2. Ear Inn (1817)
Tucked away on the far west side of Soho, you’d never guess the backstory of the Ear Inn. In fact, despite its extensive history, this cozy beer and burger joint remained nameless until the ’70s, when the owners covered the round parts of the “B” in a lighted “Bar” sign outside, and the catchy name appeared.
The building housing the Ear Inn dates back to 1770, when it was constructed in honor of James Brown, an African soldier who resisted the British by the side of George Washington and supposedly makes an appearance in the famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware River. From there, the Inn made good money servicing sailors a refreshing drink while stopping on their way down the Hudson River (which was only a mere five feet from the building originally). Timber found in its attic sparked rumors that this bar was built using left over lumber from the Great Fire of 1776.
Food and restaurant service began in the early 20th century. During Prohibition, the bar was converted into a speakeasy, and reopened publicly upon the passage of the 21st amendment. With nautical-themed decor and blooming flowerpots hanging outside, the Ear Inn remains a popular spot to grab a drink or a bite to eat. They’ve also adopted a “farm to table” policy, so even bar snacks are prepared with fresh, healthy ingredients.