Kevin Mooney, the magnetic owner of a legendary old man bar in Park Slope, died last Monday after a five-year cancer battle. He was 76.
His long-standing Mooney’s Pub was a rare hub of diversity — but also a reminder that before the stroller moms, soccer dads and other gentrifiers, Park Slope was a predominently Irish neighborhood.
Mooney was a dirt poor immigrant when he settled in Brooklyn in 1957 with just $20 in his pocket. But he had something more than money, said old friend John Beaty: “He could charm the daylights out of anybody.”
“He kept the entire bar laughing with his stories,” said Beaty. “His hands were the size of a first baseman’s glove — and he used them; he had incredible work ethic.”
Mooney was born in the blink-and-miss-it town of Woodford, County Galway, Ireland and was eager to see the world. After moving to the United States, he joined the Army. After serving his new country, he and his brother Michael opened Mooney’s on Seventh Avenue in 1969.
The twosome then opened a second bar on Flatbush Avenue, where a neon green clover sign flickered in the window and Patsy Cline crooned on the jukebox inside.
A rent spike in 2008 encouraged the aging Mooney to close the neighborhood institution. (The family still owns a bar with the same name in Bay Ridge.)
“He was a friendly, open person,” said Tom Gilbert, whose softball league has held its annual “Winter Meeting” at the watering hole for two decades. “He was welcoming to strangers even when the neighborhood was rough.”
One of those strangers happened to be “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” screenwriter Kelly Masterson, who named a bar in the film after the establishment.
Apart from his business, Mooney was a man of many interests: He once studied psychotherapy, was an avid sports fan and attended Holy Rosary R.C. Church, South Beach in Staten Island, where he lived.
He is survived by his wife Bridget Mooney; sons Patrick, Kevin, John and Brendan; daughter Barbara Hughes; brothers Michael, John and Patrick and sister Bridget Tully.
Funeral Service for Kevin Mooney at Holy Rosary R.C. Church 0 80 Jerome Ave. between McClean Avenue and Kramer Street in Staten Island, (718) 727-3360], April 25, 9:30 am.
©2011 Community News Group