McHale's Bar—the closure of which Times Square watering hole led to the creation of this blog—has been gone for five years.
It was pushed out in January 2006 after 62 years in business by the rent hike of a greedy landlord. There was hue and cry from its clientele and the air rang with protests, but it was all for naught. Owner Jimmy McHale (above), son of his father (also named Jimmy), who founded the place, moved out quietly and let the condo tower known at Platinum NYC rise on the northeast corner of Eighth Avenue and 46th Street. The monolith stands there still, offering no hints as to the intersection's former resident. The stagehands who had made the bar their home moved grudgingly around the corner to the Playwrights Tavern.
At the time of the shutting, Jimmy McHale made some vague comments about the bar reopening some day. But nothing came of that. The chef moved on to Rendezvous, an eatery across Eighth Avenue, and for a time that place advertised McHale's burgers on their menu. But soon enough, that place closed as well. Jimmy said he was saving much of the interior and the classic neon sign. However, in 2007, one of the McHale's signs turned up in a Chelsea antique shop. And in 2010, Lost City discovered that the biggest of the McHale's neon signs had found a new home in Emmet O'Lunney's on W. 50th Street. The owner apparently made an offer on the sign in the days before McHale's closed, and Jimmy McHale took the deal. The sign was restored and installed. So, I'd say there is zero chance of a new McHale's rising from the ashes.
I wonder what became of up the joint's long wooden bar, which hailed from the 1939 World's Fair. I hope some bar somewhere is using it. If anyone has any news of it, or of Jimmy's whereabouts, please write it.
I still have the McHale's t-shirt Jimmy himself gave me on my final visit to the bar. I don it only occasionally. I don't want to wear it out, because I know there won't be any more coming to me.