7 . The Oldest Bar in NYC

279 Water Street is the address of one of New York City’s oldest bars, The Bridge Cafe. The building reportedly dates back to 1794 (though the Landmarks Preservation Commission dates it to 1801) and is the only wood-framed building within the South Street Seaport Historic District. The Bridge Cafe, which closed for restorations after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and has yet to reopen, claimed to be the oldest continually operating bar in New York City. As of February 2020, according to the Wall Street Journal, the owner was still hoping to revive it.

In the 19th-century, the bar had a gritty reputation. Located directly under the Brooklyn Bridge and in close proximity to the old Fulton Fish Market, the bar attracted river pirates and gamblers and was the site of multiple murders. One “lady bouncer” known as Gallus Mag allegedly bit off the ears, or occasionally a finger, of uncooperative patrons and pickled them in a large jar she kept behind the bar!