7. The Bridge Cafe, 279 Water Street (1794)
Despite whatever impressions the name gives, Bridge Cafe’s building existed almost a century before the Brooklyn Bridge was built; in fact, the East River used to reach the edge of the 224-year-old building, Water Street originally marking the river’s shoreline. A staple of the South Street Seaport, starting as a grocery and wine and porter bottler, the building holds New York City’s oldest commercial wooden frame and has been home to a series of eating and drinking establishments, as well as brothel in the 1850s.
Having hosted everyone from sailors to pirates, the establishment was bought by the Weprin family in 1979 and became the Bridge Cafe, famous for its soft shell crabs and even more famous regular, New York City major Ed Koch. Bridge Cafe used to be New York City’s oldest continuously running tavern, but it unfortunately closed after Hurricane Sandy inundated the building in 2012 and has remained closed ever since. Fingers crossed this historic bar returns to life in the future!