McSorley’s Old Ale House
For those who have spent time across the pond, New York’s oldest continuously run bar will bring you back to your favorite English pub, but the Teddy Roosevelt campaign posters on the walls and sawdust on the floor remind you that you are definitely stateside. Since it opened in 1854, McSorley’s has sold only its own brew. There is no other way to visit this bar than to buy a pair of ales, a family recipe of light or dark, maybe a cheese plate (complete with onions and crackers) or a burger, and just take it all in. Everything on the walls has remained the same since 1910, and there is even a chair from 1859 that Abraham Lincoln sat in when he stopped by for a drink. One afternoon we spent time chatting with Teresa, one of the bartenders and the owner’s daughter, who has worked at McSorley’s for eighteen years. She is the first woman to tend bar, since the “no women rule” was repealed in the 1970’s. At first, she said she did not want to work in a place that she thought was just “guys being loud and drinking beer.” But now the bar is like home – a place for stories and the steady stream of new and regular customers who tell them. That’s what McSorley’s is, a place of history and lineage: family owned, New York frequented.