Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 6:49PM
The Cherry Tree, on Fourth Avenue between St. Marks and Bergen, is solid local bar. Since Jim McGowan opened it in 2006, it's drawn a mostly youngish crowd from both the east and west sides of 4th, as well as travelers staying in the hostel upstairs. The bottled beer selection is surprisingly good, and taps offer some uncommon finds like Chelsea Checkercab Blonde Ale. It's dark and cozy at night, and during the day the backyard is one of the best outdoor drinking spaces in the area. Gareth McDaid, a jolly recent transplant from Derry, Northern Ireland's second-largest city, can be found behind the bar Wednesday and Friday nights from 8-4, and Sunday from 1-8 PM.
HPS: How long ago did you move here from Ireland?
Gareth: My girlfriend and I came to America twelve weeks ago.
HPS: What brought you over?
Gareth: We got bored. We got bored of back home, and thought, where else to go but New York for a change? For a burst of energy!
HPS: How long have you been bartending for?
Gareth: I've been bartending here now for about six weeks, and all in all probably around three years. I bartended a little bit back in Ulster.
HPS: What do you like best about this bar so far?
Gareth: The drink's cheap, the people are pretty cool, and nobody gets too wasted that I have to put them out the door.
HPS: Can you talk a little about the Happy Hour here?
Gareth: We've got a couple pretty good offers during Happy Hour. It's from 1-8 Monday-Friday. All our well shots are 3 dollars, our mixed drinks are 4 dollars, but what we're most famous for is the Cherry Tree Combo, which is a PBR pint and a shot for 5 dollars. That's available all day, every day. On Sunday, for the football, we have the big screen and as many games as we can put on, and drafts are four dollars during Giants and Jets games. And on Monday during Happy Hour we have Irish Monday, where all pints of Guinness are 5 dollars and shots of Jameson are 3 dollars.
HPS: What's the strangest drink order you've received here?
Gareth: A Bahama Mama. I had no clue what it was, but they told me what was in it, it seemed to be pretty good, and the worst thing was that they ordered another one, so I had to do it all again. This is definitely more a beer and a shot bar.
HPS: If you could have a drink with one person from history, who would it be?
Gareth: Al Pacino. I'd ask him what it was like playing The Godfather. I'd probably have nothing else to talk to him about after that, though.
HPS: Are there any cocktails that you make really well?
Gareth: I make a pretty good drink called the Green Thunder. It's my own mix. It's got pomegranate vodka, berry vodka, and Midori. It turned out green, so that's where I got the name from. It's pretty strong, but it tastes like sweets.
HPS: What drink is served the most frequently here?
Gareth: Here it'd be the Cherry Tree Combo, the pint of PBR and a shot. They love it here. Either that or Jameson.
HPS: Which bottles are poured from the least?
Gareth: Well most people that get a mixed drink will mostly just get it with orange juice or soda. They're not really ordering cocktails, so we don't really use too many of the top shelf bottles.
HPS: What other professions would you be interested in if you weren't tending bar?
Gareth: I'm a salesman. That's why I bartend; it's pretty much the same thing. I used to sell insurance. Mobile phones. Everything. That seemed to work.
Cherry Tree, 65 4th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11217. 718-399-1353.