America’s Oldest Bar

In 1967, Charlie Papazian used to hop a train that took him from his New Jersey home to New York City, where 18-year-olds could legally drink. One of his watering holes was McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan. An older, wiser, and definitely more famous Papazian recently paid the venerable establishment a return visit.

“Venerable” is an understatement. McSorley’s is at least 150 years old (the exact year of its establishment is in dispute) and is the oldest still-existing licensed establishment in America. It’s also one of the most old-school establishments: it enforced a “men-only” policy until 1970, when a federal judge laid down the law ordered it to serve women. The menu has changed little over the years, the floors are covered with sawdust, and beer is served in ten-ounce glasses.

Papazian says: If there is only time for one beer in New York City–my recommendation would be to have it at McSorley’s Old Ale House.”

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