I dropped byKatie Mullen's
on Friday night to get a look at the finished place -- and to see whether the numbers quoted to me regarding its first few days of business (800 covers one day, pushing 900 the next) were within hollering distance of the truth.
And you know what? They were. When I rolled in around 5:30 p.m., people were just streaming in. I did a 'round-the-horn tour -- stopping by all four bars that make up the entirety of the place -- and there wasn't a single chair or corner that wasn't full. Rough estimate? By quitting time at offices across downtown, there were already more than 400 bodies packed in the bar at 1550 Court Place, and more people were arriving every minute.
It was mad. And yet, service was holding together. The bartenders weren't freaking out. Everyone seemed to be having a good time while the fiddle-and-pipes played over the sound system and hundreds of gallons of Guinness were poured down hundreds of necks.
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Manager Neil Moxon (ex of French 250) told me that he was pretty sure they hadn't lost a single table or a single customer since the doors had opened, despite the occasional pandemonium rushes on the bar and the kitchen.
Chef John Ruane told me that he and his guys were never running more than twenty minutes on a check -- quite an accomplishment considering that, at Wednesday lunch, the floor went on a wait just ten minutes after opening the doors.
And when I asked owner Paul Maye, who'd given me a preview tour a week earlier, how he was holding up, he looked at me, smiled and rolled his eyes back.
"Shattered," he said. "Shattered."