McHale's, the timeless bar at the corner of 46th and Eighth, closed more than six years ago. And it still hurts. You can go visit the neon sign at Emmett O'Lunney's pub on W. 50th Street. But otherwise, not a trace of it remains outside the memories of a few hundred Broadway stagehands. Me, I now go to Jimmy's Corner for my beer and the Edison Cafe for cheap Times Square eats.
Now, JVNY reports the words of tipster who says this: "This past Friday I was walking with friends in Midtown and we stopped by the gin mill on West 50th St that has the old McHale's 'BAR' sign. The lady standing in front told us that 'McHale's is re-opening on 51st St.' We immediately walked over to investigate. There is a bar under construction on the north side of 51st St between Broadway and 8th Ave, real modern looking, no sign up. We yelled in to what appeared to be the owner or at least manager who was going over blueprints or something. We asked 'is this place McHale's?' and he said yes. We cried that 'how can you name a place after a former business?' and he said 'why can’t I?' then backed off when he heard our outrage and came up with what I think is a story. He said 'I bought the name' and when we asked about 'Jimmy' he said he’d be there once a week and that they hired the old chef from McHale's."
This news may be so. But it cheers me not at all. Listen, I can open up an eatery and call it Toots Shor, but it doesn't it make it so—any more than Gabe Stuhlman's Fedora has anything to do with the original Fedora; the current Hurley's is a patch on the original bar on Sixth Avenue; or John DeLucie's upcoming restaurant in the Bill's Gay 90s space will have any real connection with Bill's.
McHale's outside the original McHale's space and location would not be McHale's. McHale's without Jimmy McHale would not be McHale's. Recreating burgers, however good, does not reconstitute a 70-year-old bar. Sorry.
To find out more about what I thought about McHale's and its shuttering, see here and here and here.