Daily, 11am-4am; kitchen closes at 11pm
6 at 33rd St.; 6 at 28th St.
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
21st St. to 38th St., First Ave. to Fifth Ave.
In the tavern-laden neighborhood of Murray Hill, Banc Café is right at home. Owners Ronan Conlon, Mark Fox, and Andrew Breslin, Irishmen all, have ties to The Red Lion and owned the well-loved Blooms Public House in Sunnyside, Queens, until it was destroyed by fire in 2003. This go around, they wanted something more eatery than drinkery. Located on a Third Avenue corner that was a bank in the twenties and thirties, the sprawling two-roomed space combines a financial institution's exterior with a bohemian interior that spills onto the sidewalk during warmer months. Spice-hued, textured-plaster walls, vaulted archways, and ornamental crossbeams combine with black and white tile floors, tacked velvet and leather barstools and banquettes, and onion-shaped lampshades while a J-shaped bar inlaid with colored glass takes center stage. Foodwise, a global menu replaces pub grub yet underneath the exotic trappings and ochre light, Café Blanc remains an Irish pub. Flat-screen TVs flash from every corner, pop music blares from the speakers, orders for Guinness outnumber those for specialty cocktails, and dishes like seared scallops with risotto, sesame crusted salmon and tuna tartare seem out of place. The happiest people at Banc Café—mostly locals, lasses, and business lads hooting for their team or watching celebrity poker—are enjoying simple salads, burgers, or a nicely done filet mignon.Extra
The dinner menu may eschew bangers and mash but check out Banc Café's weekend brunch for an Irish breakfast worthy of the most authentic of pubs.
Mon.—Wed., 4 p.m.—10 p.m. and Thu.—Fri, 4 p.m.—8 p.m., $6 cosmos and martinis, $4 selected draft beers
Country salad, $9; chopped sirloin burger, $12