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Longtime Midtown Irish Pub Plans Rooftop Expansion

By Mathew Katz | August 22, 2012 10:31am

MIDTOWN — It's time for even more of that good old-fashioned Irish hospitality.

The Blarney Rock — the staple Midtown Irish pub known for its cheap drinks and blue-collar clientele — is planning an expansion.

The bar, across from Madison Square Garden at 137 W. 33rd St., plans to add a rooftop dining area by early fall, staff confirmed on Tuesday. Further details for the rooftop are in the works, as it still needs approval from local officials.

The bar first opened in 1969 and typically fills up with loyal patrons not long after its daily 8 a.m. opening — often by local workers getting off of a night shift. It's not unusual for concert-goers to shut the place down after taking in a show at Madison Square Garden.

The rooftop expansion is a stark turnaround from the bar's fortunes in 2010, when it faced demolition because of the plan to build a transit tunnel to New Jersey. The project the scrapped, and the bar was allowed to remain open.

The busy block was originally supposed to get a new rooftop bar on top of the old Peep World space, where the Overlook Lounge planned to open a new location. That space will soon become a Hooters instead — without the rooftop deck.

The news that competition was coming was greeted with enthusiasm by the Blarney Rock's owners.

"YEAH!!! Welcome to Irish Pub Way," they wrote about the new Hooters on the Blarney Rock Facebook page.

The bar likely will need approval from the State Liquor Authority before moving forward with any proposed rooftop expansion.