Centuries ago, the colonists didn’t spend hours dining in restaurants. Instead, they would spend their time in their local taverns. Most of those taverns or bars are long gone, but there are a few that have stood the test of time and still serve history along with food and alcohol.
Here are the oldest bars in America:
Fraunces Tavern in New York City
This historic tavern opened in 1762 at Broad and Pearl in Manhattan. It originally served as a meeting place for the Sons of Liberty, but continued to serve as a place where famous people could be seen during the 18th century. In fact, President George Washington said farewell to the Continental Army at this bar in December of 1783.
White Horse Tavern in Rhode Island
The White Horse Tavern in Newport was founded in 1673, which makes it almost a century older than the aforementioned bar in New York City. The building that the bar is in was originally constructed as a residence in 1652 and it was converted to the tavern when a new owner acquired the building. The Colony’s General Assembly, Criminal Court, and City Council met at this tavern for one hundred years and it is where the Businessman’s Lunch became a common occurrence. This bar became a rooming house for some time before being restored and reopened as a tavern once again.
Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop in New Orleans
Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop opened in 1775 and it is where Jean Lafitte’s operations were completed. Lafitte was a hero of the Battle of New Orleans as well as a pirate and a spy. There are numerous legends that are still told to this day about Lafitte, and many of them have been embellished a lot over the years. However, that is what makes this Bourbon Street bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter such a popular destination.
Bell in Hand Tavern in Boston
Jimmy Wilson was an 18th century town crier and he founded this bar in 1795 on Union Street in Boston’s North End. Jimmy was one of the reasons why this bar was so popular, after all, everyone in the city knew who he was. While he never sold whiskey, rum, or gin at the Bell in Hand Tavern, he did sell a thick ale that needed to be served in two mugs. One mug held the ale and the other held the froth. Back when the Bell in Hand opened, everyone went there for the ale and lively conversations and that hasn’t changed to this day.
Broad Axe Tavern in Pennsylvania
The Broad Axe Tavern was founded in 1681 in Ambler as colonists were traveling along the paths outside the city of Philadelphia. This tavern became more popular as the city grew is size, because these backroads were being used more often. While most of the people in the tavern were farmers and travelers, there were occasions, after battles, when George Washington and his troops would stop in for a drink.
Old Yarmouth Inn in Massachusetts
The Old Yarmouth Inn was founded in 1696 on the shores of Cape Cod in Yarmouth Port. This popular inn is still the place for travelers that are visiting the Cape, and people will either stay there or at least stop in for a meal and a drink or two. The Inn’s menu is full of classic New England cuisine including oysters and clam chowder.
Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington D.C.
This bar started with political sightings when it opened in 1856 and that hasn’t slowed down since. The Old Ebbitt Grill is only steps from the White House and its earliest political visitors were Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding, and Theodore Roosevelt. Current guests now visit for a chance to see any political person or just for the opportunity to sit where some infamous political people once sat.
Jessop’s Tavern in Delaware
Jessop’s Tavern has gone through some name changes and business ventures over the years since it was founded by Abraham Jessop in 1724. However, the current owners have chosen to keep the history alive while also including the numerous cultures of the region. The bar serves English, Belgian, Dutch, and Swedish cuisine and while they serve numerous beers from around the world, their main focus is on Belgian beers.
City Tavern in Philadelphia
The City Tavern opened for business in December of 1773 with five floors. There were numerous kitchens, a large ballroom, three dining rooms, two coffee rooms, and a bar. Paul Revere visited this tavern for the first time in May of 1774, before being met there by a couple hundred prominent locals the very next day. While many historic events have been held at the City Tavern, none are more important than the very first Fourth of July celebration that was held there in 1777.
These are some of the oldest bars in America and they serve up some fabulous historical stories along with their drinks and food. Everyone who steps foot in these establishments may feel like they are stepping back in time as they sit on a bar stool in the same spot where George Washington or Paul Revere may have once sat.