The White Plains Examiner

Tighe’s Tavern a White Plains Tradition Since 1935

We are part of The Trust Project
Owner John Tighe with waitress Tina Beaton of Tighe’s Tavern, White Plains.
Owner John Tighe with waitress Tina Beaton of Tighe’s Tavern, White Plains.

During the month of March the Irish tradition of White Plains is celebrated in a big way with many of the established families in the city hailing from the Emerald Isle. At 174 Martine Avenue, Tighe’s Tavern may be the oldest business in White Plains located at the same address and housed in the same building since its opening in 1935. It proudly flies the orange, white and green flag of Ireland above the entry door.

Current owner John Tighe took the business over about 22 years ago, but the pub’s beginnings go back to an Irish immigrant named Patrick Tighe, John’s father, who left the family homestead in County Galway, a milk dairy business, to start anew in America.

Coming through Ellis Island, the 22-year-old found his way to White Plains in 1930 and five years later opened the pub-style restaurant. He married a young woman also from County Galway and settled into White Plains where he raised a family and grew a business that soon became a central meeting point for many White Plains and Westchester County leaders.

The Tighe family flourished with uncles opening businesses in other parts of White Plains and Westchester and Patrick’s own family grew to become one of the more well known in the area. His children and grandchildren played in the same neighborhood and went to the same schools, all graduating from White Plains High School.

If there’s one gift the Irish have more than any other, it is the ability to create a friendly environment where tall tales, business deals and happy chatter co-exist over good food and a pint of beer. Tighes Tavern soon became the meeting place where one could be seen and met by family, friends and business acquaintances alike.

John Tighe remembers that he started working at the restaurant when he was 12 years old. Attending St. Bernard’s Elementary School as did his siblings; John found his way around the city easily. It was a bustling time during the 1960s when business was booming at the restaurant and in the city as well, a different atmosphere from the White Plains of today. Tighe’s was one of few family-style restaurants located in the downtown. It was the go to place.

When his father gave the business to his older brother Patrick junior, John continued to work with his brother. When Patrick junior passed. “I decided to take over and at that time expanded to add the existing dining room,” John said.

“It was a big job, but the business needed to step up.”

John has a feel for what people want when he creates his menu. He calls it pub food and in a way that means comfort foods like burgers and fries, soups, stews, steaks, salads and sandwiches and of course an assortment of beers, as well as a hearty cup of tea.

Everything is prepared fresh and it tastes homemade, cooked right there on the spot for you. The burgers are made from high-quality 90 to 10 (very low fat) beef and are cooked on a charcoal grill.

John works to keep the prices down, a difficult task in tough economic times, but the food is good and the prices right.

Tina Beaton from Edinburgh, Scotland, has worked alongside John from the beginning. She joined the staff at Tighe’s in 1965.

If there is something about recent White Plains history you might want to know, Tina could possibly tell you. She knows all her customers by name and says the establishment was a political hot spot during the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Remembering back, Tina says Robert Kennedy, Jr., Ed Brady and former Governor Pataki ate at the restaurant. In fact she had a discussion with Pataki where he told her Tighe’s had the best corned beef and cabbage in all of Westchester County and probably in New York State.

As part of the St. Patrick’s Day Cultural Tour on March 9, Tighe’s Tavern will feature the traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner, shepherd’s pie, lamb stew, fish and chips, and of course, Becks beer, Guinness on draft and Smithwick’s Irish Ale. The same specials will be on the menu St. Patrick’s Day weekend, March 15, 16 and 17.

If you are looking for a place to hold a meeting or party you can call John Tighe at 914-684-9405. There is no delivery service, but you are welcome any time.

If you happen to be in White Plains this Saturday and find yourself at Mamaroneck and Martine Avenues (it is right along the parade route), look up the street toward the Westchester County office building and if you spy the Irish flag, you know there’s a friendly face ready to greet you there at Tighe’s Tavern.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.