Undoubtedly, there are hundreds of New Yorkers and out-of-towners planning to stop by McSorley’s Old Ale House today for a St. Patrick’s Day round of beers. But beyond the brews and bros, there’s a deep history rooted in this East Village institution, and we’ve found the man who knows it all.
The official historian of McSorley’s, Bill Wander can give you the full timeline that dates McSorley’s to 1854, making it the oldest bar in the city. He can also fill you in on all the tchotchkes adorning the walls of this Irish tavern, none of which have been removed since 1910. But more important than the textbook facts related to McSorley’s, Bill has an undeniable passion for this watering hole, for both its important cultural history and the unique social atmosphere that keeps the bar a neighborhood mainstay after all these years. We recently chatted with Bill to find out some of the lesser-known details about McSorley’s and what the title of “official historian” entails.