HUNTINGTON VILLAGE, New York, November 27
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
At a time when electronic dance music, shots of tequila and beer kegs have come to signify a typical night out for many young people, the owners of Mary Carroll’s Bar and Beer Garden are hoping to offer Huntington village patrons something a bit different.
The Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) approved a parking variance Nov. 6 that will allow Conor Hartnett and David Mc Keown to move forward with their plan to open an upscale whiskey longue at 1 Clinton Ave. on the second floor, which stretches across both Mary Carroll’s, in part, and Rosa’s Pizza. The lounge, which has yet to be named, will have its own entrance in-between Mary Carroll’s and Rosa’s, Hartnett said.
“What we’re trying to do is distinguish ourselves entirely from Mary Carroll’s… We want to completely go to a different formula altogether,” Hartnett, 47, originally of Limerick, Ireland but now a Babylon resident, said at the zoning board meeting. “We’re actually looking for a place where, say, we would now go with our wives and friends.”
Coming before the board requesting relief for an additional 121 parking spaces the added whiskey lounge requires, the ZBA members unanimously approved the parking variance.
“I understand… what [the application is] saying with respect to the peak times of operation for [Mary Carroll’s] and how that might dovetail with some of the other parking demands of other businesses that close earlier,” Christopher Modelewski, ZBA chairman, said during the meeting. “But practically speaking, where are these cars going to go and do you have any counts from the existing lots at the times when you would expect people to be coming and going from this establishment?”
Expecting crowds to gather after peak dinner time in Huntington village – 8 p.m., traffic engineer Wayne Muller said at the meeting – the variance was approved under then notion that Mary Carroll’s keep its hours locked in at 4 p.m.-4 a.m. Monday-Friday and 12 p.m.-4 a.m. Saturday-Sunday.
“That’s our thing; we’re the late-night bar,” Hartnett said.
The additional parking spaces will be satisfied by municipal lots within 300 feet of the building – one of which is the Gerard Street lot, currently under reconstruction.
“This application to grant the relief is consistent with many of the reliefs [the ZBA has] granted in the downtown business district,” John Breslin, an attorney, said to the board.
Another issue that Breslin addressed was fire safety, but he explained the reworking of the building’s two staircases will allow for proper fire evacuation by staff and patrons.
As for the whiskey lounge itself, Mc Keown is hopeful he’ll be able to offer guests at least 350 different whiskeys from all over the world once the health and building departments officially sign off and construction completes.
“Whiskey right now is just exploding all over America,” the native of Northern Ireland said.
With a planned enforced dress code and low-key environment offering calming music, accessible hours and relaxing ambiance, the Mary Carroll’s owners are hoping the lounge will be a hangout for those wanting something other than hectic nightlife.
“We want you to sip on your whiskey, not do shots of it,” Mc Keown, of Brightwaters, said.
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander
(Thursday, November 27, 2014; A17)