Pat’s Sports Bar set to close after 15 years in Middle Village – QNS.com
As owners of Pat’s Sports Bar preparing to close later this month, they say their favorite memory of the past 15 years in Middle Village has been the friends they made along the way.
Patrick Grillo Jr. and his wife Joanne will be closing Pat’s on June 30. The couple fondly remember all the customers who sat at their bar which they now consider family.
“The people at this bar fell in love with my wife and I, and we fell in love with them,” Grillo said. “It’s going to be hard to leave, but it’s going to be a new chapter in my life.”
Grillo opened Pat’s in 2007 to honor the memory of his late father.
“My dad was a trailer driver but also worked as a bar manager in Long Island City for 10 years. So he always wanted a bar, and I said I’d find him one,” Grillo said. I started looking for a space in 2005. In the meantime, my father passed away.”
Grillo previously worked in construction as a carpenter, but he always knew he wanted to work for himself. Throughout his life he had various business ventures in western Queens.
“All my life, I wanted to work for myself. I opened a hot dog stand when I was 19. I opened a candy store, a delicatessen, then I went to work for a construction company,” Grillo said.
Grillo eventually opened Pat’s, the business in which he would find the most passion tied to the memory of his father. He worked especially hard to make Pat’s feel like a community hub, where everyone knows your name.
“I made it a family bar because that’s what I grew up in,” Grillo said. “It’s a neighborhood bar. If you’re worried about your wife and want to meet her at a bar after work, she can come in and I won’t let anyone bother her. If you were a new client or just moved to the neighborhood, I would make sure you met everyone – and that’s how it should be.
Pat’s Sports Bar has hosted birthday parties, fundraisers, Christmas, Labor Day and 4th of July parties that have consistently drawn a crowd over the years.
Grillo and his wife Joanne are retiring and moving to Florida in August after living in Queens all their lives.
Looking back, Grillo thinks he was so well-liked in the community due to his giving nature.
“My wife says I have a really big heart,” Grillo said. “I care about people. If somebody’s not working, I’ll put them to work and make them a bartender so they have some money on them.
Pat’s Sports Bar has battled the COVID-19 pandemic, like many other businesses in the hospitality industry. Pat stayed open only three days a week to serve food.
“The pandemic knocked me out,” Grillo said. “We spent two years trying to stay open, but everyone in this neighborhood helped us. Locals and regulars were buying food just to keep me going. They were good; for a $10 dish they would give me a $20 bill.
Longtime friend and Pat’s regular Janet Augustyn said Grillo and Joanne will be missed in Middle Village and the community will never forget the loving environment created at their bar.
“His customers were like family to him and his generosity showed through for many years, especially in his love of cooking and throwing parties and barbecues for us,” Augustyn said. “He has also been involved in hosting various charities dear to his heart and darts leagues as well.”
Pat’s Sports Bar was covered wall to wall with photos and Yankee memorabilia that were sentimental for Grillo. He said he gave his clients his all.
“Pictures of me, pictures of stars, footballs, baseball bats – everything I had I gave them because they kept me alive for 15 years. Without them I am nobody,” Grillo said. “There are a lot of customers who are part of the family now; they are not just customers.
On June 25, Pat’s Sports Bar will have a final get-together with all regular customers to celebrate the joy and love that business brings to the community and Grillo’s life.