Playwright Celtic Pub
For devotees of sports and beer as well as anyone in the theater district who needs a bite and a break, check out Playwright Celtic Pub. Every conceivable sport -- Sunday NFL, college games, hockey and some I can't identify--is shown on one of the many, big, always-on televisions. Handy to all public transportation, Playwright is where guys (and ladies with them) come to hang out and eat corned beef, the cholesterol-blowing but incredibly savory, Irish breakfast with eggs, bacon, and both black and white pudding or the grilled hanger steak served with the obligatory fries. At breakfast, a "mini-Irish" brings ham, eggs, both puddings (types of sausage) with a toasted baguette, or crab cakes over Caesar salad. The food is run of the mill but largely edible, the service friendly and the overall experience what you'd expect from a Times Square Irish bar that doesn't smell of beer and gets the job done.
Playwright attracts plenty of women who come with guys as well as in groups or solo, in search of a something to drink and nibble before a matinee or after shopping or seeing a show. When I dropped in, badly in need of reviving, the kindly Irish woman bartender was soliticious, serving me a Bloody Mary alongside a pedestrian but perfectly okay Eggs Benedict with nicely runny poached eggs on a bed of spinach.
As befits a pub of this kind, Happy Hour is very happy indeed, from 10 AM to 7 PM daily, a vast list of draft beers pour forth as well as beer in bottles, tequila shooters, wines by the glass or bottle and cocktails of every persuasion like Sex on the Hudson with coconut rum, Curacao, vodka and pineapple juice that goes down easily.
You can eat at the bar or the high tables scattered throughout the long, narrow room or go full out at the restaurant upstairs or at the rooftop beer garden. Convivial as all get-out, Playwright hosts special events including nights for women, Halloween and other holidays bashes and "speed roomating" gigs that offer drinks with help for those searching for someone to share space.
In what can be an overpriced neighborhood, from Mondays through Fridays you can avail yourself of a very reasonable lunch such as a meatball sandwich or chopped turkey sandwich in pita, sustaining if not exactly haute.
The somewhat more formal restaurant (although formality doesn't live here) offers those Irish wonders, Buffalo wings, flatbread pizza and guacamole aps with entrees including a "Celtic burger" or grilled salmon with caramelized onions and apricot chutney, everything served by friendly staff always ready to discuss a game.
Playwright is not a foodie scene; it's a convenience near the theater. That said, the loo was cleaner than many I've been in, the welcome warm and the eats just fine on an unexpectedly chilly morning. Portions are generous and prices more than reasonable. The place can get rowdy and St. Patrick's Day is one to skip but as Irish bars with protein on the side go, Playwright will serve.
Review By: Mari Gold