Whether you’re a big history buff or simply just looking to grab a drink and a bite to eat, NYC is full of historical, and delicious, establishments. So when you’re in need of some libations and want to get a taste of how New Yorkers were dining and drinking centuries ago, just refer to our list below of the oldest bars in NYC.
Who knows, you might just be sitting in the same seat that was once graced by Frank Sinatra or one of our Founding Fathers.
1. Fraunces Tavern, FiDi
Established in 1762, Fraunces Taverns holds the title as the oldest bar in the city. It’s a National Landmark complete with four different rooms (Independence Bar, Tallmadge Room, Hideout Bar, The Piano Bar Upstairs) and still continues to serve New Yorkers today. According to the website, it supposedly was a regular spot for some of America’s Founding Fathers.
Where: 54 Pearl St
2. Grand Central Oyster Bar, Midtown
Known as the oldest restaurant in Grand Central Terminal, Grand Central Oyster’s glamorous space is truly a beautiful treasure within the transportation hub. Before catching your train stop to admire the gorgeous arches and brick detailing while indulging in a drink and some fresh oysters.
Where: 89 E 42nd St
3. McSorely’s Old Ale House, East Village
Self labeled as an “Irish working man’s saloon” in its early days to its notoriety now, McSorely’s has had one rule from the get-go: “Be Good or Be Gone.” It has been a watering hole for Presidents, residents, authors and thieves throughout the years and remains ever busy day and night.
Where: 15 E 7th St
4. Mulberry Street Bar, Little Italy
As seen in the movies 9 1/2 Weeks, Godfather 3, Kojak, The Pope of Greenwich Village and Men of Hono, Mulberry Street Bar is quite the star. The joint has been around since 1908 and when you step inside today it feels like a bit of times capsule.
5. Pete’s Tavern, Gramercy
Feeding New Yorkers since 1864, Pete’s Tavern can be found on the corner of Irving Place and 18th Street. The building was originally constructed in 1851 and was formerly the Portman Hotel. It wasn’t until 1922 that it became ‘Pete’s Tavern’ after being purchased by Peter D’Belles. According to its website, its outdoor café is one of the oldest of its kind in all of NYC.
Where: 129 E 18th St
6. Landmark Tavern
This Irish Waterfront Saloon has been around since 1868. At that point, the city didn’t even have a 12th Avenue! The building’s second and third floors were used as the home of the original owner Patrick Henry Carley and his children, until the Prohibition caused the third floor to become a speakeasy. The establishment still has all of its same charm it had since first opening.
Where: 626 11th Ave
7. PJ Clarke’s, Midtown
Established in 1884, PJ Clarke’s primarily served Irish immigrant laborers upon opening in Midtown Manhattan. It didn’t get its recognizable name until Patrick “Paddy” J. Clarke, a former bartender for the spot’s second owner, had purchased the place. According to its website, PJ Clarke’s made bathtub gin and sold bootlegging Scotch from Canada under the wraps during the Prohibition to its most loyal patrons. Plus, Frank Sinatra even had his own table at #20. Oh, and don’t forget to try their star burger item there “The Cadillac” if you’re hungry.
Where: Various Locations
8. White Horse Tavern, West Village
Deemed the second oldest tavern in NYC, White Horse Tavern dates back to 1880. It became a frequented spot by the city’s writers and artists in the ’50s. Current day customers can take advantage of incredible happy hour deals like their BOGO well drinks Monday – Friday from 2 pm – 6 pm.
Where: 567 Hudson St
9. Ear Inn, Greenwich Village
Before it was Ear Inn, the historic building was constructed for James Brown in 1770. It was later transformed into an unnamed speakeasy during the prohibition with the upstairs apartment housing everything from a smuggler’s den, to a brothel and a doctor’s office. Ear Inn officially received its current name in the 70s after owners Martin Sheridan and Richard “Rip” Hayman wanted to avoid “the Landmark Commission’s lengthy review of new signage” so they decided to just cover the round parts of the “B” in the bar sign.
Where: 326 Spring St
10. Old Town Bar, Flatiron
Located in Flatiron, Old Town Bar is, well…old. Walk in today and see some of the original fixtures from the 19th century and you’ll start to understand just how much history the walls have seen.
Where: 45 E 18th St