McSorley's Ale House, New York City
This was The Husband's favorite bar. McSorley's Old Ale House has the distinction of being NYC's oldest continually operating saloon - and it looks it. From sawdust-strewn floors to memorabilia-covered walls to potbellied stove, very little has changed since its establishment, in 1854, by enterprising Irishman, John McSorley. This is the real deal - Abraham Lincoln drank here, for cryin' out loud! It was the traditional working man's bar: off-limits to women until 1970 and only then opened opened its doors to the Fairer Sex, to much hue and cry, after being sued for discrimination. In fact, one of their mottos was "Good ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies".
You come here for one thing: ale. Do not ask for beer and don't request a tap list as there are only two kinds: dark cream stock ale and light lager, and you get two mugs of foamy for a fiver. Yessiree, as insanely cluttered as the walls may be, they're into austerity when it comes to everything else: cash only, no barstools, no sports TV and no music. There are, however, tables along the back to rest those tourist-weary feet while you polish off your brews.
In fine 1800's style, a couple of chalkboards list their Bill of Fare - short but blessedly cheap for cash-strapped travelers. The cheese plates, with onions and hot mustard, are a great accompaniment to the ales. Don't like ale? They offer a couple of sodas but I'm guessing if you don't have a passion for the pint, you won't go here anyway.
This is not a place for your Sunday Best and it's absolutely packed, loud and crazy at night so come in the afternoon if you don't like Close Encounters of the Schnockered Kind. And be warned - they'll expect to be bringing you fresh rounds until you tell them to stop, and if you stop you'll be expected to move along.
Dress Code: You've got to be kidding.
McSorley's Ale House, 15 E. 7th St. (btw. 2nd Ave. & 3rd Ave.), 473-9148
M-Sa 11am-1am, Su 1pm-1am. Food served.
This is a New York city landmark. They don't serve commercial beer or hard alcohol, only McSorley's own Ale (light or dark).
This place is quite unique as it opened in 1854, and 150 years later remains open serving up beer to its faithful patrons. To give you an idea of how old school this place is, they only started allowing women to patronize the place in the 1970's!! Don't worry though, you'll find no sexism here these days.
True to its roots, McSorley's serves two types of beer: Light and Dark. And by the way, that's all they serve except for your usual bar food. The bar tenders and door men still wear the old uniform of the ale house and when you step inside you will discover that it looks as if the decorations haven't changed since 1854! That is was makes this place so unique. The walls are covered with authentic old photos, paper clippings and memorabilia that date from the 1800's until today.
This is a 'come as you are' type of place - nothing fancy here - but it is rich in history and good times! Although it is a well known place, it is still one of my favorites.
Dress Code: No dress code - Come as you are. If you are dressed for the clubs you will stand out.
McSorley's Old Ale House dates back to 1854, which makes it the oldest continuously operated watering hole in New York City. When it opened, it was mostly known as an Irish worker pub, a place where the new immigrants could gather in a friendly atmosphere to drink a few pints after work. I guess the most surprising thing about McSorley's is that not much has changed since its humble beginnings - we were there for Happy Hour and saw plenty of people walk in with their business suits on and place their order while getting rid of their tie! It's not a big place and it's very popular, both with tourists and locals, so make sure you get there early if you want to grab a table. Otherwise, you can always stand at the counter or share a table with another group of people, which always makes for fun conversations. You can only get beer at McSorley's, with a choice between bitter or stout (pale or dark). The half-pints are 2 for $5, and most customers won't hesitate to order 4, 6 or 8 pints at a time. Service is not particularly friendly, but the atmosphere of the place - which doesn't seem to have changed in the last 100 years or so - totally makes up for it.
Dress Code: Casual
McSorley's -- a small alehouse with sawdust on the floor to keep it dry (sort of) and relieve the smells (not at all) is one of America's most famous bars, thanks in part to a Life magazine picture essay from 1940 about a day in the life of this alehouse, which was first opened back in 1854 and modeled after an old pub in Ireland the owner (McSorley) remembered from his youth. Prior to that Life expose, artist John Sloan did a series of paintings there -- completed between 1912 and 1930 -- and whenever there was a public exhibition of Sloan paintings, business boomed in the bar. Finally, Joseph Mitchell immortalized the bar in The New Yorker, and his essays were later compiled in the book McSorley's Wonderful Saloon. Woody Guthrie sat at a table with regulars shortly before he headed off to the Merchant Marines. Quite a history, right?
The saloon looks much today as it did 50 years ago in the pages of Life, except the walls are more cluttered with pictures, and those pictures have grown even browner with age. Many politicians were among the regulars, which is one of the reasons that Bill McSorley paid no attention to Prohibition, not even bothering with the customary peephole as he continued to serve beer!
The only reason I was able to visit this bar at all, was thanks to a court case in 1969 which was filed to allow the alehouse to serve women. Prior to that, it was "men-only." Even when I used to go there often (it was right around the corner from my old apartment in the East Village), there was only one unisex bathroom with open-door stalls, a not-so-subtle form of discouraging women according to many. Thus, for women, it was a good idea to go with a friend who could stand guard at the door.
Dress Code: McSorley's ale came from a local brewery, and in 1934 Bill McSorley sold the Fidelio Brewery the right to brew and sell McSorley's Cream Stock Ale. Today, the Stroh Brewing Co. makes the McSorley's Ale sold at the bar and throughout the mid-Atlantic states. The beer is not the real reason to visit the bar, and we wouldn't advocate waiting in the long lines that sometimes appear on weekend nights. Then, it's nearly impossible to get a good look at the place. But on a weekday afternoon, McSorley's remains what we think a saloon is supposed to be.
McSorley's Ale House is one of the most historical bars in Manhattan. It was opened in 1854 and feels it. Obviously the owners go to a grea degree to make sure that the bar looks like it did in the mid-19th century with special attention paid to decor and furniture. The beer in here is cheap with a half-pint costing $2.00. The clientele is most students from the nearby University of New York and tourists. It is well worth dropping by for a brief drink but after a while you sense a tourist trap of sorts.
Dress Code: casual
McSorley's Ale House
15 E. 7th St. (btw. 2nd St. & 3rd St.), 473-9148
Oldest pub in operation (one-hundred forty-seven years). They brew their own beer, light and dark, traditionally served two drinks at a time for $3.50. They also serve excellent pub grub.
Started in 1854, McSorley's is the oldest continuously operating bar in New York City. Walking into the bar is to step back in time. The old wood and sawdust on the floor assault you with the faint smells of history. Everyone from Abe Lincoln to John Lennon have frequented McSorley's.
Women could only get as far as the potbellied stove in the middle of the front room before being escorted back outside up until 1970. The front and back rooms are covered with memoralbelia, photos, comments from visitors (I saw Bill Clinton's thanks) and old newspapers. As long as you observe the motto "Be Good or Be Gone" carved into the bar, you'll enjoy McSorley's.
The only drink to choose from, ale, comes in either light or dark and is served in two glasses instead of one large glass.
McSorley's is the personification of atmosphere. If there was ever a pub that seemed to jump on a ship at the harbour in Belfast and hitch a ride to New York, this is it. And they combine the irish culture (not like the irish wannabes named Finnigan's and Finn McCools, etc..that you see in every city in North America) with their pride of being New Yorkers to make it into a place you are actually proud to drink in. The barmen and cooks are all irish...their accents prove it.
It is one of the best pubs I have ever been to. And the beer is simply fabulous!
Dress Code: most likely you can just show up without stinking too much and be alright.
I got this spot from a day light tour that I did in the Village. Since then, Mc Sorley's became a unavoidable place to visit every time i'm in New york. It's a very old style irish bar that serves you home made ale, black or light. You can compliment your beers with crackers, cheese and onions, believe me, taste really good.
There are many reasons why this bar is considered a must seen place in New York, probably the most famous one could be that this bar was the last one in New York on let a woman getting in. And that's not a joke.... the newspaper which covered the news is on the wall in front of the bar. The walls are covered with pictures of famous people who shaped the history of the city and the bar is an undeniable character of this history.
The bar is located on 7th street, between the 2nd and Bowery, just one block from St Marks platz, and in front of the Ukrainian church. Take the subway 6 (green) and get off in Astor Place. It's few blocks from there.
Dress Code: Come as you are
a classic spot. in the 60's, when I first "found" it, they used to ring a bell when women entered and they were quickly and effectively escorted out. the back room was a local hangout. except for making the women leave it remains the same today, except with more tourists.
they serve ale, not beer, ale.
Dress Code: whatever
This is a definite must-see. I've been here countless times. Be careful though - you might plan to have just one drink and before you know it the whole evening has passed. When my parents came to visit we went in for one drink - next thing my mum recognised the owner whom she had known about 25 years ago in Ireland and we ended up staying for the afternoon.
McSorley's is the oldest bar in New York, dating back to the mid 19th century. They only serve two drinks - light ale and dark ale - both of which are home brewed. You can't even get coffee here! There are photographs on the walls that are older than some states in the US, and walking in the door you feel as if you are taking a step back in time. (Walking out the door you feel happy if you can take proper steps!)
Dress Code: None
Holy F. I've been here 3 times - walked in sober, left trashed. I even ate a Liverwurst sammich here! WTF! WHo does that when they are sober?! NO ONE! Beers are sold in either Lite or Dark and in sets of two pints - with a healthy head on them. Go here to get trashed. And punch people.
And yeah, it's the oldest pub in the USA supposedly...looks and smells like it too :)
Dress Code: You must wear only orange pants. This is strictly enforced by killing eels at the door.
McSorley's. I don't know if that is the correct spelling or even what street the place is on.
But it is supposed to be the oldest bar in the city. Great place to go with friends just to drink.
Dress Code: Normal casual
This was such an amazing moment with my two pals at Mc Sorley's, I remember drinking that beer long long ago back in the time when America was just starting out as a free nation.
I really enjoyed that moment, and this is definitely some place to visit in New York. I'll do that trip again from France one of these days, just to sip another beer at Mc Sorley's!
Jean-Roch, Paris, France.