McSorley's Old Ale House, New York City

4.5
McSorley's Old Ale House, generally known as McSorley's, is the oldest "Irish" saloon in New York City. Opened in the mid-19th century at 15 East 7th Street, in today's East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, it was one of the last of the "Men Only" pubs, admitting women only after legally being forced to do so in 1970.
The aged artwork, newspaper articles covering the walls, sawdust floors, and the Irish waiters and bartenders give McSorley's an atmosphere reminiscent of "Olde New York". No piece of memorabilia has been removed from the walls since 1910, and there are many items of "historical" paraphernalia in the bar, such as Houdini's handcuffs, which are connected to the bar rail. There are also wishbones hanging above the bar; supposedly they were hung there by boys going off to World War I, to be removed when they returned, so the wishbones that are left are from those who never returned.
Two of McSorley's mottos are "Be Good or Be Gone", and "We were here before you were born". Prior to the 1970 ruling, the motto was "Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies"; the raw onions can still be had as part of McSorley's cheese platter.

New York magazine considered McSorley's to be one of New York City's "Top 5 Historic Bars".
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McSorley's Old Ale House Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,356 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • This is the farthest thing from an Irish Bar you will ever experience. More like an English Bar full of arrogant men working there. More reminiscent of English imperialist fascist then genuine irish.....  more »
  • I've never had such interesting conversations with a beertender / bartender before. In very little time I learned the history of the place and that he had a brother who lives in Phoenix. Very...  more »
Google
  • The coolest bar I have ever been to. It is 2 beers for $6. They only take cash. You choose whether you want light or dark beer and that's it. There are a lot of community tables so you can meet a lot of new people and it is just a really good time. They also serve food and it all looked really good. To summarize; cheap beer, cheap food, and a great atmosphere. This makes it one helluva bar!
  • One of the oldest bars - definitely the oldest Irish bar - in town. They say that, since they were open in 1858, that candidate Abraham Lincoln drank there after debating Stephen Douglas just down the block. Could be. The last time they decorated was 1936. And there are memorabilia around which are much older. "THEODORE ROOSEVELT FOR VICE PRESIDENT" poster from 1900. JFK, RFK posters and buttons. A pair of handcuffs that belonged to a police sergeant. Why are they here? Because Houdini was here in 1910. The sergeant put Houdini into his own handcuffs, and Houdini got out of them! This is not a bar for mixed drinks. You can either have McSorley's light ale or McSorley's dark ale. If you come on Saint Patrick's Day, expect a line out the door. Any other day of the week is fine. McSorley's is a wonderful, fascinating old spot that is on my tours, just because it's so much fun to go in there, sit, have a couple months of Ale and gaze at all the wonderful buttons, Flags, political banners on the wall, as well as the painting of the naked lady.

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