11 April 2009

Drunk in New York City

My apologies for the lack of updates. There have been several reasons for this. First of all, the local LCBO's well of strange brew has kind of run dry, leaving me to have to expand my search for potential review candidates. Remember, we are always open for suggestions! If any Ontario readers come across a good candidate for this blog, email me with the deatails and I will attempt to obtain it for review. As for today's entry, I just returned from a week in New York City, where I discovered an absolute must for any fan of bars, beer or this blog: A New York institution in Manhattan's East Village known as McSorley's Old Ale House.

"Be good or be gone" is the motto at the oldest bar in New York; a throwback to days when your local served beer brewed on premesis and women were barred from entering. In fact, it was only in 1970 when civil rights attorneys Faith Seidenberg and Karen DeCrow won a Supreme Court case against McSorley's to be allowed entry. The oldest continually operating saloon in New York has served everyone from Abe Lincoln to John Lennon in it's 150 years of history.

Stepping inside McSorley's is like taking a trip back in time. From the sawdust strewn floors to the burning coal scuttle, this bar is literally soaked in history. The ancient tables are worn down from years of use and the walls are covered in pictures, historical documents and other memorabilia marking milestones in it's history. It truly is a sight to behold. Once you have taken in the history of the place, step up to the bar and order some ale. Just don't expect to find Budweiser or fancy European imports. McSorleys serves only two kinds of ale: McSorley's Light and McSorley's Dark, and will cost you $4.50 for two mugs of either.

Now, it could be said that a storied watering hole like this could make a good living off fleecing tourists by selling overpriced beer while riding the coattails of its reputation. Fortunately, this is not the case at McSorley's. The ale is not only cheap, it is quite good as well. Having tried both during the two nights I spent there (yes, I liked it that much!), I can say that I personally preferred the dark. However, that is only from a personal standpoint as both were definately drinkable. Keep in mind that McSorley's can get very busy, especially on a weekend. This may result in you being "relocated" to another table to accomodate the ever-growing crowd of patrons. This is nothing to be worried about however. Everyone I met follows the McSorley's motto and tend to be very welcoming. I ended up sitting with many different people during my time there, including a couple fellow Canadians from Montreal! So if you ever find yourself in New York, head over to McSorley's for a couple mugs of ale. You'll be glad you did!


John III said...

Sounds like a great place to visit! If you can stand being in New York....

We were wondering what happened to you. A vacation is always a good reason in my book!

NYCity Mama said...

Ah, yes, McSorley's. My husband LOVES this place...but he's also from the Midwest and still thinks that places that serve you crackers and raw onions with your light or dark beer, where they treat you like crap and talk to you like they are doing you a favor by even coming to your table is cool. I on the other hand can't stand the place...but I know a lot of people think it's fab...so don't go by my opinion of it. It certainly is an experience to be had...especially if you are a woman, and of color. lol! Great post!