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Lunch Comes With a Side of Sunscreen at West Village Bar

By DNAinfo Staff on April 28, 2011 6:43am  | Updated on April 28, 2011 6:55am

By Elizabeth Ladzinski

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

WEST VILLAGE — The outdoor tables of a West Village Irish pub are sporting an extra condiment next to their salt and pepper shakers — a bottle of sunblock.

"It's crazy, I can't believe nobody else does this," said Fiddlesticks Bar and Grill owner Niamh Conway of the lotion. "I literally looked at customers getting sunburnt all the time. I just couldn't do it anymore,."

She was especially worried about customers from overseas.

"Particularly Irish and English tourists, they'd come over with their suitcases and sit down and in 20 minutes they're just so burnt," she said.

Many patrons at the pub said they'd never seen sunblock at other restaurants before, making Fiddlesticks at 56 Greenwich Ave. perhaps the only restaurant in the city to offer it.

Fiddlesticks in the West Village puts Up and Up — a Target store brand — 30 SPF sunblock on its outdoor tables.
Fiddlesticks in the West Village puts Up and Up — a Target store brand — 30 SPF sunblock on its outdoor tables.
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DNAinfo/Elizabeth Ladzinski

After a lot of research, Conway decided to buy Target's brand "Up and Up" spray sunblock in SPF 30 and 50.

"Plus it smells nice, it smells summery walking down the Avenue," Conway said.

She started putting out the lotion during the summer months three years ago. A few days ago, the sunblock came out for the 2011 season.

Multiple patrons were impressed with the fact that the restaurant offers sunblock.

"We've never seen that before, that's a very good idea," said Paul Jensen, 54, who was visiting the city from Denmark with his wife and stopped by Fiddlesticks to eat lunch.

"I've always wondered if anyone has mistaken it for something else and sprayed it on their food," said David Moyar, 43, who lives nearby and has been coming to the pub for three years.

One patron did in fact mistake the bottle for something edible.

"Sunblock? What sunblock?" said Sara J. Henry, 54, who had thought the bottle was in fact coffee creamer, but was surprised to discover otherwise.

"I'm gonna put some on before I leave," Henry said.

David's wife, Monica, as well as a couple other patrons, said they wouldn't use the spray because they already put it on at home. But Conway said she encourages her staff to remind people to re-apply during the sunny days.

Ultimately, Conway said the sunblock is there to give customers everything that they need. Her attention to customer needs is reflected in the fact that she offers a "Dog Menu," serving complementary chicken and rice or ground beef and rice to the dog of any patron who dines outside.

"You can put the suntan lotion on the dogs too, they need lotion," added Conway with a laugh.