McSorley’s is one of the oldest Irish taverns in New York City. The Old Ale House opened its doors in 1854. This historic drinking hole was a stop for Civil War soldiers before they went off to fight. In fact, Coopers Union, where Abe Lincoln would give speeches, is right around the corner; and he was known to pop in for a drink. As tradition would have it, soldiers during World War I would hang wishbones over the bar – which can still be seen today.
‘Be Good Or Be Gone’ has always been the motto of McSorley’s.
I first read about McSorley’s in the Joseph Mitchell book: Up in the Old Hotel. The writer wrote about his experience at McSorley’s in the 1940’s when he worked for the New Yorker. The bar used to be a ‘Men Only’ drinking establishing – up until 1970. And, as always, there’s still sawdust on the floor.