Once upon a time this spot was the Sunbrite Bar, known as a haunt for the notorious Westies gang who ruled Hell's Kitchen in the 70s and 80s. Though the mob types don't hang out here anymore, it still houses neighborhooders, from old-timers to stylized youngsters, who all know the bartenders by first name. But despite TVs tuned to the game, Druids is not your typical Irish pub. Clean white tablecloths add a touch of quaint class to the dining room, works of local artists decorate the brick walls, and a menu of salads, pastas, and grilled meats are more dressed up than the usual bar fare. Some items could stand a simpler treatment, though, like the duck confit salad slathered with a ketchupy raspberry/red onion marmalade. But a refreshingly thin, buttery Irish potato soup is light enough so you can save room for hearty entrees like tender beef stew cooked in Guinness or filet of salmon in an herb buerre blanc that enhances the fish's silken texture. A square meal and a cold pint go down especially well in the quiet back garden, which is one of Hell's Kitchen's best kept secrets. That, and the restaurant's sordid past, that is.Extra
Check out the restaurant's walls and front windows for rotating exhibits of local artists.
Mon.—Sat., 11:30 a.m.—midnight; Sun., 11:30 a.m.—11 p.m.
Guinness beef tenderloin stew, $19