Legendary sports photographer Neil Leifer directs this labor of love that explores the history of Neary’s Irish pub in Manhattan. “Neary’s: The Dream at the End of the Rainbow” moves from the celebrity-packed booths of the restaurant back to the village streets of County Sligo, Ireland, painting an affectionate picture of an old New York institution and the man behind it.
Jimmy Neary immigrated from Tubbercurry, Ireland, to New York City, where he worked multiple jobs. After serving in the Korean War and tending bar when he returned home, he opened his own pub on St. Patrick’s Day in 1967. Since then, his namesake restaurant has become a neighborhood institution, attracting big names such as Michael Bloomberg, Kathie Lee Gifford and Timothy Cardinal Dolan, as well as regulars who show up daily. Each famous face appears in the film to toast Neary’s atmosphere, its food and its charming owner.
“Neary’s” is well intentioned, and it's clear from the film that everyone involved on-screen and off loves the restaurant and its proprietor. But even at only 60 minutes, the film feels long, like it might have been better suited to a short or a segment on the local news. The documentary will have the most appeal for people who either have eaten Neary’s herring or corned beef and cabbage or viewers who want a glimpse of a disappearing city.
‘Neary’s: The Dream at the End of the Rainbow’
Running time: 1 hour
Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica