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McGowan Brothers Reopen Skillman Avenue Pub Friday Night

Inside Jack’s Sunnyside Ale House (Photo: QueensPost)

March 21, 2013 By Bill Parry

The long-awaited opening of Jack’s Sunnyside Ale House will take place on Friday night.

The opening represents nearly two-year’s work since the owners closed the pub down—when it was called The Firewater Inn– to renovate it.

“We had hoped to be open in time for the Super Bowl,” said Brian McGowan, who owns the 39-46 Skillman Avenue bar along with his two brothers, Jimmy and John. “We almost made St. Patrick’s Day… but at least we’re ready for March Madness.”

There will be nine flat screen TVs placed throughout the bar to cater to sports fans.

However, the pub’s revamp is not over. The bar won’t start its restaurant service until May, nor will its beer garden be open for about two months. The beer garden, when it does open, will feature a large outdoor flat screen so sports fans don’t miss any action.

The Firewater Inn

The Firewater closed for renovation after St. Patrick’s Day in 2011. An architect’s ignorance of the new zoning code delayed the process and securing proper permits took longer than anticipated.

Furthermore, the brothers, all firefighters (John is now retired from the FDNY), decided to take their time to renovate the pub to their liking. “We didn’t want to cut any corners,” Jimmy said.

The McGowan’s changed the name of the bar to honor their late father Jack who opened The Firewater Inn in 1986.

“There’s been a ton of positive feedback from our neighbors and we can’t wait to see all our old friends as well as all the new faces,” Brian said.

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Lorri Matechick

An old friend of Jack and Helene’s back in the day….glad to see the tradition still going…Good luck!


The nightlife in sunnyside has been suffering for years now. Courtyard is the only place that attracts a decent crowd these days but its not much fun. I’ve been to the old Firewater and usually liked it hopefully they will do well


Susan, I hope you are a13 year old kid with a comment like yours…are you kidding me? Lol you shld be embarassed to have posted something so immature-


I was also there last Friday and was a patron of the old firewater and there were so many different faces along with some of our old friends that came to support the bar. The night flowed beautifully with everyone laughing and having a good time- old, young, various races and from all walks of life. if someone wants to be open to meeting new friends a cool, relaxed atmosphere there is no doubt they will have a fun time at this business. with the coming of the spring and the kitchen it will definitely be the place my friends and I choose. Can’t wait for all the fun times to come. Thank you to the mcgowans for working so hard to bring Jack’s back to the community.

Pride of sunnyside

Just want to congratulate the boys. It’s been a long time coming. The bar is beautiful and I’m sure in the next few weeks when everything is finished there will be no turning back.i was at the bar during happy hour last week and the crowd was awesome u had off duty firemen,cops and ironworkeres throwing down beers while singing and laughing about stories of the past. Whoever looked in and saw what they didn’t like shame on you, cause these are the guys that put their lives on the line day in and day out, whether its building high rise buildings or walking the streets of the city.god bless jacks ale house, u guys are the pride of sunnyside!

mr. d

I am looking forward to having a cocktail there. it looks like a lovely place. best of luck to the owners.


Look forward to trying it out. Getting tired of a couple of the bars on Skillman Avenue.

Common sense

Hey Murphy you need to learn how to read a full article. Kitchen and beer garden was not intended on being up and running. Nice one though!

Ellen Diehl

We had a great time, The Mcgowan Brothers did a wonderful job, I am sure Jack is very proud and I know that Helene is too. Looking forward to having good times, we need a place like that in the neighborhood where all the people are very friendly.


We had a great time on Friday nite.A really nice group of people.All ages were there.We sang & we danced & the music was an assortment from DEAN MARTIN to the 50’s into the present. Good Luck & God Bless!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the McGowan brothers did a beautiful job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I am sure your father, Jack, is looking down smiling. I know your mom is happy too.The bartenders worked very hard & they have great people skills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I am looking forward to alot of fun times down there with family & friends.


Brian and Kristen along with Helene and the doggies are my neighbors my wife and I will definitely give it a shot when we get back from Texas. Good luck guys.


I love the line “Didn’t want to cut corners”. Kitchen not ready or Beer Garden. What a joke!


Yes , like we are welcomed at Hispanic bars and club and Romanian bars. Like pio pio chicken place that’s puts a crazy tax on white people’s drinks , is that the type of welcome u mean sully?


well it would be nice if the new renovations bring with it a new/different atmosphere…the firewater never really “welcomed” anyone who wasn’t part of their crowd….and i’m not ” hating” here….just saying i hope the owners are more open minded to our diverse community than in prior years….i wish them well and will definitely try it out…..


Susan and king of queens, stop being haters! It was actually quite a mixed crowd last night. People in their 60’s-mid 20’s. All are welcome and everyone had a great time. Keep your negativity elsewhere.

king of Queens

Sad to say I looked inside and it was the same disgusting crowd as before! if they want to attract a better clientele they need to get rid of the trashy crowd. I would not bring my wife into that place come on McGowan bros you promised a friendly place where all are welcome what I saw was the same crap that used to drink there before.


Same crowd as the Firewater. I guess in a couple of weeks it will be called Wack Sunnyside puke house!

Oppressed Masses

Looks like a great place to watch soccer games and Spanish soap operas with my friends from The Brothers Café.


good luck to these guys.

hopefully they don’t bring back the sign on the outside that read something like “english only. no hats or do-rags.” anybody else notice that a few years back?


Whew, I was beginning to think I’d never find a place to drink in this neighborhood.


Get that Asian bartender in there one night a wknd..brings along a great crowd. I had a blast one she was bar tending.


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