Legendary P.J. Clarke's Bartender Doug Quinn Says He Was Fired, And Customers Walked Out In Droves

Doug Quinn

Photo: YouTube screengrab

A tipster tells us that P.J. Clarke’s legendary bow-tie wearing bartender Doug Quinn, who was once profiled by the New York Times and called the “Bartender Of Your Dreams,” abruptly found himself out of his job last night.We were able to reach Quinn this morning by telephone.

Quinn, who worked at P.J. Clarke’s Midtown location, gave us his side of the story, and claimed he was fired. Our tipster says the customers left in droves when it happened.

P.J. Clarke’s has several locations in the city, but its Midtown saloon is the most famous and it’s frequented by Wall Street types, Bloomberg employees and many, many others.  It also appears in the popular AMC series Mad Men.  Our Deputy Editor Joe Weisenthal went there with Nassim Taleb once. 

We’ve left multiple messages with P.J. Clarke’s, and will update as warranted.

What follows is Quinn’s side of what happened last night at the bar…

The story Quinn told Business Insider is that last night at the bar there was an older man in the bar who had groped three young women. 

“I’m Doug Quinn.  This is P.J. Clarke’s and there’s a way to behave in the saloon.  I don’t tolerate this kind of shenanigans in the bar,” he said. 

Quinn, who is 6-foot-2 and 200 lbs., said the bar was a little busy and he tried to call the gentleman over but the man got “verbally abusive,” according to the bartender. 

“I told him he should leave and he told me ‘F you’,” Quinn said.  

Quinn told Business Insider that he thought about picking up the phone and calling the police in the area since he says he knows all of them.  

However, he said he decided to ask the bar’s new general manager for help.  

“So I told this guy, the general manager, ‘Could you do me a favour and please get this gentleman out of here?  He’s abusive and putting his hands on women.'” 

Quinn, who said he didn’t want to make a scene out of the situation, said the manager didn’t support him.

“Rather than supporting me and listening saying ‘You gotta go,’ he went over and kissed his hiney and took him in the dining room and bought him dinner,” he said, adding that the man was given a P.J. Clarke’s t-shirt. 

Quinn said he told the general manager he was “out of line” and that he was about to lose his bar staff.  Then, he said he and another bartender Justin stepped outside.

“We walked out for a moment.  ‘We can’t walk out. This guy is abusive and he’s allowed to stay in this establishment.  We’re not going to walk out.'”  

A few moments later, Quinn said he got a text from the managing partner that he should meet with him tomorrow.  The managing partner showed up later.

Quinn was told “it was time to go” and he was fired.  The other bartender Justin is also out, he told Business Insider.  

He told Business Insider that in his view what went on last night at P.J. Clarke’s was “despicable.”

“You know what it is time for me to go.  I can’t work in a place like that.”

The bar’s patrons, some of whom called themselves his “friends” even though Quinn says they’re actually his “clients,” walked out in droves after the legendary bartender’s dramatic ouster last night, according to the tipster and Quinn. 

“There’s good people out there.  It’s a nice thing that occurred.  Someone told me the place was empty.”

Some people even told the the general manager that they’d never come back again, according to Quinn. 

Quinn, who has a reputation for using terms of endearment for women such as “darling” and “gals,” and “brother” and “man” for guys, said he always tried to get to know everyone who came in the bar.  

He considered P.J. Clarke’s to be one of the last bastions of old world New York. 

“I call P.J. Clarkes the ‘Vatican of saloons’ and it was,” he said, adding, “If people can be abusive and grope women then it’s not the ‘Vatican of saloons’ anymore.”   

“You don’t want the Babe Ruth of bartenders?  There.  That’s fine.” 

When asked to clarify what that means he explained, “I think Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player because he was someone who was larger than life because he was a gentleman,” he said, adding, “He was kind to people.  He made wonderful gestures and that’s what, to me, makes me the best.”  

Quinn said he will open up a new place.  

SEE: A Former Banker Tells Us Why Departed P.J. Clarke’s Bartender Doug Quinn Was The ‘Greatest Bartender Ever’ >

SEE ALSO: Here’s Where Wall Street Likes To Get Drunk >

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