Historical Bar Crawl

Ready to go visit NYC? Get a history lesson while enjoying a draft beer! There are over 3000 different bars in New York City, some that still tell the history of this city.  The large selection includes former speakeasies, hangout of artists and mobsters. We’ve put together a list including 5 of the most historical bars in the city for the perfect “Historical Bar Crawl”. The bars all survived the Prohibition Era between 1920-1933 which was a ban on alcohol by operating as Speakeasy; hiding their bars behind something else such as a flower shop or behind the restaurant kitchen. They have served many historical figures through out their years.

If you want to visit them all and do the full Historical Bar Crawl scroll down to the bottom of the post for a complete walking map – go visit NYC!

Fraunces Tavern (1762)

Fraunces Tavern is the oldest bar in the city and the first stop on our historic bar crawl. It is serving over 200 whiskeys and 30 craft beers and ciders.

JFranunces Tavern - New Yorkohn Adams, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington have all been seen here. When you visit this place don’t forget to visit the upstairs museum, here you can find the Long Room,  where Washington said goodbye to his troops when he retired from the army.

Address: 54 Pearl St, Battery Park (corner of Broad Street)

McSorley’s Old Ale House (1854)

Over the years they’ve welcomed many notables, including U.S. Presidents and famous authors. People such as Abe Lincoln and John Lennon have in fact visited the saloonmcsorley's new york. The American singer and songwriter Woodrow Guthrie, known for inspiring generations both politically and musically, influenced the union movement from one of the front tables. Maybe if you are lucky enough, you can enjoy a beer at the same table where this UK far-right political party sparked.

mcsorley's new yorkWhen the bar first opened they had the motto “Good Ale, Raw Onions, and No Ladies.” Indeed, women were not admitted inside until 1970.

They only serve light and dark Ale brewed from the original receipts brought over from Ireland.

Address 15 East 7th Street, East Village

Pete’s Tavern (1864)

The tavern O. Henry made famous –  the Ale house with high quality neighborhood service made him a loyal regular. He lived down the street and local legends say he wrote his well-known story “The Gift of the Magi” in the second booth from the front. Pete's Tavern - New York

The tavern survived the Prohibition Era by operating as a flower shop with the bar hidden in the back. Today the hidden Speakeasy room can be used for larger groups and events at no additional cost.

Address:  129 East 18th Street 

P.J Clarkes (1884)

Buddy Holly prosed to his wife here, after knowing her for 5 hours. You can do the same…or just grab a cold one instead. The building was converted in 1884 into a saloon serving mostly Irish immigrant laborers.

P.J Clarkes - New York

After the prohibition era the place gained quite a reputation. Frank Sinatra regularly closed the place down at Table #20 and Johnny Mercer wrote “One for My Baby” on a bar napkin.

They also got an “icy reputation” by keeping their beer cold on 200 pound blocks of ice until the Reagan administration when they switched to modernized refrigeration techniques.

The bar has been featured in the television show “Mad Men” during the first season.

Address: 915 Third Avenue (East 55th Street)

Old Town Bar (1892)

The last stop on go visit NYC historical bar crawl is the Old Town Bar. The bar originally only served beverages, but during the prohibition era they were forced to add food to their menu in order to operate as a Speakeasy. The bar has preserved many of its old fixtures such as antique cash registers, wooden booths, and the oldest dumbwaiter in New York that takes food from the upstairs kitchen to the downstairs to the bar.

Old Town Bar - New York

The bar has been featured in many movies and music videos such as House of Pain 1992 “Jump Around” and Madonna’s 1993 “Bad Girl” video. It also appears in the television show Sex in the City and in the opening of Late Night with David Letterman from 1987 until 1992.

Address:  45 East 18th Street


Are you ready to go visit NYC and experience this historical bar crawl?

Historial Bar Crawl - New York
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