As more and more of New Yorkâ€™s endearingly grimy dive bars are pushed out daily (R.I.P. Miladyâ€™s) to make room for whatever organic farm to table â€œbespoke ale experience,â€ is trending that month, the precious few hole-in-the-wall joints that we have left in this city must be treasured, least they end up out on the curb like a kicked keg. And no gritty saloon is more worthy of our admiration than McSorleyâ€™s, the self proclaimed â€œfirst Irish Tavernâ€ in New York City.
With a tap list that includes just two options, a grimy straw floor, and an interior that hasnâ€™t been altered since 1910, â€œMcSorleyâ€™s Old Ale Houseâ€ on 7th Street is where you go when youâ€™ve had enough of the preening and pretension that runs rampant in downtownâ€™s bar scene. â€œLightâ€ and â€œdarkâ€ are the only words youâ€™ll need to know at McSorleyâ€™s, as their minute mugs are exclusively filled with the soapy suds of their two in-house brews.
If youâ€™re feeling bold, you can order up a gloppy Corned Beef sandwich or a hockey puck burger, but we recommend merely drinking down one of their beers (which by the way always come in pairs, as in order one get two) and admiring the barâ€™s unique decor. Houdiniâ€™s handcuffs are strapped to the bar, wishbones hang above your head, while portraits of great men like JFK and Alfred E. Neuman adorn the walls.
While McSorleyâ€™s opened itâ€™s doors in 1854 (or 1862 depending on who you ask) itâ€™s 1970 that remains the most important year in the history of the bar. Up until that point, McSorleyâ€™s was famously an all menâ€™s bar, and it wasnâ€™t until â€™70 after a long and arduous battle that the bar served their first female patron. Nowadays McSorleyâ€™s doors are open to any and all visitor in search of a foamy brew and a hefty dose of paraphernalia from â€œthe Old(e) New York.â€