Many cold beers stood on the counter of Old Town Bar since it opened in 1892. Now that you’re in New York City, how about a trip back in the past!
History of Old Town Bar
The bar opened in 1892 near Union Square. The Speak-easy on 17th Street was run by Tammany Hall, an organization linked to the Democratic Party.
A restaurant room was added during the prohibition. The dumbwaiters are one of the oldest and still in use in New York City.
Another thing that has not changed since 1910: the Hinsdale urinals. They even celebrated their 100th birthday with a big party.
Old Town Bar inspired many writers. It is where they met, among others, Nobel Price Seamus Heaney and the playwright Brian Friel. If you’ve seen movies like “Last Days of Disco”, “Bullets Over Broadway”; or series like “Sex and the City”, you are likely to recognize the bar. It also appeared for many years in the presentation of the David Letterman Show and in Madonna’s videoclip for Bad Girl.
How is the bar?
From the small entrance you can go to the left for the bar or climb the wooden stairs to access the restaurant.
The marble and mahogany bar is about 17 meters long. There are some tables on the sides and a small room in the back. The walls are covered with old mirrors. It seems that modernity never happened here. However, there are two small flat screen TVs that this day broadcast a football game.
The restaurant is on the first floor. It used to be called “Ladies and Gentlemen’s Dining Room”. The decoration is the same as below with wooden tables, chairs and walls and some windows overlooking the street.
How is the bar environment?
It’s a quiet place, the music is not very high. It is a perfect place to spend time with friends or just your partner.
I was at the bar between 6.30pm and 7pm and there was a family with children. As it is a restaurant, they can enter, even when the restaurant on the 2nd floor is closed. However, I suppose that after a certain time, it is no longer possible for minors to get in.
What to eat and drink?
That night I had a beer at a reasonable price for New York City, $ 7.50. It looks like spirits are around $ 10-15 a glass.
A group of friends by my side had ordered hamburgers and they looked delicious. Considered the best in the city by NY Times Gourmet Mag, you can order a burger that only costs $ 11.50. You can also order other snacks or typical dishes such as hot dogs.
How is the service?
I stayed at the bar and they treated me very well. According to the official site of Old Town Bar, those who work here are true New Yorkers, from generations. Some are descendants of John Fassig, the owner of the largest tavern in New York between 1840 and 1855.
Where is Old Town Bar?
It’s in the Flatiron District, one block from Union Square.
Address: 45 East 18th St (Broadway/Park Avenue).
If you are looking for an authentic place in New York City, then you should go to Old Town Bar. I think it became my new favorite place and I will have to go there every time I’m in NYC. If you want a little souvenir from the bar, you can go to the Rothman’s store at the corner of the street and buy this shirt!