McSorley’s – New York

My last post was on City Tavern in Philadelphia, a tourist trap historical pub with (as it turned out) a surprisingly good set of beer and food. McSorley’s is quite a different beast. It is certainly a tourist spot, but it comes across much more naturally. Certainly it is much simpler. At McSorley’s you have three choices – a dark beer, a light beer or a mixture of the two (half of each, rather than some sort of terrible cocktail). On the floor you have sawdust. For furniture we have plain wooden tables and chairs. It’s all very spartan, but in a good way – the staff are friendly, the beer is good and the atmosphere is pleasant.

McSorley’s is probably the oldest real “Irish” pub in New York. It opened some time in the mid-nineteenth century and the inside has been keep largely the same since the early twentieth century (although they did finally let women in in the 70’s after a landmark legal case – they even provide bathrooms for them now!). There’s not a huge amount to say about it, through the year it may have had some notable clientele but fundamentally it comes across as a nice pub for drinkers. It’s basic but comfortable, the beer is limited but tasty, and the service is low key but friendly. I’d highly recommend it.

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