The Weir and Tír Na Nóg

New girl in town
Conor McPherson's The Weir invites you on a dark and windy night to warm up with a few good stories.  Time and place:  1997, country pub, Ireland.  An attractive woman, a "blow in," provokes four local men to tell outrageous stories, real and ghostly, related to her new village. Many drinks are drunk, but only "small ones," and herbal cigarettes passed around. (Broadway substituted herbal cigarettes for real ones long before Mayor Bloomberg made New York City smoke-free.)

The country pub lacks a ladies' room, if you can imagine. As the lovely new neighbor retreats to the owner's house to use the facilities, the men chastise themselves for their upsetting conversation and vow to be more civil. Upon her return, Valerie (Mary McCann) tells the story that brings everyone to their knees.

But wait, another's speech, upon leaving, is the one that breaks our hearts. Irish actor John Keating, with his beautiful words of comfort, causes the audience to choke up, and although he hadn't seemed a possibility before, now we wonder whether Valerie will hook up with him.

A harsh wind howls outside throughout. Irish Rep’s remounting is excellent and all the stories still fresh in our minds.

Branzino Tír Na Nóg
Tír Na Nóg has a sure hand with fish, which you would expect of an Irish pub. The seared scallops were big and juicy, and the branzino seasoned with saffron, chorizo, and clams. Potato leek soup comes with a dash of truffle oil. Two can share the hearty shepherd’s pie. It’s a truly friendly place, with Irish as well as Scottish accents floating about, and you might wish to eat at the bar if you’re alone, and order some oysters and a half pint of Harp lager.

Close to Madison Square Garden, the ambiance might not be as old world and couthie before a Rangers game. Stop in after a play or and get Irish coffee served with no frills, just the way we like it, and apple pie on flaky pastry with cinnamon ice cream and a sprig of mint.