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A Rocky road

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Everyone was “up to 90” when Rocky Sullivan’s — an Irish-themed bar that drew in young suits like leprechauns to pots of gold — moved from Manhattan to a desolate street corner in Red Hook.

Local boozehounds, bitter over the recent closure of neighborhood bars, snickered at the unfettered optimism of Rocky’s owners Chris Byrne and Patrick Farrelly. Two short months later, the laughter, like so many bad hangovers, is beginning to fade.

While the Liberty Heights Tap Room, which previously occupied Rocky’s space, was loved by the underage rockers that played there regularly, it never took off with the over-21 set. Smartly, Byrne and Farrelly have injected a new program of adult entertainment (not that kind) into the bar, while keeping the things that were working, like affordable and tasty brick-oven pizzas (pictured), monthly kid-core rock shows and pints of Six Point Craft Ale.

The result is a family-friendly pub that locals can depend on for good beer, a low-key crowd and, starting this month, weekly big-name rock shows. Eventually, Byrne — a musician and former member of the legendary 1990s East Village Celtic rock band Black 47 — plans to rip out the wooden divider that separates the bar from a small dining room and add more bar-style seating, allowing musicians to play for a larger crowd.

On a recent Thursday, my only disappointment was with the lack of choices on tap. The Van Dyke Street bar is the home arena for Six Point, an innovative brewery that has been called the city’s best. At the Tap Room, the craft ale was the only beer for sale. For now, it appears that the new management has replaced that selection with generic tap choices and added a buck to the price of the two standard Six Point lagers (Sweet Action and Bengali Tiger); at $6, it’s a dollar more than the Bait and Tackle on Van Brunt Street. If Rocky’s wants to stay in the ring and compete for the after-dinner crowd with the B & T, a better selection of Six Point ales could help.

Rocky Sullivan’s (34 Van Dyke St., at Dwight Street in Red Hook) accepts American Express, Visa and MasterCard. The bar is open daily: until 2 am on weeknights and 4 am on weekends. For information, call (718) 246-8050 or visit www.rockysullivans.c....

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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