Farrell's Bar & Grill opened in Windsor Terrace in 1933 and quickly became a cornerstone of the neighborhood around Prospect Park. A whole community coalesced around it, with the bar's longtime owner Eddie Farrell serving as a surrogate father to many of its patrons—and that included director Jay Cusato and producer Rob Martin, who are now making a documentary about it. The film, Why Farrell's?, is a personal story for them.
"The goal is to tell a very human story, through the lens of this historic bar and the community that exists alongside it," Martin told Gothamist earlier this week. "The neighborhood, Windsor Terrace, is where I was born and raised, as was my family for generations."
For some in the community, Farrell's has been a meeting place—it was like living in "a small village" that happened to exist inside of a giant, ever-changing city. Locals also continue to appreciate the bar's big beer "to go" option.
The two men set out to try to understand why, with gentrification and the vast demographic changes in the neighborhood and all over the city, this particular bar and community was able to remain relatively stable over 87 years. Martin added that a lot of the focus of the doc is on Farrell, "who really set the standards that are still followed."
The filmmakers are throwing a fundraiser launch party this Saturday at Shepherd’s Hall—they'll be showing off clips from the film in progress, they'll have one-of-a-kind local artwork created specifically for the event, and unique pieces of Farrell's memorabilia will be sold in a silent auction. Among the items available for sale will be the old to-go cups, which were replaced with paper in the wake of the city's foam ban: "The final Styrofoam Containers, which were recently retried, in a collectors gift box, unavailable anywhere else."