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Wednesday
Feb112009

O'Connor's Bar, 39 Fifth Avenue

Not many businesses in Park Slope have been around for 78 years.
That’s why when I noticed that O’Connor’s Bar on Fifth and Bergen has been there since 1931, I had to go take a look. It didn’t take very long to see why this place has been in business for decades. It’s dark, it’s old, the bartenders are great, drinks are cheap: it’s the perfect dive bar.
When Dominick O’Connor bought the space nearly eighty years ago, it was a stable. He got rid of the horses and added a bar with 12 stools, five booths, a bathroom, and a phone booth. He put a few pictures on the wall, and he left it alone. 
A visit today will introduce you to Chris, the daytime bartender, who’ll greet you with a smile and a handshake and will most likely remember your name and drink of choice if you’ve ever been there before. The crowd is an even mix of local professionals, older (and younger) regulars, and curious passers-by and couples. Conversation is easy to come by, and there’s always a stack of the day’s newspapers to read and a sports pool to get in on. Because there’s no basement, there’s no place for the kegs, so it’s bottles-only, but the beer is cheap and ice-cold and the mixed drinks are strong.
A few years ago the bar was bought by Mike McMahon, a big burly Irishman, and he added a new sign, a few lighting fixtures, and a couple TV sets. Construction is currently underway on a basement, so there are taps in the future, as well as a kitchen and private party room, possibly.
I hope the new additions don’t change the character of the bar, but I have a feeling they won’t. 
  

One of the few remaining real NYC phone booths. 

And be sure to look for O’Connor’s in the April ‘09 issue of Details, in the article about the country’s best dive bars. The only other NYC bar mentioned is Jimmy’s Corner, on 45th St.

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Reader Comments (11)

That phone is not just in a booth, it has a DIAL. Cool find!

March 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChickenUnderwear

I remember this place well! I'm glad to know it's still around!

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