It’s not often a huge tip suddenly brings a venerable old pub into the limelight. But that is what has just happened with Donohue’s, at 156 West 44th St. on the Upper East Side. Famous Oriental Art expert Robert Ellsworth left a $100,000 tip to 2 of the waitresses there acknowledging their friendship and wonderful service. He dined there daily for many years, and the lady who appears in the video is the Maureen who got the $100,000.
Donohues is not widely known for a good reason. It has a great bar where you can get anything you desire including draft Guiness but if you go in for a drink, it’s quite likely you may not even realize that down past the bar are 10 super comfy black upholstered booths with red tablecloths. And once there you can order great steaks, burgers, onion rings and all the other staples of good pub food all of which regualr patrons prize highly.
But if you venture there yourself you will probaly notice that most of those patrons are of a certain age. Donohue’s has been around since 1950 and it is totally part of the ‘old’ Upper Eqast side scene. Hipsters and foodies leave reviews on Yelp criticizing its old fashioned food and ‘tough’ steak, not realizing what they have stumbled into.
The regulars however would be horrified if their meal was served with too much blood seeping from just cooked steak. It’s all about what you are used to. And a visit to Donohues will introduce you to the ‘neighborhood pub’, the kind where people have been coming for 20 years, resent any millenials who drift in accidently and who choose familiarity over experimentation in their food. It is an absolutely great pub, but it’s not Williamsburg, it has to be appreciated on its own terms. If you want to know what a good old fashion Manhattan pub is like Donohues is the place to visit. The food is comfortable, safe and delicious and the service is superb. Just ask Mr Ellsworth.