Dan Fitzgibbons is not a very tall man, but his vibrant personality and sense of style, coupled with his charming Australian accent, is larger-than-life. He’s a boilermaker guy when hanging with friends and an old-fashioned guy when he wants to play it sophisticated. He wears all black and is a total vibe.
Fitzgibbons opened Bar 47 at Bruckner Boulevard barely six months ago, but when the doors open at 4 pm, one by one, the regulars trickle in until the bar is full and games are roaring at the pool table in the back. Not even the tug-of-war struggle with the original door of this 1915 building can stop them.
As soon as you enter, you know that you, too, have become a regular.
The walnut wood bar is L-shaped with about 15 leather tub chairs in milk chocolate brown. The colored holiday lights on the back bar add a touch of whimsy, while the rest is lit with Edison bulbs and varied lamps that bounce their warm glow off the several vintage mirrors speckled throughout the space.
A grandfather clock adorns the wall and an old-timey radio perches on the bar. A seating alcove by the front window is lovingly adorned with well-manicured plants. The restrooms are single-occupancy and use red light only. The sink is communal, which I happen to like.
A jukebox stands mute in the back by the pool table, which has its own seating area filled with beautifully stylish people and exposed natural brick walls. The ambiance is warm and electric. Everyone is smiling and happy to be there. Conversations buzz and time seems to stand still.
Fitzgibbons fosters this vibe with his Hugh Jackman grin and approachable disposition. The quirky combination of antiquity and modernity makes the bar kind of Hipster, but in the best way possible, kind of like Dan. The place is so visually captivating, it’s enough to make you forget to order a drink — but bartenders Andre and Jill are there to help.
The cocktail menu is wonderful in the sense that it does not attempt to pander to the neighborhood, like serving the ubiquitous Henny Colada. Once I see Negroni on the menu, I’m set.
My sister orders the Islands In The Stream, a tropical rum concoction that is lip-smackingly delicious. My Negroni glass reminds me of a fancy hotel lounge.
The food menu is minimalist and playful, with items like tater-tots and ice cream sandwiches. We, too, start smiling like the people on Bar 47’s Instagram page.
I see people I know playing pool and what was once a new bar is now a familiar “adult dive,” as Fitzgibbons likes to call it. My sister jokingly replies, “You’re saying I can’t bring my kids here?” But we knew what he meant, and we had a good laugh.
Dan is a terrific pool player — but so am I. We took each other down to the 8-ball. It was neck and neck. But in the end, there can only be one.
E.T. Rodriguez is a Nuyorican with roots in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx, and in Washington Heights in Manhattan. She has worked in the service industry as mixologist, bartender and server for 11 years. She has been to 11 countries and continues to travel the world in search of new breweries, distilleries, restaurants and bars.