Three Sons & A Dad’s
McSorley’s Trip 2013
The facade of McSorley’s Old Ale House as it has looked since 1854 in New York City. – - Located at #15 East 7th Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenues near Union Square & Cooper Union.
Excuse us for living, but this April 2013 marked my fifth trip with my three sons to the one and only Mc Sorley’s Old Ale House in New York City. We have been doing so every other year since 2004. (Last year’s trip was postponed until now due to #2 son’s one and one-half year work sojourn in London.) To my delight, the “boys” seem almost more enthused than I am with each visit to my old haunt. Actually, I am thrilled too that we have this time together relating in a very unique way.
As my sons’ jobs and abodes changed location over the years, so have the details of each trip. Suffice it to say, we all rendezvous at McSorley’s at 3:00 PM on a Saturday in the spring. The custom of this NYC landmark is to serve 2 mugs of ale, one dark and one light, at the same time to each person as “a round.” No trip is complete without a dish or two of American or Cheddar cheese, crackers, raw onions, and HOT mustard. Now the mustard is so hot, it requires an ale in hand to quickly wash this unique culinary treat down as fast as possible. This routine goes on for anywhere from 6 to 9 rounds. Now that totals 12 to 18 mugs a man! We’re talkin’ some serious beer drinkin’! To everyone’s amusement, an ever so brief mock business meeting of the “Three Sons & A Dad’s Club” is conducted by yours truly according to a loose interpretation of parliamentary procedure a` la Robert’s Rules of Order. Plenty of photographs are taken in the course of our spell at McSorley’s to incriminate all! We always terminate our visit by 5:00 PM. At that time, we take a traditional photo around one of the green barrels placed on the sidewalk outside the storefront. – - Cigars passed around to all concerned! Then, it is off to dinner with wine, of course, at a preordained, with much “research,” Italian restaurant nearby. Such evenings end with retreat, inevitably, to one son’s NYC apartment for an “overnighter” to sleep it off! – - Full diner breakfast Sunday morn & then everyone off on their respective trips back home.
Every trip to McSorley’s includes a photo like this of all four of us. Left to right after me is #2 son Peter, #1 son Andy, & #3 son Tom. We know this is “special” & “one for the ages.”
If you don’t try the cheese, crackers, raw onions, & HOT mustard at McSorley’s, you just haven’t been there! It’s part of the experience & what a treat, what fun!
Here we are leaving McSorley’s & taking another traditional photo with me sitting on one of the old barrels out front.
The roots of this McSorley’s tradition date back to my years at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 1965. Members of the Rutgers Glee Club, to which I belonged, introduced me to McSorley’s one fateful weekend. It was love at first gulp! The atmosphere was infectious from the sawdust on the floor to the memorabilia on the walls going back to 1854, when its doors first opened. “We were here before you were born,” became McSorley’s motto, painted on the front window, at some point over the years. In those college days, “2 Draught Ale .30 cents,” says the menu (which hangs today in my house over my upright piano), “Coca Cola-Seven Up .20 cents, Cheese & Crackers & Onions $1.00 Large, .50 cents Small.” Even our meager college allowances could afford McSorley’s. And all we had to do as members of the Rutgers Glee Club was to break into song , as we inevitably did, and the clientele saw to it that we “drank free” with all the rounds they bought us. Today, the 2 drafts are up to $5.50 now! But the cheese and crackers are only $5.50….. “Go figure!”
Waiter Richard Buggy, known to all who frequent McSorley’s, proudly meets Andy a few years ago. He was waiting tables at McSorley’s going back to my Rutgers years & I knew him then! He retired around 2010. On the wall of McSorley’s is a small newspaper article about Richard Buggy’s regular job as an NYC Police undercover cop in all sorts of disguises!
McSorley’s Old Ale House is the oldest Irish tavern in New York City, founded by John McSorley in 1854, just a few years after he arrived from Ireland. It’s “claim to fame” was having been one of the last “Men’s Only” pubs. This practice ended in 1970 when the doors of McSorley’s opened to women as a result of a discrimination case brought to District Court and won. But the establishment took 16 years to add a proper “Ladies Room,” sharing a unisex bathroom with the gents all those years! The memorabilia on the walls is an eclectic collection from art work to newspaper articles, literary pieces, and items dating back in history and politics from photographs to campaign buttons and so much more! McSorley’s is considered one of New York City’s “top 5 Historic Bars,” located within the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District. Patrons of McSorley’s go back in history to include Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Peter Cooper, Woody Guthrie and a long list of literary figures.
Photos of McSorley’s Interior “Ambiance”
Excuse us for living, but to visit McSorley’s will add much to the “living” and with no need to “excuse”!
Comments: Please! This was a real “fun write” with photos…almost as much fun as this last trip! Thanks, guys for trip #5!!!