Jolly Tinker Bar: 45 years, not a missed day - New York News

Jolly Tinker Bar: 45 years, not a missed day

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Michael Prendergast Jr.'s father, Michael Prendergast Sr., opened the Jolly Tinker in Bedford Park one weekend in February of 1969. Since that date, the bar has remained open 16,467 days in a row.

"In 1985, we had a little cooking fire here and a lot of the roof burned," Prendergast Jr. said, "but the community helped and we were able to open half a day later."

Today, the Jolly Tinker's the kind of bar where on a random Monday in March one can find patrons spiritedly disputing the best way to get to the old Polo Grounds.

One meets Mark and Holly, who met at the Jolly Tinker, shared their first dance at the Jolly Tinker (Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"), and then married (presumably not at the Jolly Tinker) 10 years ago.

"Lot of the people who come here now are the sons and daughters and grandchildren of our original customers," Prendergast Jr. said.

Cunningham McKillop counts his father as one of those originals.

"They probably changed my diaper on the pool table," McKillop said. "That's how long I've been here."

When Michael Prendergast Sr. left County Waterford in Ireland for New York City as a 19-year-old, he likely never imagined he'd found a bar in the Bronx. When he opened the Jolly Tinker at the age of 29, he likely never imagined it would remain open every day for the next 45 years or that he'd one day pass it down to his son or that the mayor of New York (Michael Bloomberg) would recognize the business conducted in the Pendergast watering hole between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 a.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year as some kind of accomplishment. But the Prendergast patriarch likely did intend to create a sort of community sanctuary at which his friends and family might gather.

"This is like a home away from home for some people." McKillop said. "It's the people who make the bar."

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