History of the East Village’s McSorley’s Old Ale House

McSorley's
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McSorley’s Old Ale House is one of New York City's oldest bars and is full of rich history to prove it.

McSorley’s was established in 1854 by John McSorley, an immigrant from Ireland.

Originating as an Irish "workingman's saloon," the bar is a historic landmark both to the Irish community and the city of New York.

Notable McSorley’s patrons include former U.S. presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt.

The bar has remained a part of East Village history, and has been actively shaped by American political discourse over time.

McSorley’s continued operating throughout Prohibition when beer, ale, liquor and wine were illegal. They sold what they called “near beer."

The bar, which originated as a male-only establishment, was touched by the nation’s changing political and social climate in 1969 when they were sued to permit women to enter.

Barbara Shaum, became the first female patron to be admitted to the establishment in 1970. Shaum was allowed into McSorley’s after the passing of an ordinance which forbid discrimination based on sex within the city.

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