March 11, 2011 By Christian Murray
Molly Blooms, a bar modeled on the life and times of Irish playwright James Joyce, opened its doors at 43-13 Queens Blvd. on Thursday.
Ciaran Staunton, a long-time Sunnyside resident, named his new establishment after the fictional character in the Joyce novel Ulysses. The bar’s design is based on the Victorian-style pubs built in Dublin that Joyce and his fellow writers frequented in the early 20th Century.
The bar’s design features ornate lights fashioned after the gas lights used in the 1800s. Other features include the traditional painted wall paper, a dark wood bar, and rich tufted fabric of the era. The exterior is painted black with gold trim.
Staunton, who owns O’Neill’s at 729 Third Avenue in Manhattan, comes from a strong Irish background. He came to the US in 1982 from County Mayo, formed the Irish lobby in 1995 (focusing on immigrant issues) and was a participant in the Irish peace process. His wife, Orlaith, who helps him run O’Neill’s, comes from County Louth.
The bar has a garden patio, where trees have been planted, along with creeping ivies and an assortment of potted plants. Presently it has a canopy up, which will be removed in about a month once the weather improves. In winter, this area will be heated.
Staunton said the bar is going to specialize in craft beers that come from the smaller brewers, such as Coney Island lager and a Brooklyn lager—for about $5 a pint. He said that his aim is to be a little different than other bars, where nationally recognized selections are typically offered on tap. Staunton will be offering 12 craft beers; a selection of 25 bottled offerings; and the traditional Guinness and Smithwicks mainstays to choose from.
He said the bar will offer about 10 different wines which will range in price from $6 and $7 per glass. Meanwhile, the bar will expand into single malts – from scotch to aged whiskeys.
Staunton said the kitchen will be open in about 2 weeks. The menu will be fairly short. “We won’t have 25 items on the menu but a small menu provided by professionals.”
He said the kitchen will serve traditional breakfast fare in addition to scones, oatmeal, cereal along with coffee and espresso in the morning. The kitchen will also offer a variety of salads, wraps and traditional hamburgers. Dinner will feature innovative daily specials, such as garlic roast chicken.
His focus will be to provide craft beers from local brewers, offer baked goods and produce from local residents and remain family focused. “We are a local business and our success is based on the support of the community,” Staunton said.
He said: “We have already booked three parties from local families.”