A Brief History: Established in 1854, McSorley’s Old Ale House, originally called “the old house at home” is New York City’s oldest continually open saloon. Located at 15 East 7thStreet New York, NY. John Mcsorley, the founder, had a passion for memorabilia. Still used as a watering hole today beers are served two at a time and the walls are decorated with artifacts collected over their 150 year history. Some of these items include: a wanted poster of John Wilkes Booth, the handcuffs of Harry Houdini, a pair of work boots belonging to JFK’s grandfather and a chair that Abraham Lincoln sat in to name a few. They only serve their light and dark brew no other liquor or wine. As you enjoy a light or dark ale you may notice the wishbones hanging from an old gas lamp at the far end of the bar. Dating back to World War I and Covered in decades of dust it is said that these wishbones were hung by the departing infantrymen that enjoyed one last meal and hung the bones to symbolize their wish to make it back home. Once the men returned from war they took down their bones and drank to the men whose bones still hung from the lamp. Anyone who touches the wishbones now is banned from the bar. Currently there are about two dozen bones hanging. McSorley’s hosted many well known people such as: Abraham Lincoln, Harry Houdini, Theodore Roosevelt, Woody Guthrie, John Lennon, Jackie Gleason, John Steinbeck, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, John, Robert and Ted Kennedy. The New York Rangers brought the Stanley Cup there in 1994 and drank from it. McSorley’s even survived prohibition by serving to politicians and police while brewing beer in the basement. McSorley’s was a men’s only establishment until 1970 after women won a controversial supreme court case allowing them to enter the saloon.
Haunted History: Legend has it that the saloon may be haunted by the spirit of Harry Houdini and if a cat is seen in the window then Houdini’s spirit is active. Some people even claim to be ‘thrown out by Houdini’ if they get too drunk.