Granddaughter of Irish Immigrants to Shutter Bar on St. Patrick’s

Patty Brenes (left), one of the Carriage House’s first chefs, and Dorothy Waggelman (Photo by Pamela Wong via Bklyner)

The Old Carriage Inn sports lounge and grill in Park Slope will close on St. Patrick’s Day, says the owner who is the granddaughter of Irish immigrants, after 35 years in business.

“We watched all the other places close over the years,” Dorothy Waggelman told Bklyner‘s Pamela Wong, “and I held it for as long as I possibly could. It’s heartbreaking.”

“My grandmother came over from Ireland with a cardboard suitcase, [and] met my grandfather, who was from Northern Ireland. They fell in love, got married….” she explained at the bar Tuesday afternoon. In 1935, her grandmother, Margaret Stafford, opened one of Brooklyn’s first laundromats at 314 7th Avenue (now home to an Investors Bank).

Waggelman said that in addition to serving drinks and having fun, she “was also here to help people.”

“Being located near the hospital [NY-P Brooklyn Methodist is just a block away], I’ve helped people through a lot of devastating times in their lives, and I’ve been with them for the happy times.”

“I’m now serving three generations,” she adds, noting she has told customers, “I remember when your mother was going to the hospital to have you and she popped in,” just before checking into Methodist.

When asked why she is shuttering a business she so clearly loves, Waggelman explained that her brother and sister felt it was time to sell the property. “When they wanted to sell the building, it kind of put me in a hard situation because in order to keep the bar going I would have had to pay a market rent [to the new owner],” which at today’s prices, she cannot afford to do. “If it were up to me this would have lived forever.”

For more on the Old Carriage Inn and Waggelman, including the entrepreneurial spirit spanning generations in her family, how the bar adapted to the changing neighborhood and stories from customers and employees, go to Bklyner.

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