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
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.
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
that would be impolite.” Her logic sounded quite good enough for
both of us, so we took a stool at the bar and began sampling Lillie’s
terrific selection of domestic and imported beer.
BARTENDER MIMMA LEVY COULD SWEETEN THE MOST
MEDIOCRE PINT, BUT LILLIE'S OFFERS A FABULOUS SELECTION OF 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
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
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.
The namesake of the tavern is Lillie Langtry, the enormously
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
art of franchising a name and likeness to companies to help market
their products, Lillie had many famous love affairs, including more
one with a member of the British Royal Family. But before
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
During her acting career, Lillie Langtry performed in New York
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.
DETAILS ENHANCE THE EXPERIENCE
THE TAPS OFFER A TREAT FOR
THE EYES AS WELL
BUT OF COURSE THERE IS A
GREAT SELECTION OF WINE