Like Cheers, The Quiet Man Public House on Division Street in downtown Peekskill was a place not only where everyone knew each other’s name, but where everyone was treated like family.
So when owner Cathal “Chuck” McGreal announced on Facebook last week that his beloved community staple was closing its doors after nine years after being unable to negotiate a new lease, it felt as if a close relative had passed away.
“Division Street, and Peekskill as a whole, will never be the same without the anchor that is The Quiet Man,” said Lauren Brady, who credited McGreal with helping create the annual New Year’s Day Polar Plunge at the Peekskill riverfront that has raised thousands of dollars for her and her sister’s non-profit organization This is Me Foundation.
“It is crazy to think how much that one idea has impacted our community, and how many scholarships it has funded, but that is Chuck, always thinking of ideas to give back and make Peekskill the best it can be,” Brady remarked. “As close family friends of Chuck, The Quiet Man holds a very special place in the hearts of my family with many of our most special occasions being celebrated at the Purple Heart bar. It was a true labor of love that I feel lucky to have experienced and shared in.”
McGreal, an Irish immigrant who championed the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and served as its grand marshal in 2014, was forced to shut down The Quiet Man in March when the coronavirus pandemic hit, but used the down time to try to extend the existing lease.
However, despite the assistance of the Peekskill Business Improvement District (BID) and Mayor Andre Rainey, McGreal said he was advised by the estate of his landlord that “they wanted to go in a different direction.”
“It is with a deep sadness that reaches to the very bottom of my soul, I must say goodbye to all of you. It has been a wild ride these past 9.5 years and I have enjoyed every minute of it,” McGreal stated. “I have strived to provide an authentic Irish experience for our community, a place where friends and families could gather to talk about their day, or celebrate a birthday, graduation, promotion, or to celebrate the life of a loved one gone too soon. A place where our Irish diaspora could come and feel a bit like home. A place where the traditional sounds of Irish music wafting through the air and people laughing and singing would make all feel welcome. A place where the creamiest pint of Guinness would bring a smile to the lips that drank it and flavors of Ireland would warm the belly. I hope that the Quiet Man has provided all these things and more to Peekskill and communities near and far.
Kaitlin Cleaves, who worked as a bartender for five years at The Quiet Man, said the bar was adorned with name plates of those customers who could be found there on any given day, which she called “The Quiet Man family.”
“The personalities of its customers were as diverse as they possibly could be, yet they were all brought together as a family within those four walls,” Cleaves wrote. “As a former employee of The Quiet Man I was often invited to customers holiday celebrations, because to them I was more than the bartender and to me our relationship reached far beyond the confines of the building. This wasn’t specific to me, the entire staff and customer base had amazing relationships and shared countless memories.”
She added, “Although Peekskill will carry on, it will be forever changed by The Quiet Man, and Chuck McGreal’s persistent dedication to the community and his ‘family.’”
Besides The Polar Plunge, McGreal and The Quiet Man were avid supporters of The Turkey Trot, Police and Fire 5K, CHHOP and many other local organizations.
The BID released a statement saying it was “deeply saddened” by The Quiet Man closing and stressed McGreal “wanted more than anything to renew his lease.”
“Almost 10 years ago, The Quiet Man Public House became an instant landmark, a foodie favorite, and a gathering spot to celebrate life’s milestones,” the BID stated. “Chuck is emblematic of the Irish immigrant success story. He’s an efficacious businessman and a dedicated community servant in his adopted country and his adopted city.”
“His enthusiasm for all things Irish is contagious and we will miss that so very much,” the BID continued. “A grateful Peekskill community heartfully says “Thank You” and “Slainte!” Till we toast again!”