Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York outside 54 Pearl Street on opening day. Taken from Broad Street facing east. 1907. From the archives at Fraunces Tavern Museum. Courtesy of the Fraunces Tavern Museum
Fraunces Tavern is breaking out the champagne this year to celebrate its 300th birthday. Called “the oldest standing structure in Manhattan,” the building you see today at the corner of Broad and Pearl Streets owes much to 20th-century reconstruction and restoration, but the site has a storied and stately past. In fact, any toasts delivered to mark the Tavern’s tri-centennial will have to stack up against George Washington’s farewell toast to his officers, delivered in the Tavern’s Long Room, on December 4, 1783.
Named for Samuel Fraunces, the patriot, spy, steward, and gourmand, who turned the old De Lancey Mansion at 54 Pearl Street into 18th century New York’s hottest watering hole, Fraunces Tavern connects New York’s proud immigrant history with its Dutch past, Revolutionary glory, maritime heritage, and continuous culinary prowess. Dive into the building’s unparalleled past and discover secrets and statesmen, murder and merriment – all served up alongside oysters as big as your face.
Learn the whole history
Getting to know a Son of Liberty, via Fraunces Tavern
The Sons of Liberty may be best known for the Boston Tea Party, but Fraunces Tavern, the Revolutionary-era watering hole and museum at 54 Pearl Street, is showcasing the group’s history in New York City. The new exhibit, Fear and Force: New York City’s Sons of Liberty, opened on Wednesday, August 22nd in the Museum’s Mesick Gallery.
In 1765, New York’s Sons of Liberty began protesting the Stamp Act, and other measures they believed the King had no right to impose. Their active resistance to the trappings of British Rule makes for an exciting exhibition. The items on display, all culled from the Museum’s own collection, reveal the group’s pivotal role on the road to Revolution. Interactive features, like chests of Bohea tea, which you can sniff, help make visitors feel like a part of that story.
The revolution continues…
With rising rents and ever-changing commercial drags, New Yorkers can take comfort that the city still holds classic bar haunts, some of which have been serving booze for over 100 years. Some watering holes, like the Financial District’s Fraunces Tavern, played a crucial role in major historic events. Others, like Midtown’s 21 Club and the West Village’s White Horse Tavern, hosted the most notable New Yorkers of the time. These institutions all survived Prohibition–managing to serve alcohol in both unique and secretive ways–and figured out ways to serve a diverse, ever-changing clientele of New Yorkers up to this day.
6sqft rounded up the seven most impressive bars when it comes to New York City history–and they’ve got the legends, stories, and ghosts to prove it. From longshoreman bars to underground speakeasies to Upper East Side institutions, these are the watering holes that have truly withstood New York’s test of time.
This way for the roundup