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Jimmy Neary

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James Joseph (Jimmy) Neary (/ˈd͡ʒɪmi ˈnɪrli], was an Irish-born American restaurateur, who was born in Tubbercurry, Ireland, on September 14th, 1930. Jimmy died in New York City on 1 October 2021. After immigrating to the United States in the 1950s, Neary opened,[1] a pub and restaurant in Manhattan that for more than a half century has been a well-known spot for New York City power brokers. Neary's regulars have included Mayor Ed Koch, New York City police commissioners Ray Kelly and Bill Bratton, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, George Steinbrenner, Roger Ailes, Jimmy Breslin, Gay Talese and Maureen O'Hara.[2]

Early life and immigration to the United States[edit]

Neary was born to Catherine (Marren) Neary and Patrick Neary in Tubbercurry on September 14th, 1930. Neary was met in the United States by his older brother, John, who had immigrated earlier and worked as a police officer.[3] Upon arriving in the United States Jimmy worked initially as a porter at the New York Athletic Club and lived in the Bronx. He was later drafted into the Army where he learned how to drive a tank at Fort Hood in Texas before being deployed to Germany. After his military service, back in New York, he tended bar at P.J. Moriarty’s for several years. [3]

Professional life[edit]

Neary opened his namesake establishment, Neary’s, on St. Patrick's Day in 1967, with a fellow bartender, Brian Mulligan, who remained his partner until his death in the mid-1980s. Around that time Neary bought the building in which the restaurant was located. This proved to be a significant advantage during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. As other businesses closed because they couldn't afford the rent, but Neary’s stayed open.[4]


Jimmy Neary Way was dedicated on Wednesday, 14 September 2022, at 5 p.m. ET, in Midtown Manhattan in honor of the late owner of Neary's restaurant.[5] Mary Higgins Clark, another Neary’s regular, wrote Mr. Neary into many of her suspense novels, including one where he helps solve a murder.[6] Timothy Mara, co-owner of the football Giants, gave Neary two Super Bowl rings, that went on display at the restaurant. Mayor Mike Bloomberg always celebrated New Year’s Eve at Neary’s. In 2006 Mayor Bloomberg went to County Sligo to dedicate a monument to the Fighting 69th,[7] a storied New York Army regiment of Irish heritage and invited Neary to join him on his private jet. After the ceremony, the mayor surprised him by taking him to Neary’s hometown. Neary was a patriotic American who often spoke of his love for his adopted home country. He was also a devout Catholic who attended or watched mass daily.[8] Sports photographer, Neil Leifer, made a 2017 documentary film entitled: “Neary’s: The Dream at the End of the Rainbow,” which chronicled his story.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Neary married Eileen Twomey in 1966 and had three daughters, Una Neary, Ann Marie Bergwall, and Eileen Bowers and one son, Patrick as well as eight grandchildren.[2] Today’s Hoda Kotb referred to him as "an iconic New York City pub owner".[10]


  1. "Welcome to Nearys".
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Jimmy Neary obituary: New York restaurateur whose Irish bar became a power brokers' hub". The Irish Times.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Vadukul, Alex (October 12, 2021). "Jimmy Neary, Whose Irish Pub Became a Power Brokers' Hub, Dies at 91" – via
  4. "The Unsinkable Jimmy Neary".
  5. "East Side Street To Bear Name Of Beloved Bar Owner Jimmy Neary". Upper East Side, NY Patch. July 14, 2022.
  6. "Island Bookshelf: Farewell to the Queen of Suspense". Shelter Island Reporter. February 4, 2020.
  7. "Bloomberg unveils Sligo monument to Fighting 69th". The Irish Times.
  8. Simonson, Robert (December 20, 2019). "How Jimmy Neary, Irish Pub Maestro, Spends His Sundays" – via
  9. "Neary's: The Dream at the End of the Rainbow".
  10. "Hoda and Jenna remember pub owner Jimmy Neary".

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