Mulholland’s has always seemed like a bit of of an odd outlier in Williamsburg. It’s a straight-up sports bar, with a wall of TVs and a kitchen serving up chicken wings to big Sunday football crowds. It would feel slightly more at home in Midtown, not on Grand Street down the road from the Skee-Ball bar and around the corner from the pinball bar. When it first opened 10 years ago, Brooklyn Paper said it “felt more like a bar in a strip mall;” the Times called it “probably the first place to be so completely dedicated to sports” in the neighborhood. It opened near the tail end of peak artsy Williamsburg, when the neighborhood was still the butt of fedora and kickball jokes. Muholland’s seemed, for lack of better terms, an oasis for bros in the hipster desert.
Then a strange thing happened: the neighborhood changed. Trash Bar a few doors down closed; vegan fast food joint Foodswings across the street turned into a wine bar owned by James Murphy. The condos came in and so did the chain stores — and chain bars. Mulholland’s has always been embraced by a diverse clientele, but now it seems almost quaint amid the change, a stalwart of slightly older Williamsburg as the neighborhood becomes a mini Manhattan.
“We stuck in there kinda just being the originals,” owner Shawn Mulholland said. This weekend, the bar is celebrating its 10th anniversary with three hours of free beer and a night of music from Brooklyn-born artists. Mulholland has seen his customers change a lot over that time, though he doesn’t know if the bar has another 10 years left. (more…)