Two Scots and an Irishman walk into a bar. This is not a joke, this was the reality in 2009, when Mr Donal Brophy (the Irishman) and his business partners, Mr Brian McGrory and Ms Mary Wan (the Scots) opened Highlands, a woody, sophisticated, beyond cosy gastropub, which brought New York's tiny West Village a new kind of bar, and was recognised as an instant classic (it is, as it sounds, the ultimate date spot; several couples - gay and straight - have held their weddings at Highlands, it being the bar where they had their first date). They soon followed up with Mary Queen of Scots, in the frenetic Lower East Side, a popular weekend spot since shuttered, as well as Whitehall, a modern, London-inspired restaurant that quickly became one of New York's favourites for its famously fussy fashion set and Byron at The Surf Lodge in Montauk.
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