‘Cheers’-like bar closes

Bridie O’s in Lawrence transcended social status


Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. Robert Fitzgerald, ex-chief of the Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department was there on April 1, 1993 when Bridie O’s opened, and then again when it closed its doors for good on Aug. 30.

“It was like the ‘Cheers’ bar, there were always people there,” he said, referring to a group of customers that regularly hung out at the tavern on Central Avenue in Lawrence.

Owners Jimmy Dowling and Joey Herbert accepted an offer for the building, and shut down what was a centerpiece of the Five Towns community for more than 20 years.

The sign left on the front door thanks their friends, family and patrons for the time spent together. “Thanks for your friendship and good times,” it reads, “may you and your families stay healthy and live long happy lives. Thank you for the wonderful memories.”

Syd Mandelbaum, one of those regulars, are among those mourning the loss of a place where social standing didn’t matter. “The seminal watering hole of the Five Towns, which transcended wealth, position, status and power,” the founder of Cedarhurst-based Rock and Wrap It Up! said.

Fitzgerald said that he is going to miss the atmosphere: the lively political debates, trivia nights and gathering to watch sports, both the local teams and big events. “It was just a friendly place to go after work and relax,” he said.

Bridie O’s closure now leaves the Backstage in Woodmere, Jimmy’s Place in Inwood, TJ Patrick’s in Hewlett, and the Willow Tavern in Cedarhurst as the last bars in the Five Towns.

That depresses Fitzgerald, but at the same time he’s glad Herbert and Dowling are going to have a chance to relax, and that he’ll be able to keep in touch as they plan to stay in the area. “They’re two good guys who would give you the shirt off their backs,” he said. “They worked hard and said they aren’t going anywhere.”