P.J. Hanley’s to return with new, old name

P.J. Hanley’s to return with new, old name
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Drinkers rejoice — P.J. Hanley’s is coming back, but you’re going to have to call it “Ryan’s”

Carroll Garden’s beloved watering hole and pub, which suddenly closed in March, will soon reopen under its original 19th century moniker.

Owners of the the 139-year-old saloon, which has been known as P.J. Hanley’s since the 1950s, are back on good terms with their landlords and will reopen in the coming months, ending a closure that began when barkeep James McGown filed for bankruptcy and closed the joint on Court St. between Third Place and Fourth Place.

“He’s been paying the rent and doing whatever it is he has to do,” said Deborah Hanley, the landlord and former operator of the bar, who confirmed the plans.

Back in March, things weren’t so peachy. McGown said he was readying a bankruptcy auction and that he had several investors interested in buying the watering hole that opened in 1874.

But the sale never happened. Since then, the bar with the colorful history has been shuttered, with paper covering the windows.

Legend has it that mobster Al Capone held his wedding reception at the bar after getting married at the nearby St. Mary Star of the Sea. In the ’50s, John Hanley bought the pub, renamed it, and ran it until 1995, when he sold it to his nieces. They kept the bar going for nine years. In 2005, the nieces sold the business to McGown, but continued to own the building.

Even though the bankruptcy is no longer in play, McGown and Hanley are still battling in court over issues related to building repairs.

Hanley said she was sad that McGown has decided to change the name.

“It’s been in our family for so many years,” she said. “But it was Ryan’s before it was Hanley’s.”

McGown declined to comment on when the bar will reopen or its pending name change.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.