Saturday, March 14, 2009

McSorley's Old Ale House, East Village, New York

McSorley's Old Ale House is the oldest Irish tavern in New York City. It was established in 1854, and located at 15 E. 7th St. in the East Village.
It was one of the last of the "Men Only" pubs in America until 1970 when National Organization for Women attorneys, Faith Seidenberg and Karen DeCrow, took their case to allow women to patronize the bar to District Court and won.

Regardless of that ruling, the day I walked past it seemed like most of the patrons were still mainly men. In fact, there was a long line of men waiting behind a velvet rope off to the side waiting to be allowed in. As you can imagine McSorley's is a tourist attraction and a place that is a very popular to photograph.
The front bar area is standing room only, and there is a back area with tables and chairs where some pub food is served. There is a large fireplace in the back whose mantle has the pub's slogan of "Be good or be gone" carved in it in 3D.

Famous people have imbibed at McSorley's, including Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Boss Tweed, Woody Guthrie, Brendan Behan, Paul Blackburn, LeRoi Jones, and E. E. Cummings.

McSorley's serves only two ales, light and dark, and each glass is a half pint. The walls are covered with aged artwork, photographs, newspaper articles, album covers, a gold album from J. Giles, sheet music, etc., with the claim that no piece of memorabilia has been removed from the walls since 1910. There is a pair of famous magician Houdini's handcuffs hanging from the bar, and the floors are covered with sawdust.
There are some photos of the interior on their web site, but I'll have to go back on a less crowded day to take my own.

I was sitting in mcsorley's.

outside it was New York and beautifully snowing.

Inside snug and evil.
—ee cummings

'Tis a little bit of "Olde New York"!

21 comments:

Barb said...

Wow, I have never heard of this place and the history of it,I always look forward to seeing where "we" are visiting next have a great weekend....Barb

Brotbaecker said...

Hallo,
a verry nice blog. I like it.
Wunderfull Sunday wish
Der Brotbaecker

GMG said...

Hi Pat!
Thanks for the memories... Great tour of the East Village. Now with my ESTA, I'll think of getting there one of these days... ;)

Blogtrotter has Akbar’s capital city for you. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Lucy said...

I just love old building and histories of them.

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Pat,
Thanks for this post...might have to try to find it. I'm counting the minutes...getting more anxious and excited!

See ya soon!

Lora said...

When my hubby & I visited NY several years back our *tour guide* took us here. It was really interesting!

Lorrie said...

Pat thanks for this visit to McSorley's--it's been many, many years since I've been there. I just love all the history to be found in NYC.

Paz said...

Very interesting history!

Paz

Paris said...

Cool place! Loved the history...now I need some vodka! :D

Sue said...

Hi Pat...I got so excited when I saw your post I immedialty forwarded it to the husband...next to me on the couch...I have been hearing about McSorley's for 40 years!! The Boss used to go there all the time with his friends and he would tell me how great the big sandwichs were but he never was able to get anything to drink because he doesn;t drink beer and they didn't serve anything but the dark and light ale....so the sandwich was a little hard going down...One day a few years ago while wandering the neighborhood we walked past and he wanted me to go in to eat....I passed....it looked scary!! Thanks from him for the memory....Sue

steviewren said...

Pat, You wont ever run out of new things to show about NY. I've never heard of this place.

Your pictures of Leo are precious. He is getting big. I hope you have a trip planned sometime soon. I know you are itching to be with him again.

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

New York is such a great place. I am not sure if I will ever get to visit, so these posts are extra special for me. I enjoy them so much.

What wonderful places!
Thank you!!

Vee said...

Now I know that you enjoy a pint from time to time... Hope that you make it back on a less crowded day. Honestly, I can't understand the attraction of such crowded spots. ;>

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

It's strange to see establishments that old...since we have nothing from the 1800's in our area. Thanks for sharing another nugget of New York history with us.

Claudia said...

I remember the "fight" to seat women. Later when grown, I lived at W. 10th and Hudson. In my meanderings, i would walk past McSorleys. Interesting - never went in. You brought back so many memories.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

"snug and evil"
I love that.

Barb said...

Hi Pat,

What a great post. The next time we are in NY, I think that is a must visit spot.

How is your precious Leo?

hugs,
Barb

ARLENE said...

I've never been inside, just looking in from the sidewalk. Love to come here and find another bit of history. Do you know of any quilt shops with history in your part of the city?

Cynthia said...

I tell you, by the time I make my next trip to New York, I will be well informed.

curtissann said...

What a cool old place. And funny how the years and experiences change a person-- an all-male club does not bother me one whit anymore. Let it be. There are other places for me a female. Seems rather natural, the separation in certain places.

Oh, honey, you almost bring tears with the picture of your precious bairn. I miss my grands.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Oh, Pat! This looks like so much fun! I'd love to go there some day!

XO,

Sheila :-)