Friday, 13 March 2009


Pete's Tavern at 129 East 18th Street near Gramercy Park,, claims to be the oldest continuously operating tavern in New York City. This iconic bar has been featured in numerous television shows, advertisements, and movies. Pete's Tavern has been operating as a bar since 1864. During prohibition, when selling alcohol was illegal, Pete's continued to operate disguised as a flower shop.

Pete's Tavern at lunchtime. Sketch by Stephen Gardner

Take away the television (and most of the women), and you'll have a pretty good idea of what this pub looked like when it pulled its first pint back during the Civil War. It still retains a neighborhood atmosphere right down to the regular's football pool. The intricately carved bar serves enough beers (including Pete's own brew, 1864 Ale) to slake all but the pretentious thirsts, and the dense decor recalls an eccentric grandmother's attic.

O.Henry, the pen name of American writer William Sydney Porter (1822-1910) was regular at Pete's Tavern. His short stories are known for wit, wordplay, warm characterization and clever twist endings and from his favourite booth in the front part of the tavern wrote in 1904 one of his most famous stories "The Gift of the Magi".

Pete's Tavern is the ideal place to enjoy an intimate and flavoursome meal in one of the many cosy booths or outside (with the weather's blessing) on one of the colourfully presented tables. Or just hoist a pint of house ale at the original thirty-foot rosewood bar.

No comments: