Flanagan’s team from Lake Ronkonkoma takes over old ‘HQ’ in Islip


A historic building in downtown Islip has gotten back to its roots.

528 Main Street is mostly known as the place that previously housed Lily Flanagan’s, which operated for three decades in the downtown.

In 2020, the team from Lily’s returned, but not as the original owners.

Kyra Meehan-Comiskey, the granddaughter of Lily Flanagan, the pub’s namesake, opened The Harp & Hound in the location that last hosted Mary Dowling’s in October.

The 27-year-old launched the pub with her fellow co-owners at Flanagan’s in Lake Ronkonkoma: Matt Venturini, Nicholas Jimenez and Heather Hemberger.

The partners, who are all in their 20s or 30s, all previously worked under Lily Flanagan’s founders David and Niall Crowe.

In 1987, the Irish brothers opened Lily Flanagan’s in Islip and went onto open multiple locations, the last being Flanagan’s in Lake Ronkonkoma in 2013.

“It’s all of our stomping grounds,” said Hemberger of East Islip, on reacquiring the old Islip Flanagan’s location.

The Harp & Hound team all have fond memories of Lily Flanagan’s headquarters — that’s what the team would call the Islip location.

For some, it was their first job. Others met their spouses there. If you ask any of them, they all can remember the great times they had in the old haunt.

“If the walls could talk they would have a lot to say,” said Venturini.

Venturini, 35, started as a barback and is now the owner.

“I was sitting at the bar [in Islip] and noticed the tip cup that’s been sitting there for over 25 years was still there,” said Venturini. “Every dollar that went into that cup helped us buy Flanagan’s in Ronkonkoma. And every dollar that went into buying Flanagan’s helped up come back to Islip. It’s a big circle.”

The foursome has been on the lookout for a new spot for the last three to four years. When they heard Mary Dowling’s was closing, they jumped fast.

Mary Dowling’s took over this Lily Flanagan’s in 2017. It closed earlier in 2020.

“It was a Friday when we found out, by Sunday they were closed, and on Monday we had stuff in the works,” said Jimenez, who is also the head chef.

With the new owners, the building was fully renovated.

While by a different name, the establishment has the same proverbial foundation as Lily Flanagan’s.

“We’re all about the community,” said Meehan-Comiskey. “We want this to be a place for everyone. We want to be able to bring our kids and grandparents there too.”

As far as the name goes, it pays homage to the bar’s Celtic heritage. Harp & Hound is named after the Guinness’ harp, the restaurant’s logo, and the hound is after the wolfhound, a fierce animal in Ireland.

“It’s our own brand,” said Meehan-Comiskey, David and Niall’s niece. “The four of us trying to make it our place under great leadership.”

“A true Irish pub is a hub in the community,” added Venturini.

Top: The Harp & Hound co-owners (L-R) Matt Venturini, Heather Hemberger, Kyra Meehan-Comiskey, and Nicholas Jimenez.