Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Oldest Bar in New York City

After my dad and I ate at The Brindle Room last week, we stopped by McSorley’s Old Ale House in the East Village. The old-fashioned pub, established in 1854, is supposedly the oldest bar in New York City.

I’ve visited some pretty ancient pubs while studying in Europe, but most of them have been renovated for a more modern feel. McSorley’s, however, looks like it came straight out of 19th century Ireland – it even boasts some friendly Irish bartenders!  The tavern feels timeless and dated, but also relaxed and cozy enough to sit around a table with friends.
Faded photographs, trinkets, and newspaper clippings hang on the wooden walls.  McSorley’s embraces the old, and it works well – especially given its history. The pub didn't let women in until 1970 (what?!), and the some of the wall art is more than 100 years old. 
The venue isn’t huge, and it certainly was crowded for a Monday night. The first half of the place includes the bar, complete with rustic kegs and some tables. More tables are set up in the back for extra seating. My dad and I couldn't find empty seats when we arrived at 9 p.m. Monday night so we stood at the bar. We each ordered a beer, and the bartender gave us four total. I guess that’s protocol for McSorley’s – when you order a beer, you get two small glasses instead of one big one.
McSorley's only serves two types of beer: light ale and dark ale. We both ordered the lighter option, and I actually liked it a lot. I’m not the biggest beer fan but I would definitely order this again.

Another funny thing I noticed was sawdust covering the ground. I was obviously confused, so my dad  googled the answer. Apparently sawdust was used in the past to soak up any liquid on the bar floor... interesting. And dirty.
Verdict: If you don’t mind a loud, tourist-y bar, definitely check out McSorley’s! I’d say it’s a nice historic place to visit on a night of bar hopping.