The 10 Oldest Bars in NYC

The 10 Oldest Bars in NYC

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With new bars opening each week and trendy clubs constantly popping up around the city, it’s easy to forget that New York has a history that still lives on to this day. The character and personality of the Big Apple dates back centuries, starting from simple oak wood bars serving brown liqueur and aged ale. For anyone craving a flavor of “Old New York”, this guide is for you. Check out this list of the 10 oldest bars in Manhattan and get your nerd on.

Fraunces Tavern

est. 1762

Neighborhood: Financial District

Location: 54 Pearl St

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Fraunces Tavern is both a restaurant and a museum, located in one of the city’s oldest buildings on the southern tip of Manhattan. George Washington himself frequented this spot, known for its whiskey selection and wide variety of craft beers. Stop in for happy hour during the week or on Saturdays for live jazz during brunch and rock performances at night.

Flashback in time: Originally purchased by Samuel Fraunces, the tavern was sold and purchased 15 times until 2015.

Bridge Café – CLOSED

est. 1794

Neighborhood: Financial District

Location: 279 Water St

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Home to a former brothel, the Bridge Cafe is the oldest serving tavern in New York. Unfortunately, this bar was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 and is currently closed. Stay tuned to find out when they will reopen!

What’s the holdup? Adam Weprin has received multiple offers to buy his bar but he’s not budging and intends to open up in 2 months, or so he’s said for a few years now. (but we have faith it’ll be soon!)

Ear Inn

est. 1812

Neighborhood: Tribeca

Location: 326 Spring St

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Located in an 18th Century historic building, this bar is known for its rustic charm and live music. This spot is marked with a simple neon sign reading “EAR” outside of an unassuming brick building, but don’t let the facade fool you – this dive is full of great drinks and old school jams to bob along to while you sip.

Spooky! According to the official website: “Ghosts have been heard and seen, in particular one “Mickey,” a sailor still waiting for his clipper ship to come in.”

Julius’

est. 1840

Neighborhood: West Village

Location: 159 W 10th St

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Known as one of the oldest gay bars in the Village, Julius’ is a great local dig with friendly staff and a laid back vibe. With cheap food and a low-key live music scene, this bar is great for relaxed weekend afternoons and late nights alike.

Fresh beginnings: Julius’ originally opened their doors as a grocery store and while it doesn’t serve produce anymore, it does serve up juicy $6 burgers.

McSorley’s Old Ale House

est. 1854

Neighborhood: East Village

Location: 15 E 7th St

As you can gather from the name, McSorley’s is an old-time Irish bar that serves just two kinds of ale – light or dark. The ground is covered in sawdust and the walls are filled with old memorabilia and historic newspaper articles, giving patrons a true feeling of “Old New York”. One of the last bars to allow women to enter, the pub’s motto has changed from “Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies” to “Be Good or Be Gone”.

Pete’s Tavern

est. 1864

Neighborhood: Gramercy

Location: 129 E 18th St

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Set in the quaint and beautiful Gramercy Park, this cozy spot is known for it’s welcoming bartenders and impressive beer selection, including their own brew “Pete’s Ale”. Grab a table outside during the warmer months or cozy up at the vintage bar in the winter – either way, this historic landmark is worth a visit.

The Landmark Tavern

est. 1868

Neighborhood: Midtown East

Location: 626 11th Ave

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Another Irish tavern with strong brews and memorable food, The Landmark Tavern is a waterfront saloon that turned into a speakeasy during Prohibition. Now back to its Irish roots, this pub serves fantastic fare, including bangers & mash, shepherd’s pie, and corned beef sandwiches.

Old Town Bar

est. 1882

Neighborhood: Union Square

Location: 45 E 18th St

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Step through the doorway and immediately get transported back in time. With wooden booths mirroring the marble-topped bar, Old Town Bar is exactly what its name suggests – a classic bar with an old town vibe (and great wings!). Conveniently located in Union Square, this spot makes you feel right at home with old friends and good brews.

P.J. Clarke’s

est. 1884

Neighborhood: Midtown East

Location: 915 Third Avenue

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Described by the New York Times as the “Vatican of Saloons”, this spot has remained virtually unchanged since opening its doors in 1884. Many notable visitors have made appearances at this historic tavern, including Nat King Cole who proclaimed that his P.J. Clarke’s bacon cheeseburger was “the Cadillac of burgers”. Needless to say, P.J. Clarke’s is a must-see in New York for the brews, burgers, or the human leg bones over the door (an Irish talisman of luck).

Mulberry Street Bar

est. 1908

Neighborhood: Bowery

Location: 176 Mulberry St

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A Little Italy gem, Mulberry Street Bar stands out among the otherwise tourist-trappy area. With a large wooden bar, tin ceilings and a subway tile floor, this spot is perfect for a strong mixed drink or olive-topped martinis. The old-school jukebox keeps the historic vibe alive with tunes like Elvis and Sinatra floating through the room.

 

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