Unfortunately, due to prohibition and ridiculously high rents not many bars have survived more than a century in the city. Nevertheless, some of them made it through the decades, and each of these holds an elaborate place in history.
Ear Inn was opened in 1817, although fabled to only have started serving alcohol in the 1890s when it was bought over by an Irish immigrant who saw an opportunity to brew whiskey and beer to be consumed by the constant influx of sailors. This location has served as multiple fronts including a brothel. It is said that it was one of those nameless bars until the "B" in the "bar" sign was painted over to read "EAR". Due to its dense history it remains a designated Landmark of the City of New York.
Another that can't go unmentioned is McSorley's Old Ale House. This old Irish bar is said to have opened in 1862 (despite the sign reading 1854), and it still feels like it the 1800s in there. It's still cash only and the menu is simple, two home-brewed ales, one light one dark. The establishment didn't let women in until 1970, so let us pay homage to Barbara Shaum, the first woman to enjoy a drink at McSorley's during business hours.
It only fair that we also mention Fraunces Tavern, the oldest bar in New York City. Opened in 1762 by Samuel Fraunces, a tavern-keeper from the Caribbean, this spot was originally called Queen's Head Tavern. Like these other bars, Fraunces' is packed with history including drunken nights with George Washington.
Some others that are definitely worth a mention and a visit are Julius', Landmark Tavern, Old Town Bar, Pete's Tavern and White Horse Tavern.
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