The oldest bars in NYC in every borough

The oldest bars in NYC should all be on your booze bucket list if you want to call yourself a real New Yorker

Photograph: Hannah MattixKillmeyer's Old Bavaria Inn

The oldest bars in NYC are icons for a reason, and if their walls could talk, things would get interesting. From the best-looking bars to rooftop bars to the most romantic bars, the stories they’d tell would be nothing less than riveting. While NYC’s bar and restaurant scene is notorious for a short shelf life, there’s a small handful of drinking establishments that have withstood an unbelievable test of time, several of which have welcomed patrons for over two centuries and counting— and while we don’t anticipate them going anywhere soon, you’ll want to start checking them off your list pronto.

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Manhattan

McSorley’s Old Ale House (1854)

McSorley’s is New York City’s oldest continuously operated saloon, and if there’s one thing they’ll never let you forget, that’s it. Established in 1854, the Irish pub and its sawdust-covered floors have welcomed the likes of Abe Lincoln, John Lennon and more.

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East Village

Pete’s Tavern (1864)

Just 10 years after McSorley’s opened its doors, Pete’s Tavern followed suit in the throes of the Civil War and has since enjoyed the same longevity as its predecessor. Perhaps it’s the luck of the Irish (although the fare itself is Italian-American), or maybe it’s the clever nature of its DNA—throughout Prohibition, Pete’s disguised itself as a flower shop while still keeping its imbibing clientele satiated behind the scenes.

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Gramercy
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PJ Clarke’s (1884)

It’s long been said that Frank Sinatra and Jackie Kennedy favored this NYC classic’s original location, and it’s easy to see why. The old New York charm is as much of a draw as the iconic burgers that circulate the floor en masse on a daily and nightly basis.

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Midtown East

Chumley’s (1922)

Chumley’s—which first opened as a speakeasy bar in the dead of Prohibition—made a name for itself as a bona fide New York City legend amongst writers of all métiers. It maintained this tenure until its chimney collapsed in 2007, after which it closed for a dormant period followed by an extensive renovation, and it just reopened in 2016.

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West Village
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Bronx

Yankee Tavern (1923)

The Bronx’s Yankee Tavern dates back to 1927 and is chock full of paraphernalia honoring the team for which it was named. It’s rumored that Babe Ruth himself was known to frequent the place.

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Antonio Bonanno

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The Bronx

Brooklyn

Brooklyn Inn (1885)

This Boerum Hill mainstay has two claims to fame: its historic roots (it opened in 1885) and an ornate wooden bar imported from Germany. And for those seeking a true old New York feel and atmosphere with reliable drinks, the Brooklyn Inn is nothing short of perfect.

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Boerum Hill

Farrell’s Bar & Grill (1933)

The kitchen has been closed for 40 years, but still, this no-frills blue-collar Brooklyn dive pours tap brews (Stella Artois, Budweiser) in oversize Styrofoam cups and straight-up drinks to old-school sports fans.

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Windsor Terrace
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Queens

Neir’s Tavern (1829)

Neir’s Tavern in Queens has been a favorite of both patrons and filmmakers alike, having served the former since 1829 and the latter in a little production by the name of Goodfellas. It’s also said that Mae West got her start under this very roof—you can even honor her memory with an eponymous burger.

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Queens

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden (1910)

Back in 1892, the influx of Austro-Hungarian immigrants in New York was at an all-time high, and many ended up in Astoria, where the Bohemian Citizens’ Benevolent Society was created. In 1910, the group built a space for their ever-growing organization, and today that space serves as a watering hole for visitors and history buffs alike.

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Astoria
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Staten Island

Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn (1859)

A centuries-old slice of Germany in Staten Island is exactly what the history books intended, and Killmeyer’s most recent proprietors have done an excellent job of honoring the 1859 bar as such. If ever there were a wurst worth traveling for, this is it.

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Staten Island

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By: Dan Q Dao

Comments

3 comments
Steven S

EVERYONE knows by now that McSorley's -- though a venerated institution -- is NOT the oldest bar in Manhattan. That honor, if you go by 'continuously in operation bar', likely goes to the Bridge Cafe. (Fraunces Tavern, the second most likely candidate, has been closed multiple times in its history, not to mention that little of the original structure remains. Even the Ear Inn, another GREAT bar, is older than McSorley's.) 


Tsk, tsk, TimeOut! Expected better....