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New Owner Takes Over Old Bar, with Plans to Freshen it Up

Jason Spratt, new owner (Photo: SunnysidePost)

April 14, 2014 By Christian Murray

The Leitrim House, one of this neighborhood’s oldest bars located at 45-06 48th Ave., was sold last month and the new owner has plans to renovate it.

Jason Spratt, who is taking over the establishment, will be renaming it “The Jar” and aims to bring in a new crowd as well as make life-long Sunnysiders and Woodsiders feel at home.

The bar, which was established in 1933 as Ryan’s, has had a number of different owners and names over the years. It has catered to generations of Sunnyside and Woodside residents.

However, Spratt, who is from Ireland, also wants to bring in a younger generation.

He said he wants to change the exterior and make it more inviting. He has other modest changes in mind.

“I need to walk a fine line, since many of the existing customers are sensitive about it changing too much,” Spratt said.

He said that it is important that the establishment retains it gritty dive bar feel, complete with the pool table and dart board.

Spratt, who doesn’t like to talk about himself, wants his “dive bar” to continue to maintain its weathered look and be “a place where you feel comfortable… no matter how you look or what you do.”

Spratt said that the bar currently sells domestic pints for between $3.50 and $4.00. “We are not paying Queens Blvd rent so we can keep prices low,” he said.

Spratt said that he welcome ideas from residents as to how to make the bar more inviting and vibrant.

“I will be interested to see what comments I get,” he said.”I’m sure there will be people who will say this place should not exist or should never have been born,” he said.”Anyway, it makes for great entertainment.”

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53 Comments

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claudale

The emerald club stayed open all night on the weekends in the 90s.

Does anyone remember the name of the other bar on the same side of that block?

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Bill D

Good old neighborhood bar.Hey! Good Old Neighborhood Bar.Not a bad name.Better than The Jar. Sounds like they’re selling pickles

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IWasHereFirst

Went there last week and noticed the patio was being renovated, definitely necessary. The [new] name is not great, but the facade has been given a face lift and is more appealing.
here’s an idea… lets not have another Irish bar in Sunnyside. Show BPL Football on weekends, but not have a sports bar. Truly, everything inside should be thrown out. Totally gutted. Painted, Cleaned, re-lit, and freshened. out with the old, in with the new. Give us a place to hang out, not another stop on the St. Patrick’s Day bar hop. Variety will sell to the new crowd in the ‘hood. Agreed, some fresh bartenders would be a good idea. As for the crappy beer tap selection mentioned above, ugh. 1 or 2 crap beers, OK. But give the rest of us something we can drink.. IPA, decent Lager, European imports, Boddingtons, etc. Keeping the prices low and fair, a must. I will not pay 5+ dollars for a tap beer… this is not Manhattan. Why does Queens Boulevard think thats a good idea? Or Skillman Ave? such a shame. Beer costs pennies.
I will say, the older crowd (working and guests) were pleasant enough. However, its the younger crowd coming in that will define this establishment… or not.

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Mary Russell

Moved in 1969 but The Emerald Club was where my folks hung out with all their friends. Fond memories of “Uncle” Jimmy (dishwasher, I think) the Nelligans, and, of course, my parents, Rita & Bill Loughran. They would refer to The Emerald Club as “Ryan’s”, but I always called it by its name. It’s been a LONG time since I visited the old neighborhood, but I loved my childhood in the Mets and I loved the people in that bar with all my heart. I would love to stop in and have a drink after having been chased from the bar where only the grow ups were allowed. I’m 57 years old now, and smile when I think of that place. Best of luck with The Jar!! The spirit of many will be smiling on your success!!

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G-on44th&48th

I live right off of 48th Ave and agree it’s been cleaned up for the most part. Every once in a while I hear a loud drunk walking down my street and once I heard a gang of girls fighting early in the morning over on 47th Street but I haven’t had any issues jogging or walking around those streets and hope South Sunnyside continues to improve. Jar Bar looks like a great place to go and I hope they eventually get some food options happening on 48th Ave; it’s so close to Qns-B and just far enough from the noise! The Greek church on 44th and 48th Ave is no longer there and the building may be for sale…this would make for an amazing beer garden for any investor-hopefully this doesn’t turn into another apartment building!! For those of you who think this is Woodside it’s not, Woodside is on the other side of the cemetery along 58th Street.

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sunnysidenostalgia

all I can say is living here 20 years, I forgot that bar existed.
also the druggies from what I remember came from those barbershops that are not there anymore (YAY!)

In addition SUNNYSIDE POST, can you do something about that corner store on 46St & 48Ave. I’m very concerned and the new “pharmacy” opening by the same intersection looks very sketchy.

Living here my whole life I’ve seen this neighborhood in its highs and lows but I think now its just lows. It has been for a long time.

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Concerned Hipster

I say deck out the inside with some reclaimed wood – for an authentic Queens vibe one would be inclined to source this from the Rockaway boardwalk that was destroyed by Sandy. And then the ambience: all I can say is “Edison, Edison, Edison”, people! Get those old timey bulbs and stick them anywhere you can. Food should be oysters and forget PBR, the only way to get real estate prices rocketing round here is to stock the bar with artisanal absinthe. And for entertainment, hire a man with a monocle to play Arcade Fire songs on a banjo most Fridays and the place will be pumping!! I’d be there for sure. I’ve been missing this kind of vibe ever since I was forced out of Greenpoint. If I’d known the 7 would be out every weekend I never would have moved here! Never!!!

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dsy

this “bar” is part of my childhood. i cant count how many family party/bbqs have been thrown in here. my 66 y/o aunt is a regular here and many of the long time patrons have known each other for most of their lives. it will always be the emerald pub to them. however, the basic fear here is that the crowd of regular will lose their watering hole to hipsters, yuppie parents and the like.

if you want to help this business, help the community. i lived on 48 ave for 23 years and it barely ever changed aside from quality of life crimes. “cleaning up” the mets consisted of throwing fathers and sons in jail over petty drug offenses while allowing the 108pct to remain corrupt. if you never heard of officer messina- youve got little to nothing to contribute to this conversation.

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allow me to retort

Ditch the awning with the flags on it. The more patriotic-than-thou thing is getting old. There’s already a real flag hanging on the facade.

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Julia Assange

If 48th Avenue has been cleaned up, I am glad to hear it. I remember when it was awful and that especially includes the Mets Houses. It was an open air drug market for a long time and I know of cops who worked in Washington Heights who said the same thing. I hope it was not too little, too late.

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Anonymous

“However, Spratt, who is from Ireland, also wants to bring in a younger generation.”

His plans to make the place more inviting sound good. I wish him the best in taking over the place. But bringing in a younger generation is a big no-no. This neighborhood has had enough of newcomers already.

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Nasty nessa

ooooh it’s woodside not sunnyside, oooohh it’s dirty, oooooooh my ass has a banana in it.

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Oil, Beef, Hooked

Hire some sexy barmaids like the gorgeous red head at Jack’s Ale House, sell 2 dollar PBR’s and 7 dollar pitchers and you have a winner.

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Celticparker

Here’s a great and catchy name for the bar Jason – The Queen’s Arse , think about it. ( You came home in some state last night , where the hell were you ? Sorry Hun – I was up in the Queen’s Arse. Just a thought.

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fed up

celebrate diversity? what exactly does that mean? I do believe that everyone has the rights given to him or her by the constitution. Why then should ‘I” celebrate, be forced to accept, be ostracized because I don’t personally approve of a lifestyle or culture? That’s my right….

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I'm so tired

@sunnysideposthatesme….you shouldn’t be eating out. Your suppose to be saving for the big move ,,, remember !

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Thomster

Agree with some comments above. Get rid of internet jukebox and put old school CD one in with 60’s 70’s classic rock and good Indie/alternative from 80’s 90’s 00’s. At least one pinball machine and a few arcade games Pac Man, Galaga etc. I’ll even volunteer my services for a vinyl night or Trivia or something. Get some local craft brews in and PBR’s…….if you must . Hipster clientele please tone down ironic behaviour and comments.

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South Side Johnny

I don’t think the reference here to the Mets is to the ball team. My impression was some housing on 46th street or something.

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JustPaula

As someone pointed out, it is in Woodside, not Sunnyside. For most of my nine years here, I have lived behind St. Sebastian’s school but I did a six month stint in the building on 48th Ave and 45th Street. Although I have been in quite my share of dives, and like to keep it simple, that place always sort of scared me from the outside so I never went in. Not having ever been inside, the only advice I can give is to make the curb appeal MUCH more inviting. It is a tough stretch over there. I hated walking home from the train at 46th. It is just plain depressing and kind of dirty, unlike most other parts of Sunnyside and Woodside. Even though I don’t live on that side anymore and rarely even have reason to go by, I think it would be great if they could liven up the area with some new businesses. The revitalization of this one business is a start and I wish them the best of luck.

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JD

@ Ari Fink. It usually doesn’t involve potentially offensive stereotypes and over-generalizations.

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Zero The Hero

The location is actually a good thing when you realize that there is basically ZERO competition for the low key drinking dollar on the south side of QB. Many of the people that end up in the bars on QB or Skillman live on the south side but don’t have many options as where to go out for a drink “down the block”. The only two places with a similar feel that I can think of are the Greenpoint Lounge and Paddy Duggans both of which are on Greenpoint Ave.

If Jason can get the word out to the immediate blocks around the bar that he’s looking to update the place but keep some of it’s “charm” he may find that people will be willing to give a “local” bar a shot. Hell, I tried to give the Wild Turkey a shot JUST because it was on the south side but for some reason they were NEVER open when I went but that is another story completely.

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LT

i am curious to check it out–i agree–maybe make it a little more inviting to enter–less creepy (as it looks now).

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JOR

@northsider I bet if the new owner put in a dance area and arranged for $1 dances with latina ladies, like some of the places on Roosevelt Ave., you would find a way to get to 48th Ave.

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sunnynorthsider

Best advice is to just close it up and set it on fire. No one is going to come to that bar in the middle of no where. To far from the blvd and to far from a clientele that would occupy. Best bet otherwise 40 oz cups for 3$ like dive bars in bklyn. Good luck though.

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ray

Why does someone on this forum always feel the need to denegrate 48th AV and the Mets. There is no more drug dealing there than any other area of Woodside/Sunnyside. I grew up in that area and it just irks me of the constant misinformed opinions from afar.

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KN

This place will always be the “The Emerald Club” in my heart…looking forward to a nice fresh face lift…”The Jar” just doesn’t do it for me.

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MikeM

I may have gone in there once, but sad to see one of the last true dives disappear. Also, note that, despite the name, Celtic Park is maybe 15% Irish, not much different from the rest of the hood.

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JD

@Ari Fink, I hardly think singling out/typing one population as a beneficiary of food stamps is a productive way to celebrate diversity.

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Julia Assange

Good luck. I hope it does well. 48th Avenue, however, has always had problems because of drug dealing. I hope it has improved. A lot f the problem was from the Mets Houses and nearby. People would get kicked out of the Mets and then move across the street.

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Ari Fink

@JD..no offense intended..I am just embracing the diversity in our neighborhood which after all makes us stronger! !!

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David

Last time I was there (The Only Time), was not impressed at all, the stools I had to sit on were broken.. It really felt like a bar that time had forgot about; along with the Owner it would seem also !
In that area I don’t think it needs to be trendy, but more inviting yes, it’s nice to have that old timers Irish feel, but not 24/7.
I will be happy to check it out when it re opens.

Good Luck Jason

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Semper Paratus Man

It is a good idea to make outside more inviting and inside cleaner but not fancy. i like the old photographs in there. That is a good block. Good Luck to the new owner.

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SG

Zero. Your kinda right. Wild turkey was trying to do that (plus food) but couldn’t pull it off, came close. A bar or 2 in sunnyside with some “dive bar games” would be a huge draw, regardless of being on the blvd or not

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Sunnysideposthatesme14

Taco Truck on 40th just raised their prices from 2.50 a taco to 3 bucks.

Price increase is just because they are trying to milk more money from the hipster/bar crowd. There is no way i’m paying 3 bucks for food truck tacos. over priced nonsense.

F&&k that bullshit, after I defended that truck from the recent attack on food trucks.

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Zero the Hero

Only been there 3 or 4 times but all the regulars were always very welcoming when I happend to find myself stopping in for a beer.

Hopefully he can make the storefront look a little less depressing with a new door and window and some better signage to let people know the bar is going for a somewhat new direction. A little TLC to the back patio would also go a long way to making it worth peoples while to trek down to 48th ave to check out the bar when the nice weather is here for more than a few days at a time.

If it was my place I think I’d go for the hipster divebar chic look since everyone is convinced sunnyside is being over run with them. Keep the pool table, get the old shuffleboard table (if it’s still there) back up and running, add a vintage pinball machine and get rid of the internet jukebox and replace it with an old school jukebox filled with nothing but 60’s and 70’s classic rock cd’s.

As for the booze, keep the bud tap while adding pbr,schaffer and coors banquet lines. Maybe have one or two import lines as well for people that can’t stand the cheap stuff. Add in some cute bartenders that like to flirt a bit with the customers and give you a buy back every so often and you have yourself a spot unlike anywhere else in Sunnyside.

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Oil, Beef, Hooked

@Ari Fink

FYI: Celtic Park, a bastion for Irish presence in NYC for well over a century is a half block a way.

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Ari Fink

Might want to consider selling Tortas, Tacos and Tamales and accepting EBT cards in that neck of the woods!!!

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Celtic Bark

Good luck. Only been there once but the place is refreshingly old school, no frills kind of bar. Nothing fancy, just like bars used to be before they all started trying to be Irish pubs from county Kerry.

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