Aug. 24, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
The owners of Donovan’s Irish Pub in Woodside are hosting a block party to celebrate the bar’s 55th anniversary and to thank the community for supporting them during the pandemic.
The event will take place Saturday outside the pub on 58th Street—between Roosevelt and 41st Avenue. The block will be closed off to traffic, with the celebration scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m.
The block party will feature live music acts and Irish dancing. There will also be activities for children including face painting.
“We want to celebrate 55 years of Donovan’s and say thank you to the neighborhood for the tremendous support,” said Dan Connor, who owns Donovan’s with his brother-in-law Jimmy Jacobson.
The bar, located at 57-24 Roosevelt Ave., has been a neighborhood staple for decades but its owners were struggling to stay afloat earlier this year in the midst of the pandemic. Customers then came to their aid and raised nearly $90,000 via a GoFundMe campaign.
“We never would have survived without it [donations], it helped us get over the second lockdown,” Connor said.
Connor said the money went toward covering payroll and went toward expenses such as rent, supplies and utility bills. The bar is now operating at pre-pandemic levels, Connor said, and is back on its feet, in large part, due to the fundraiser.
The bar was established on March 17, 1966 by Joe Donovan who operated it for 46 years before putting it up for sale in the summer of 2012. Many residents were concerned that the Irish watering hole would close for good when no buyer initially came forward.
Connor and Jacobson, both life-long Woodside residents, then decided to buy the bar in late 2012.
“We didn’t buy the bar to become wealthy, we just wanted to preserve it because it means so much to the community,” Connor said.
The bar, which is situated directly across from St. Sebastian’s church on the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and 58th Street, is a popular destination for families celebrating religious functions– such as first communions– as well as for private parties. The bar also has many regulars and is known for hosting live music.
The bar will be setting up 40 chairs on 58th Street for attendees. The chairs will essentially be an expansion of the bar’s outdoor dining area – situated along the sidewalk on 58th Street – that already seats around 30 people.
Donovan’s will also erect a 12-foot wide by 10-foot long stage in the center of 58th Street facing Roosevelt Avenue, with Irish music by The Flynn’s band starting at 3 p.m. There will be Irish dancing at 6 p.m. while singer and musician Katelyn Richards will take to the stage from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
At 10 p.m., the party will continue inside the bar until the late hours, Connor said.
“It’s going to be a beautiful day to celebrate this community which is pretty much one of a kind,” he said.