Roger our C.I.O. (Chief Imbibing Officer) went to New York City to drink up some history in New York City’s oldest continuously operated saloon. The place is named McSorley’s Old Ale House and it’s located at 15 East 7th Street in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan it has been open since 1854. The place is covered with old memorabilia which has not been removed from the walls since 1910. 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.” Roger, who seems to never grow old or up, says you have 2 choices for beer, light or dark, and they are served in twos, so if you ask for 2 beers you will get four (but only charged for the two at $5 each) ask for 3 and you’ll get 6. McSorley’s Old Ale House has lots of character, historic charm, no frills, and sawdust strewn on the old wooden floor. It has an amazing history, do a little research before you visit. Roger recommends a visit, at least for a beer or two, or would that be two beers and four beers? Afterwards, Roger suggests “getting high” but what I think he means is to take a walk on the High Line in the West Village. The High Line is a linear park built on a 1.4 mile section of the former elevated New York Central Railroad it has been redesigned as an aerial greenway. It’s a great place for people watching, having a drink with some snacks, and watching the sunset. There are also lots of great bars, pubs and restaurants along the High Line as it goes through the Meatpacking District and Chelsea. Roger doesn’t remember much after the High Line, he thinks that is where he lost one of his phones, and surprisingly his iPhone didn’t break even after he dropped it 3 times during a two block walk.
There is a limited menu, but it’s not really a destination for food. Roger did try some chili, or as the waiter called it “fart soup”.
Two of McSorley’s mottos are “Be Good or Be Gone”, and “We were here before you were born”.
Lots of notable patrons have passed through the swinging doors of McSorley’s including Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, John Lennon, and Woody Guthrie. Woman were not allowed access until 1970 after attorneys Faith Seidenberg and Karen DeCrow from the National Organization for Women took their discrimination case against the bar to District Court and won. The bathroom became coed for 16 years, until a ladies bathroom was finally installed. In 1943 Life Magazine did a feature photographic article on “McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon.” Well after our short visit we think McSorley’s is a wonderful saloon, and you’ll have a hard time finding such a unique place anywhere in New York City or even in the United States, similar to this bar where time has stood still. It’s a real piece of American history that serves beer, go get a beer…or two, before it’s too late.