Special Report

Oldest Bars in America

Source: Courtesy of The Griswold Inn / Facebook

Tap Room in the Griswold Inn
> Location: Essex, CT
> Founding date: 1776

The Griswold Inn is one of the oldest continuously-operated inns in the country – an upscale destination for dining and lodging (there are 33 guest rooms, each unique). Its tap room was constructed as a schoolhouse in 1735 and later moved into its current position by a team of oxen. One of the most beautiful and historic barrooms in America, “the Gris” is known for its clam chowder and house-made sausages.

Source: Courtesy of The Horse You Came In On Saloon

The Horse You Came in on Tavern
> Location: Fells Point, MD
> Founding date: 1775

Known by locals as “The Horse,” this tavern today claims to be the country’s oldest continually operated saloon. In any case, it’s the only bar in Maryland to have existed before, during, and after Prohibition – and is also said to have been Edgar Allan Poe’s last stop before his mysterious death in 1849. Today, it’s a warm and inviting old bar and popular live music venue.

Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
> Location: New Orleans, LA
> Founding date: 1775

Situated at the quiet end of the city’s Bourbon Street (if such a thing exists), Jean Lafitte’s occupies a building that was constructed around 1722 and is said to have been used by legendary privateer Jean Lafitte as a New Orleans base of operations (although that hasn’t been verified) before becoming a tavern. Today it’s a dark, cozy bar that’s best known for strong, sugary drinks like the grape-flavored, Everclear-spiked Purple Drank.

Fraunces Tavern
> Location: New York City, NY
> Founding date: 1762

An anachronism among the hovering skyscrapers of Manhattan’s Financial District, the Colonial-era Fraunces Tavern is New York’s oldest tavern, and is most famously where George Washington bid farewell to his officers after the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783. The current building is a reconstruction (nobody is quite sure exactly what it originally looked like), but it’s home to a lovely restaurant, a couple beautiful bars, and a museum.

The Old ’76 House (André’s Prison)
> Location: Tappan, NY
> Founding date: 1755

Built in 1755 and used as a meeting place for patriots, The Old ’76 House was famously used as a prison for Major John André, a British spy who assisted Benedict Arnold in his plan to turn West Point over to the British. George Washington and just about every other luminary of the Revolution dined there, and nowadays it’s a popular tavern, private event space, and live music venue.

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