on November 13, 2008
McSorley's is a classic New York & East Village spot... and worth a trip. Depending on when you go, you'll see the grungy/hipster/"trying to be cool" tourists along with locals and groups that come for the fun. McSorley's serves their own beer in two styles - light or dark. You'll fit in so much better if you know this before you go! The beer comes in two mugs, per person, and prices are on the chalkboard on the wall. You can ask questions but you will look so obvious, and not cool at all. If you're reading this, though, you're in the know! They do have food - the special the last time I went was fish & chips, and quite a few of the "locals" were dining. Each table comes equipped with a jar of mustard that appears it could have been from the founding of McSorley's in 1854. No matter, just don't eat it and you'll be fine. Or try it out on a dare!I chose the light beer, and thought half of it was foam to start - really enjoyed it. We sat beside a delightful trio from Ireland and struck up a brief conversation (it is New York, after all; perhaps later in the night the conversation would have gone longer). On a Friday afternoon at 5 pm the crowd was light and fun and the waitstaff not yet impatient.When you walk in, you can tell it exists from long ago. First of all the putrid air hits you strongly - not a stale beer smell, but a "older than old but still kicking" aroma. The bar is along the right side, and tables along the leftside. No need to get a drink from the bar; a waitstaff will quickly come to you. Chairs and tables are small and muddled together; simply find a spot and sit. The back area has better space for larger groups, with round tables. As they say "we were here before you were born" - what a reason to visit, if not to say you visited a classic. Women weren't allowed in until the 1970s - and no women were working the last time I visited. A great destination to take part in the spirit & history of the city.
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