Monday, February 18, 2013

McSorley's Old Ale House,160 years old in 2014

For the record, everyone just calls this historic old ale house, McSorley’s and ladies if you haven’t belled up to the bar that’s because it was one of the last of the “Men Only” pubs, which only admitted women after legally being forced to do so in 1970. Located at 15 East 7th Street in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan this famous iconic saloon is the oldest Irish tavern in New York City. As it inches its way up to 2014 the saloon will celebrate 160 years in business. With that long standing record McSorley’s leaves a trail of memories that are forever etched into the romantic legends of the city.

McSorley's Bar 1912 by John French Sloan
FAMOUS PATRONS Doors opened at this historic saloon in 1854 and men and women have been eager patrons to sit in the lap of historical reverie. There have been regulars, so to speak, who frequented McSorley’s---writers, poets, politicians, actors and hangers on for the ale and the conviviality. Peter Cooper founder of his free college, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, was a patron as Cooper Union was located nearby. Among notable patrons that McSorley’s claims as a visitor, Abraham Lincoln may have also stopped by for a bit of draft, perhaps after his famous speech at the Great Hall of Cooper Union that propelled him from an unknown western lawyer into the leading Republican contender. Even Boss Tweed of the infamous Tammany administration made it his stomping ground. Teddy Roosevelt of Rough Rider fame must have left his mark on the place as it just suited his personality.

THE INTELLIGENTSIA Literary figures like Brendan Behan, LeRoi Jones, Michal Bock, Gilbert Sorrentino and Paul Blackburn have been cited as regulars. In his 1923 poem, “I was sitting in mcsorley’s,” poet E.E. Cummings described McSorley’s as “the ale which never lets you grow old.” He also described the bar as “snug and evil.” The aged artwork and artifacts, newspaper articles covering the walls, sawdust floors and the Irish waiters and bartenders give McSorley’s an atmosphere that would be reminiscent of what “Olde New York,” may have looked like. It appears as if not piece of memorabilia has been removed from the walls and there are many items of historical paraphernalia in the bar including what is alleged to be Houdini’s handcuffs.

McSORLEY’S DAY IN NEW YORK If any place could be significantly associated with St. Patrick’s Day it surely is McSorley’s and that association came to full circle several years ago. In recognition of its 150 anniversary , his Honor, Mayor Bloomberg in a proclamation, which he personally presented to McSorley’s, declared St. Patrick’s Day, February 17th McSorley’s Day in New York. McSorley’s touts itself as presenting fine home cooking and mugs of good ale with luncheon specials daily.

McSorley’s Old Ale House has withstood the changes that define New York City, but it has kept its rich history, mystery and legends intact making it a ‘must visit’ ale house for all lovers of ancient lore and good ale.

1 comment:

  1. St. Pat's Day is March 17, not February!

    Thanks for the info - I'll have to stop by!



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Polly Guerin is an author/poet with four textbooks and 2 video productions as credentials as well as 4 books ready to be published. All my blogs are intended to become the basis for books to be published. PollyTalk From New York (c) is a current events blog about happenings in New York City. I have been PollyTalk columnist on the Internet, Big Apple News Network. AmazingArtDecoDivas blog features amazing women of notable character. I am on the board of the Art Deco Society of New York. The Fashion Historian blog gives pertinent insight into Polly's consummate knowledge about fashion history. Former professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Awaken Your Sleeping Beauty blog gives you pertinent information about holistic remedies for health, beauty, mind, body and spirit. I am on the board of the Edgar Cayce New York Center. I sing with the St. George's Choral Society and also serve on their Board. My little dog Colby is a rescue dog and I support animal charities. I hope you enjoy my blogs, please keep in touch.