Take a day or evening tour and see Manhattan and learn its history, visiting some of the city's earliest taverns. Walk through time as we visit three or four historic bars. This tour will include the history of the neighborhoods we pass through on our way to the next whisky bar.
Uptown Crawl: Dress Up
Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel
Ludwig Bemelmans was the author and illustrator of the Madeline series of children's books. His murals are a great work of art. Bourgeoisie charm still lives in this bastion of post-war decadence with white-jacket waiters, gold leaf ceilings, and classic piano music.
The Algonquin is New York's most prestigious literary hotel with more connections to literature and the arts than any other hotel in the city. For more than 100 years, it has played host to writers, editors, actors, producers and industry types. Dorothy Parker’s Round Table was located here. Also the NY Yacht Club, Harvard Club and The Royalton Hotel are on this block.
Campbell Apartment and The Oyster Bar at the Grand Central Station
Campbell Apt is a 25-foot-high room, which in the 1920s housed the hide-a-way of John W. Campbell, a friend of ‘The Commodore’, Cornelius Vanderbilt, the owner of the New York Central Railroad. Today it is a well-kept secret during the day. At night it is very popular.
Oyster Bar is an original restaurant from 1913 with a beautiful vaulted Guastavino tile ceiling built into the lower level of the station. Have an oyster, or a cup of chowder, and grab a beer.
King Cole Bar at the St Regis Hotel
Take refuge in the dark, lavish warmth of The King Cole Bar and the famous Maxfield Parrish mural. Lore has it that the "Red Snapper" came over from Harry’s Bar in Paris and eventually morphed into the Bloody Mary, King Cole's signature cocktail.
In 1868 Patrick Henry Carley opened his Landmark Tavern, an Irish Waterfront Saloon. In those days there was no 12th Avenue, just the shores of the Hudson River. As one of the oldest continually operating establishments in the city today, the Landmark Tavern still retains its classic old New York charm. Although a bit out of the way, it is a good place to end the tour if you are interested in a charming lunch or dinner.
Downtown Crawl: Casual
Pete's Tavern opened its doors in 1864. This achievement makes Pete's Tavern the longest continuously operating bar and restaurant in New York City. It even stayed open during Prohibition: disguised as a flower shop. A nice story has it that O. Henry wrote the Gift of the Magi at the second booth. Located in the historic Gramercy Park neighborhood.
Old Town Bar
First opened in 1892, Old Town Bar retains its classic charm with pressed tin ceilings and the oldest operating dumbwaiter in New York City. Originally home to Tammany Hall politicians including Mayor Jimmy Walker and Governor Al Smith whose headquarters were just around the corner. Their patronage allowed it to operate throughout Prohibition. Located in the Union Square neighborhood.
McSorley's Old Ale House
McSorley's Old Ale House - don’t ask for a beer – ask instead for two ales. The venerable old bar has been a gathering place, watering hole and the subject of art and literature and even a Supreme Court case since 1854. It is located in the East Village around the corner from Cooper Union.
White Horse Tavern
Bob Dylan was a regular here in 1961, often to watch the The Clancy Brothers play. It was the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas' preferred watering hole, and on the anniversary of his death, they serve the last meal Thomas ate at the White Horse before he died. Still a great place to have a drink and a bite to eat in a history-laden atmosphere.
Built in 1817 for a certain James Brown. He is reputed to have been a black man and aide to George Washington during the Revolution. The building was once his federal style house. Nearby stood the elegant Richmond Hill Estate, home of George Washington as President, and later the residence of John Adams and Aaron Burr. When constructed, the building was only 5 feet from the Hudson River. It was longshoreman’s bar for over a century.