Fraunces Tavern, one of the contenders for NYC's oldest bar.
© Steve Hamblin / Alamy Stock Photo
Mike Pomranz
June 22, 2017

What’s the oldest bar in New York City? It’s a straight-forward question. That is, until you actually start asking people.

Christian Nilsson of HuffPost News recently investigated “The Fight to Be the Oldest Bar in New York City.” He found three spots laying claim to the throne: McSorley’s and Fraunces in Manhattan, and Neir’s in Queens. Depending on where your alliance lies, the opening date of NYC’s oldest continuously operating tavern could be anywhere between 1762 and 1854.

The problems with getting a clear answer to this question are many: Comprehensive historical records are hard to come by; the definition is inherently a little bit fuzzy (for example, with Prohibition, what really constitutes “continuous”); and, of course, owners have a dog in the race. Running the oldest pub can surely be good for business. Just ask McSorley’s: It’s still popular after over 150 years and they only serve two kinds of beer!

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