4. McSorley’s Old Ale House (1854)
Standing inconspicuously at 15 E. 7th Street, McSorley’s Old Ale House offers two drinks: McSorley’s Dark Ale and McSorley’s Light Ale. Despite the lack of variety, or perhaps because of it, the bar has thrived throughout the years, managing to keep fairly low prices. Collectibles line the walls, some of them there since 1910. Wishbones hang from above placed there by neighborhood boys who went to war and did not make it back.
Though the ale house is declared to go back to the year 1854, records deem it impossible. Whatever year the establishment came to be, it’s certainly one of the oldest bars in NYC and has some of the oldest urinals, dating back to 1911. Famous patrons have included Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and e.e. cummings, who referred to McSorley’s as “snug and evil” in a 1923 poem. Until 1970 women were not allowed in the bar, an attitude reflected by their former motto “Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies.”