been in sunnyside a long time, I live AND work here, I have no trust fund, and have never lived in Manhattan. I work HARD for my money and care about my hood, that’s why the jerks that frequent the bars piss me off, there’s a real asshole attitude in sunnyside, the dinosaurs that refuse to die (or move to fl) feel like they own the place and give everyone else attitude. Just because I’m not an over opinionated loud mouthed blue collar asshole, it doesn’t mean I should have some txxt look down on me. I’ll be here in sunnyside when you lot are priced out, so how do you like that Christina, “hurts doesn’t it”!

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marilyn

Went by the night of the unveiling and stood on the side street watching with a friend. First some production kid tells us not take pictures although we weren’t. I informed him that my friend and I weren’t taking pics and that we don’t have the capacity to do so..moron just blinked at us. Next moron who must have been security told us we couldn’t stand on the sidewalk. I told him that we could and he then asked why? I informed him that I LIVE HERE! He repeated what I said to his cell phone and walked away. I am happy for the bar owners but between the crew and all the kids from outside of Sunnyside who stood on line, this was not pleasant.

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Woodside Warrior

This post is getting out of control! SHUT THIS PLACE DOWN! YOU GUYS ARE DYSFUNCTION AND THERE’S NO COMMUNICATION!

WE HAVE TO RENOVATE EVERYTHING AND REOPEN IN THREE DAYS WITH A WHOLE NEW LOOK AND NEW MENU!

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a different perspective

It would benefit all Sunnyside residents to have this bar do well. However, if the owners/management revert back to their previous behavior-and embrace an atmosphere that makes residents feel unwelcome-then it’s doomed.
Let’s hope this makeover was a real wake up call to the McGowan brothers that their way wasn’t working.
It’s time everyone here just accept the fact that Sunnyside is changing. New residents=new opportunities.
That doesn’t mean the old-school “blue collar” perspective needs to fade away; it just means that the “locals” need to be open to welcoming new faces.
Only time will tell.
I am curious as to how Sunnyside will be positioned as a neighborhood in the opening of the show.
I anticipate the “younger working Manhattan crowd” will be referenced more than once.
As it should be! That’s the new Sunnyside.

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Kramden's Delicious Marshall

These obnoxious punks on the production crew are full of baloney. If you’re on a public street and you want to take photos, you have the right.

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CHRISTINA

A.BIDGE, YOURE a jackass. YOURE PROBABLY ONE OF THE YUPPY HIPSTERS (A.K.A. MANHATTAN RENT REFUGEES) THAT HAVE RECENTLY MOVED INTO our NEIGHBORHOOD!!! & GUESS WHAT? WHEN YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE – ITS THOSE”BLUE COLLARS” THAT ARE GONNA SAVE YOUR ASS. THE McGOWANS WORK FOR THEIR MONEY…. THEY ARE NOT TRUST FUND BABIES LIKE YOURSELF AND SO MANY OTHERS THAT HAVE MOVED IN. WHEN YOU CANT AFFORD THE UPPER EAST SIDE ANYMORE, LOSE THE PRETENTIOUS ATTITUDE. YOURE ONE OF THE 99% NOW…. IT HURTS, DOESNT IT ? WELL, EMBRACE IT – OR GET OUT.

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Taffer

It finally happened. One of the veins in my forehead exploded. I shouldn’t have had that last jalapeño shot.

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Garfield

jon has become so embittered at his lack of a love life that he’s taken to filling out all kinds of forms on the nyc.gov website. Pay him no heed. I need lasagna.

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a.bidge

@born and raised – my comment was edited (badly) by the admin. I basically said I hope the local undesired stays away. So watch who you are calling a tool. This place was a nice bar but it was filled with jerks. I’m not sure it’s any better now, so they’ve made it firehouse themed, how ‘original’, I stand by my original comment, decent space, shame about some of the idiots using it.

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Westside Bernie

I WON THE JACKED UP GRILLED CHEESE CHALLENGE LAST NIGHT BUT MY FARTS COST ME MY MARRIAGE!!! WAAAHH!!

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Tommy

It 39-46 not 39-36 who the hell wrote this article and they can’t even get the address right. BEST OF LUCK to the McGowan family!!!

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CHRISTINA

A.BIDGE, YOURE AN ASSHOLE. YOURE PROBABLY ONE OF THE YUPPY HIPSTERS (A.K.A. MANHATTAN RENT REFUGEES) THAT HAVE RECENTLY MOVED INTO our NEIGHBORHOOD!!! & GUESS WHAT? WHEN YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE – ITS THOSE”BLUE COLLARS” THAT ARE GONNA SAVE YOUR ASS. THE McGOWANS WORK FOR THEIR MONEY…. THEY ARE NOT TRUST FUND BABIES LIKE YOURSELF AND SO MANY OTHERS THAT HAVE MOVED IN. WHEN YOU CANT AFFORD THE UPPER EAST SIDE ANYMORE, LOSE THE PRETENTIOUS ATTITUDE. YOURE ONE OF THE 99% NOW…. IT HURTS, DOESNT IT ? WELL, EMBRACE IT – OR GET THE FUCK OUT.

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Regular Joe

Amen, Christina! I am so sick of hipsters, yuppies, and MRRs (Manhattan Rent Refugees) such as “a.bidge” moving into our neighborhood and casting aspersions about the long time blue collar residents who stayed during the bad times and kept it from becoming a ghetto. The McGowan Family has worked harder, and given more to this city and this community, than any of you judgmental, snot-nosed punks ever will. Please do us all a big favor and stay at your overpriced “high class” bars in Manhattan and in Williamsburg. Better yet, go back to Ohio, or Indiana, or wherever it is that you scumbags originally came from.

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lilat

So awesome to see awesome things happen to people who deserve it! Always a friendly group with great service and yummy drinks. Also one of the only bars generous enough to give buy backs. Some of the stuffier bars in the area could take a lesson from this family, that welcomes everyone as family.

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Grace

jon
GO FOR IT my man, you got every right to take pictures, it’s a public street and screw them all, Not that you will get anywhere with that complaint, that’s a different story, mayor’s office gets paid very well by these film crews so no way they’ll put your complain before their $$$$ interests like they always have been.

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Enough Negativity

Blue collar!!!! Since when is Sunnyside above this. Working class builds your city, saves your life, teaches your children….and knows the meaning of loyalty. Our husbands have been blessed to still be close with their childhood friends and as wives we’ve been fortunate to really enjoy each other’s company. Not many people can say the same. We celebrate weddings, births, vacation and keep our spirits up when life brings us loss. Jack’s looks amazing, Bar Rescue crew was awesome; there’s plenty of room for everyone. Well maybe not the negative ninnies on here. Some people are just never happy. Maybe they don’t have great friends ;). All the best to the McGowans for a prosperous future. Love you guys.

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Sunnysider

You can’t rush perfection! This will be the biggest Icon in Sunnyside. You don’t have anything nice to say move the “F” out of the neighborhood!!! B.Q.

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Cheekie

Yes, it’s a neighborhood bar, but when did people in Sunnyside get so stuck-up? Must not have grown-up here.

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jon

i was told i couldn’t take photos from the north side of skillman of the place around 7. dion some pa for spike tv told me i couldn’t i said i was in public and i could. he said they have a permit. yes for the south side of skillman not the north. i made a complant to the mayor’s office of film and tv.
http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mailfilmcom.html

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KB

The film crews have no right to tell you not to shoot pictures or video. I work in the film business for the last 15 yrs. Started as a PA and now in Transpo. You can take any pics you want as long as you are not in a closed off set. Reality TV shows have the lowest budgets and really don’t care about the neighborhoods they shoot in. where as the tv and film shoots want to come back again and don’t want to piss of the neighbors if they can help it.

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Born and raised

@a.bidge – when you say “let’s hope the local bunch stay away this time,” you do realize that you’re exposing yourself as being a complete tool, right?

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jess

They.are closed for a fee more days because the remodel is not 100% complete and they need to finish. Worth the wait, though. New signature drinks and food are absolutely delicious! McGowans are a great family of people, couldn’t be happier for them.

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Aiden

the Bar is always filled or unfilled with the same classless crowd. went to check it out tonight and it was closed hopefully it will stay that way.

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WOW

Herb go back to ohio with your tight pants and beard. You people make me sick you come to New York and then front like you have been here all your lives. That was a stupid thing to say blue collar workers like cops will be the ones helping you when you go sight seeing in brooklyn and you end up getting your camera taken.

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ahmmm

Yes, they were very strict about taking pics. They chased me and the kids away during this scene. 🙁

Reply

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