The 5 Oldest Restaurants in NYC


You’ll never go hungry when you’re in New York — at least not for lack of eateries. From bodega sandwiches to Michelin-star restaurants, the city has one of the best cuisines for you to try! But it’s also home to historic restaurants. Some of the oldest restaurants in NYC still serve the food that they’ve been making for generations — and you’ll see why these restaurants are still around.

5 Oldest Restaurants in NYC

1. Fraunces Tavern (est. 1762)

Fraunces Tavern is considered to be one of the oldest restaurants in NYC — and it could very well be the oldest. The establishment survived dozens of scuffles and wars — an 18-pound cannonball even once crashed through the roof of the restaurant back in 1775!

Fraunces Tavern is both a museum and a restaurant. In their museum, you can find George Washington’s tooth as well as a lock of his hair. The Founding Father also delivered his famous farewell speech to his troops in this restaurant when the last of the remaining British military forces finally left the country.

The restaurant, on the other hand, has a huge collection of alcoholic beverages, cocktails, and spirits. Fraunces Tavern also offers various sandwiches, salads, seafood dishes, and “fillet mignon on a stone” — but if you’re more of a seafood person, you can opt for their lobster tortellini. Either way, these dishes pair well with their cocktails!

2. Ear Inn (est. 1817)

Ear Inn is considered to be the “oldest bar in NYC.” According to the restaurant and bar’s website, the establishment was constructed in honor of James Brown — an African soldier who’s said to be the person depicted in Emanuel Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware” painting.

Ear Inn has always served home-brewed beer since the 1800s. The apartment upstairs, however, was used for different purposes — such as a doctor’s office, boarding house, a brothel, and even a smuggler’s den!

That said, if you visit Ear Inn, you just have to get yourself some beer, cocktails, or wine. But if you haven’t had a meal yet, you can order some of their sandwiches, like their Philly cheesesteak or lamb burger, or their cowboy chili!

3. Delmonico’s (est. 1837)

Delmonico’s is considered to be the “first fine dining restaurant in the United States.” Not only has the establishment also been around while the Civil War was taking place, but one of their executive chefs back then, Charles Ranhofer, is often credited for creating iconic American staple foods — such as Baked Alaska, Eggs Benedict, and lobster Newburg; this, however, is disputed.

What’s indisputable, is  that Delmonico’s steak is one of the best-tasting steaks in the country. Their signature dish, the boneless ribeye, is sought after whenever patrons visit the restaurant. Of course, their other steak dishes are also just as good — such as their 45-day dry aged steak varieties as well as their wagyu menu items.

4. White Horse Tavern (est. 1880)

White Horse Tavern is said to be the “second oldest bar in NYC” as it’s been around since 1880. It’s also said to be one of the best hangout spots for writers and artists in the Village, back in the day. This place was also where musicians like Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, and The Clancy Brothers frequented.

Moreover, — albeit unconfirmed — in a few articles, such as the ones published by Atlas Obscura, Village Preservation, and Wikipedia, it’s said that the idea for creating the Village Voice took place in this tavern. The editors and writers for the country’s first alternative newspaper would also gather here and come up with ideas about what they should write in this establishment.

Writer or not, anyone can visit the White Horse Tavern and grab a bite of their smash burgers, chicken wings, or shrimp cocktail. Furthermore, since the place is a tavern, you can guarantee that they provide a plethora of booze varieties — check out the place and see if you’ll come up with a creative literary idea yourself!

5. P.J. Clarke’s (est. 1884)

When P.J. Clarke’s was established in 1884, they mainly served beer for the Irish immigrants — but they’ve come so far, and they’ve done so much for the city of New York since. According to their website, they “fired up [their] grill before Lady Liberty lit her torch.” Not only that, but they also cater/catered to notable patrons. According to Nat King Cole, P.J. Clarke’s burgers are “the Cadillac of burgers!” Even Buddy Holly proposed to his wife, Maria Elena Holly, in this saloon.

Thus, if you’re in Manhattan (or nearby boroughs), you might as well try their aptly-named “Cadillac” burger. But P.J. Clarke’s is also known for their fresh seafood menu items — that they source from meticulous and quality-driven suppliers.


The oldest restaurants in NYC are rich in history and flavor! These restaurants have been serving notable people — ranging from Founding Fathers, to creative musicians and writers. And, of course, New Yorkers who continue to support these establishments.

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