The three men who opened Irish Times Pub 16 years ago on Main Street in Holbrook are now planning a second Irish pub and restaurant on South Ocean Avenue in Patchogue.
Their plans for James Joyce, which would be similar in concept to Irish Times, came before the public and the village Planning Board Monday night in Village Hall.
Questions arose from the board as to maximum occupancy and whether the restaurant area’s seats would be removed on a regular basis to serve more of a club function.
Co-owner John Murphy acknowledged chairs would be removed for entertainment purposes.
“What you’re saying is, if I’m understanding you, is that you will convert your restaurant to a nightclub after 10 o’clock at night,” said Planning Board chairman John Rocco
“Correct,” Murphy said.
“OK,” responded Rocco. “I appreciate your honesty.”
In an interview after the hearing, which was adjourned for further review of the application, Murphy said club is “kind of a tough word.”
“Will we have entertainment? Absolutely,” he said. “We’ll have bands from time to time. And we stay open late, so you have to kind of cater to a younger crowd when you stay open late.”
He said Irish Times stays open to 4 a.m. 365 days a year, even midweek and holidays, which is also the plan with James Joyce.
“And it works,” he said. “We get a lot of people from within the industry. Shift workers coming off trains. We do well with that. That’s a big part of our business.”
The architectural work on the two-story building is being handled by Busch Associates. The plans were approved Tuesday night by the village’s Architectural Review Board, which held a joint meeting.
The building at 49 South Ocean Avenue is next to 360 Taiku Sushi & Lounge, which opened last year, and features two mezzanine areas that will be used for restaurant space as well.
“As soon as we walked into the door, we were sold. And Dave [Busch] has some great ideas,” he said.
Murphy and his partners, Lorcan Phelan and Colm Ashe, opened Irish Times after a string of troubled clubs had operated in the heart of the Holbrook business district.
He said there were concerns raised in Islip Town Hall over their proposal at that time.
“We assured them we would be good neighbors and we’ve kept our word for over 16 years,” he said.
The owners said Irish Times often hosts engagement parties, christenings and other family events.
“We’ll be looking to do the same type of catering here,” Murphy said.
Asked why it took so long to expand the business, Murphy noted the partners have since raised families.
“We’ve almost bit on a few things but nothing came of it. My kids were young and now my youngest is going to college, so that gives me a little more time,” he said. “So that would be the biggest reason. And we’ve been busy where we are, too.”
He said the vibe and menu would be similar to Irish Times.
The name and theme is an homage to the famed Irish author James Joyce.
“There’s a lot of great quotes and sayings that we’ll incorporate into the restaurant and bar,” he said. “We like to be Irish without saying leprechauns and Shamrocks, so it’s a little classier.”
A photo of a rendering by Busch Associates displayed to the public Monday night.