New York’s Oldest Irish Pub Turns 162

An Irish pub in New York has recently celebrated its birthday in style, honouring the many famous people who drank there.

McSorley’s Old Ale House, which is located in the East Village, has been around for the last 162 years.

For more than one and a half century, it has entertained some of the greatest presidents of the United States, from Abraham Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt.


McSorley’s Old Ale House, 15 East 7th Street, Manhattan, New York. Photograph taken July 22, 2010.

As such, the owners find it fitting to throw the birthday bash on February 15, the same day as President’s Day.

The “Irish Embassy of New York”

The old pub is a New York institution and only a few New Yorkers are not familiar with it.

It’s also quite popular among the Irish both in the U.S. and other parts of the globe. In fact, the Dubliners called McSorley’s as the “original Irish Embassy of New York” and it is certainly a must-visit for any Irishmen or women coming to New York for a holiday.

McSorley’s is known for its two mottos:

“Be Good or Be Gone,”


“We were here before you were born.”

Indeed, the bar is a great place to have fun and share some great stories.

FT5S+McSorleys - Irish Pub

The bar has this old world charm and stepping into it will give you this feeling that McSorley’s will still be around long after you’re gone.

The walls are covered with old artwork and newspaper clippings, while the floors are covered in sawdust.

According to the bar staff, many of whom are Irish, nobody has ever tried to remove anything from the pub’s collection of various memorabilia since 1910.

These include Houdini’s handcuffs and turkey wishbones left by local boys who went out to fight in France during World War I.

Wishbone-Irish Pub

There have been questions surrounding the bar’s history.

According McSorley’s, it has been open since 1854.

However, records show that no building was on the site where the pub is currently located from 1860 to 1861.

What’s certain is that John McSorley migrated from Ireland to the United States at 18 years old, arriving in New York on January 23, 1851 with Mary McSorley, who was 16 years old.

The first mention of the bar in the New York City directories was in 1862 and it’s believed that that bar was built no earlier than 1858.

However, it is also possible that there might have a smaller structure where the McSorley’s stands now.

Credit: Kate Hickey of

Irish Pub


Have you been to this famous Irish pub? Comment below

Find Your Irish DNA



There is so many Irish around the world, this website was created to help connect and spread the Irish connections. We are so far apart but so connected at the same time. Enjoy