For as long as I can remember, The Emerald Inn was drawing perfect pints and serving up decent Irish pub fare on Columbus Avenue… and, as it turns out, they were doing it a LOT longer even than that. In fact, The Emerald Inn first opened its doors in 1942, making it one of the most venerable drinking and dining destinations on the the entire Upper West Side.
Last year, owner Charles Campbell–the third generation of the Campbell clan to run things, and his son, currently General Manager, seems poised to be the fourth–could no longer afford the outlandish rent hikes on his Columbus Avenue space (it's now a Kate Spade) and so had to decamp a few blocks west to 72nd Street between Broadway and West End.
Recreating The Atmosphere at Their New Location
In June, The Emerald Inn opened their doors in their new, faux-stone-facaded digs, and though the place is larger and longer than the original, with a back dining room, complete with fancy-looking skylight, pretty much everything else feels the same. The Emerald Inn menu, as far as I can tell, hasn't changed. There are more beers on tap now, and more TVs–at twice the square footage there'd better be–but it still seems like an ideal, slightly more grown-up place to catch some of the game than the frattier bars on Amsterdam. They even have the old Emerald Inn sign hung in the middle dining area, along with a couple of the original booths. Overall, Campbell and crew did a nice job recreating the atmosphere of Columbus Avenue while embracing the realities of the new space on 72nd.
The Food Is As Good As Ever
And as for the food at the new Emerald Inn, it definitely does its job, as it did at the old place. Nothing fancy here–the Emerald Inn cheeseburger was always my usual, and from what I hear they're still cooking it correctly–but this is hearty food that satisfies, even more so once winter hits again. On this night my teenage companion and I split a solid French Dip (the roast beef rare, the cheese gooey, the dipping just nice and salty) as well as an order of adequate Shepherd's Pie (canned veggies, ok mashed potatoes, thick gravy, beef either tender or chewy, depending on the chunk). But you don't come to the Emerald Inn expecting anything more in the food department; you come here expecting a smile, and a pint or three, and a momentary refuge from whatever it is you want to escape for a while. And on that account, The Emerald Inn still delivers.
More Information: The Emerald Inn
The new Emerald Inn is located on the south side of 72nd Street between Broadway and West End, and is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. As befits the old-school vibe of the place, The Emerald Inn has no website, so you'll just have to swing by and check it out.