May 7, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
The Irish Cottage, a popular Irish pub and restaurant that has operated in Forest Hills since 1960, has closed due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown.
The family-run traditional Irish bar, located at 108-07 72nd Ave., was run by the McNulty family and was a staple for locals and members of the Irish American community. It served up Irish food and beer and hosted weekly music sessions.
“It’s very sad, we were one of the oldest family-run Irish bars in Queens,” said Danny McNulty, the son of the late owner Kathleen McNulty, who died last month.
McNulty said that the bar was no longer economically viable. He said that since the March 17 shut down revenue had shrunk significantly–and that the take-out orders they were providing were not enough to sustain them.
McNulty also said that the outlook was bleak since the city is likely to impose occupancy limits when bars and restaurants are permitted to reopen.
He said the future for many family-run bars and restaurants does not look good. Many will close due to lost revenue and upcoming restrictions.
“There will be no more mom-and-pops after this,” he said.
The family employed seven staff members who are now out of work as a result of the closure.
“Our longest serving staff member has been with us for 30 years,” he said.
The family had hoped to get help from the federal government to keep them in business.
“We applied for the federal bailout but we didn’t get it so it’s just not possible to keep it going,” McNulty said.
The closure is the second big blow for the family in a number of weeks.
McNulty’s mother passed away last month.
Kathleen, 80, an Irish immigrant, was struck by COVID-19 while she was recuperating from a hip injury at a care center in Long Island. She passed away on April 3 stemming from complications pertaining to the virus.
McNulty said his mother planned to come back to the bar after she recovered from her injury.
The bar was an Irish establishment but McNulty said his mother embraced people of all backgrounds.
“She made the place into a melting pot for all kinds of people to meet,” he said.
“Come as a stranger, leave as a friend,’ she would say.'”