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     A JERSEY GIRL IN NEW YORK CITY small white logo
BY DAVID McBRIDE

For those of us who are constantly on the search for the next great pub, Manhattan is a virtual treasure trove of possibilities.  Sometimes it feels as though everywhere you look, every block you walk down, you can discover yet another welcoming tavern.

On our most recent trip into Manhattan, my friend Chris Poh and I trekked into the city to photograph and experience the Old Town Bar, one of New York’s most historic taverns.  After our work was completed, we decided we weren’t quite ready to end our day in the Big Apple just yet.  So we started walking across town toward our train station, with the full intention to find someplace to “rest” along the route.  It was December, and we were hoping to come across a place that may lend itself not only to a fun afternoon, but also to a great story, and maybe some good Christmas photos as well to help put our beloved Review readers into the holiday spirit.

As we walked along 17th Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue, I noticed a beautiful Christmas tree shining from inside a window on the opposite side of the street.  From our vantage point, it was initially difficult to tell what kind of establishment it was we were observing.  But like moths to a flame, we soon discovered that our eyes were subconsciously attracted to a tavern.  We crossed the street, and like children peeking into the decorated windows of Macy’s at Christmastime, we reveled at what we saw. 



David McBride  
Lillie's in New York City as seen in American public House Review
LILLIE'S IN NEW YORK CITY




Chris Poh    
The bar at Lillie's in New York City as seen in American Public House Review
A GORGEOUS VICTORIAN BAR - NOT ALL IRISH INFLUENCED DRINKING ESTABLISHMENTS NEED BE QUAINT COUNTRY PUBS!




What we had discovered was a bar called Lillie’s. It was a bright and open place, with gorgeous trimmings and a terrific display of Victorian-style Christmas decorations.  At first, we were not yet certain if this was the place for us to park ourselves for an afternoon, so we just sort of wandered in and started peering around the bar, likely looking to the tavern’s workers as if we were either lost or confused.  As my eyes were taking in the details, the bartender, Mimma Levy, asked if she could help us.  I responded that we had been drawn in by the Christmas tree in the window and were not yet sure what our plans were for the rest of the day.


Chris Poh   
Mimma Levy, bartender at Lillie's in New York City as seen in American Publioc House Review
BARTENDER MIMMA LEVY COULD SWEETEN THE MOST MEDIOCRE PINT, BUT LILLIE'S OFFERS A FABULOUS SELECTION OF BEER.


She smiled at me mischievously and said, “Well, this is an Irish tavern, after all.  And if you come in and not stay for a drink…well, that would be impolite.”  Her logic sounded quite good enough for the both of us, so we took a stool at the bar and began sampling Lillie’s terrific selection of domestic and imported beer.

It struck my mind that many people in the United States would not immediately recognize Lille’s as an Irish tavern.  Like so many things that have been imported to this country from the Emerald Isle, much of the variety found in Ireland’s taverns seems to have been lost during the trip across the pond.  We here in America have a rather singular view of what an Irish pub should look like.  We expect the kind of quaint atmosphere of the country pub, with an antique-style wood bar, soft lighting and a shillelagh or two hanging on the walls.  But Ireland’s great pubs are much more diverse, and they include a rich tradition of historic Victorian-era establishments.  Lillie’s is bringing that tradition to New York City, and breaking the mold of the stereotypical Irish-American pub.


David McBride   
Portrait of lilly Langtry as seen in American Public House Review
PORTRAIT OF LILLIE LANGTRY, LILLIE'S NAMESAKE


The namesake of the tavern is Lillie Langtry, the enormously famous actress and socialite of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Lillie was born on the island of Jersey, one of Great Britain’s Channel Islands just off the coast of Normandy, France, and became know as “Jersey Lillie.  Besides an acting career, and being a pioneer in the art of franchising a name and likeness to companies to help market their products, Lillie had many famous love affairs, including more than one with a member of the British Royal Family.  But before becoming a celebrity, Lille married a wealthy Irish landowner named Edward Langtry.  His yacht delivered her from the less than glamorous surroundings of Jersey to a more posh setting on the mainland. The couple set up housekeeping in London's fashionable Belgravia district, and Lillie quickly set about the task of mastering the intrigues of Victorian British society.

The bar and furnishings at Lille’s in Manhattan were taken directly from the ballroom of a Victorian mansion in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  During her acting career, Lillie Langtry performed in New York City.  Even though the pub which now bears her name was not around back then for the actress to enjoy, it is not hard to imagine she would have felt at home here.



David McBride   
Interior at Lillie's in New York City as seen in American Public House Review
LILLIE'S DOES ITS APPELLATION, LILLIE LANGTRY PROUD!


Chris Poh  
Columns at lillie's in New York City as seen in American Public House Review
BEAUTIFUL DECORATIVE DETAILS ENHANCE THE EXPERIENCE


David McBride  
Taps at lillie's in New York as seen in American Public House Review
THE TAPS OFFER A TREAT FOR THE EYES AS WELL


David McBride  
Wine selection at Lillie's in New york City as seen in American Public House Review
BUT OF COURSE THERE IS A GREAT SELECTION OF WINE



Settee at lillie's in New York City as seen in American Public House Review









Crowd at Lillie's in New York City as seen in American Public House Review
Lillie's




LILLIE'S


13 EAST 17TH STREET

NEW YORK, NEW YORK



212-337-1970



www.lilliesnyc.com



AMERICAN PUBLIC HOUSE REVIEW text, images, and music © 2007-2009. All rights reserved. 
All content is subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. Email: ed.petersen@americanpublichousereview.com for permission before use.

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