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Onieal's Restaurant & Bar

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The Scoop: Don't let the name, four-leaf clovers and friendly redheads fool you; Onieal's is anyt...
The Scoop: Don't let the name, four-leaf clovers and friendly redheads fool you; Onieal's is anything but an Irish pub. That said, the SoHo spot is still warm and welcoming, comfortable and casual. It's everything you love about a tavern, but in the midst of a low-key, upscale environment, with as many great options for lunch, brunch and dinner as they've got in the way of cocktails, wine and beer. Customer service is key, as waitresses like Caroline accidentally lets the lyrics to "Come on Eileen" slip out, joyously, while she serves you old stand-bys like Calamari and Fries, alongside more unique items like the Shabu-Shabu and Tuna Nicoise Salad. So, if all this talk of pubs and taverns was starting to make you think this place was all bar and no restaurant, think again. It's the total package that keeps neighbors coming back to celebrate everything from getting off work to getting married. Which is exactly the kind of place we'd want to be a regular at, too.

Known as playing the part of the fictional bar "Scout" in the Sex and the City series, Onieal's is an unpretentious, albeit chic place, where the servers smile as much as the guests and the regulars are the same eclectic mix of neighbors you'd expect Onieal's to have in SoHo. The first thing that struck me as impressive was the décor, as the dining room turns into a lounge, where plush, suede bench seating in chocolate browns and pretty silvery-blue paisley runs opposite the full length of the sleek bar, which is illuminated in amber and yellow back-lighting. On Friday and Saturday nights, the tables in the front dining area are removed and the usual partitions of textural glass panels slid to the side, so the whole place becomes one, unified by the deep-cut, artistically carved ceiling, which was specially imported from Venice. I have never—I repeat never—seen anything like it in a modern-day structure and I've certainly never seen anything so striking inside a place where I felt perfectly comfortable hanging out in jeans.

As contrasted as the ceiling is to our day and age, so, too, is the menu to what you might expect. Despite an array of classic and original cocktails (The Tom Joad and Ruby Slippers are the most popular, though the 4 Devils Fairy, named after the four devils seen in the ceiling, is a must-try, if you ask me) and impressive selection of beer (I counted 22 in bottles and 11 on draght, but that list changes at least once a week, so you always have something new to try), Onieal's keeps a fine list of quality wines on hand, for those who'll want it. And the neighbors who come in for their regular weeknight dinners do. There are no rules against starting early, either, so if you stop in on a mid-week afternoon, feel free to have a glass with your lunch or available-all-day brunch. Eggs Benedict and a beer at 2 p.m. on Tuesday? Why not? Onieal's is all about the "why not," so, whatever you're in the mood for, it's likely exactly what you'll get. Within reason, of course. So, don't go trying anything embarrassing, okay?

Menu Highlights:
Fries, $5
Shabu-Shabu, $12
Crisp & Hot Calamari, $13
Eggs Benedict, $14
Tuna Nicoise Salad, $19
The Tom Joad, $12
Ruby Slippers, $12
4 Devils Fairy, $12

Monday – Sunday, 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.

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