McSorley’s Irish Taven

McSorley’s Old Ale House-Irish Tavern


Last year for my birthday, my son’s, Keith and Ryan, took me to McSorley’s Old Ale House. I thought it fitting that for St. Patrick’s Day I share a little about New York City’s oldest Irish Tavern in New York City.  Situated in lower Manhattan, in the East Village, where in the late 1800’s – early 1900’s many Irish immigrants who fled the “potato famine” in Ireland settled.

McSorleys-Old-Ale-House.Front View. 3.15.18


McSorley’s Old Ale House  


Established in 1854, McSorley’s is recognized as the City’s oldest and still operating Tavern.  Some day’s, especially on weekends, it is nothing to stand in line and wait for an hour just to get in, as the inside of McSorley’s is very small, typical of the bars of yesteryear.  Besides me, everyone from Abe Lincoln to John Lennon have passed thru McSorley’s swinging doors. Woody Guthrie, with his guitar in hand, inspired the union movement from a table in the front tables of the bar. Walking along the “saw dust floors” one can feel the history that McSorley’s has shared with its customers for the past 164 years. 

McSorleys.Mugs of Beer.watermarked

So pour yourself a mug of beer, and join me, as I take you through my experience at McSorley’s through the many pictures I took.


As one walks in, and steps through the “sawdust” floors, they are greeted by the Irish barmaids and waiters, who are more than willing to make your visit memorable. The walls are filled with much historical paraphernalia, artwork, and  newspaper articles, many dating back to 1854, which gives McSorley’s an atmosphere that many consider reminiscent of “Olde New York.”  No piece of memorabilia has been removed from the walls since 1910, and there are many items of “historical” paraphernalia in the bar, such as Houdini’s handcuffs, which are connected to the bar rail.  As you can see from the pictures below, they still use the original Cash Register and Beer Taps from 1854!

McSorleys.Behind the Bar.watermarked 3.16.18


A view behind McSorley’s Tavern


McSorleys.OriginalCash Register.watermarked 3.16.18


The Original Cash Register & Beer Taps from 1854 


I also took this picture of Jack Dempsey, one of McSorley’s regulars, during his reign as the World’s Boxing Champion during the 1920’s.

McSorleys.Pic of JackDempsey


Signed Picture of Jack Dempsey  



So while drinking our beers, we dined on their “Irish” speciality of Cheddar Cheese, Crackers, served with their spicy mustard (I guess giving one the incentive to keep drinking!!!).



McSorley’s famous Cheese Platter 


With a treasure trove of New York City History filling the walls, what really caught my eye and attention were the very dust-laden wish bones hanging over the bar.  Apparently the “Wishbones” hanging above the bar were hung there by many of the young men going off to World War I, only to be removed when they returned, the remaining wishbones that are still hanging to this day, are from those who never returned.

McSorleys.Wishbones.watermarked 3.1.17


Wishbones left by Soldiers from WWI  


As noted by this sign, one of McSorley’s original motto’s was “Be Good or Be Gone”!

McSorley.BigGood.BeGone 3.18.18

It was finally dark when we left and took a walk around the East Village, at the corner was the sign for St. Mark’s Place. I had to take this picture, as growing up I spent every weekend hanging out on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village.  If you are old enough to remember, the “Electric Circus” it was on St. Mark’s Place. Of course those days will have to wait for a different Blog of my life!!

McSorleys.StMarksPl sign

Thanks to Keith and Ryan for making my Birthday, which was in November, a very memorable Irish experience!!!

McSorleys.Painting 1912-McSorley's_Bar.JohnSolan.artist


1912 Painting of McSorley’s – artist, John Sloan



About Pamela Baker

For as long as I can remember, I have always been interested in various crafts. After crocheting for many years, recently I started designing OOAK jewelry pieces, always learning new techniques as I continued. I also have always loved to write, so I look forward to being a part of this Blog as one it's contributors. As a lifelong resident of NY, I am busy with my two shops on Etsy: MagdaleneJewels (OOAK designed jewelry items: Necklace,Bracelets, Earrings,rings): also, MagdaleneKnits (Crocheted & Knitted items for Newborns to Adults) I can also be found on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Word Press, YouTube. My Blogs are: I also intend to bring tutorials to help you develop your Shops more effectively to increase your Views and Sales on the various mediums you may be selling your work on. I am always a convo or email away if you have any specific questions I can help you with.
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