My favorite New York bars fall into a few different categories: affordable drinks, old-school atmosphere and friendly vibe (like Jimmy’s Corner). If I can find any of those traits, I add it to my list. With so many fancy-pants cocktail dens opening in the city, it can be tough to even find a place that meets my first criteria of not paying $ 17 for a cocktail.
Lucky for me (and all of New York), the Ear Inn fits nicely into my idea of the perfect bar. The building has an interesting history dating back to the 18th century with various uses including a brewery, brothel, speakeasy, restaurant, smuggler’s hideout…you name it, it probably happened here. Even more intriguing is the sign denoting the water line that used to come right up to the front door of the bar. Today it’s two blocks to the Hudson River, so I love picturing what it must have been like with the ships docked right there.
And that’s easy to do, because they have a simple little outdoor patio where I have spent many hours enjoying beer and conversation. It’s not the most scenic spot, especially on a Friday afternoon when the traffic lined up to get into the Holland Tunnel is just a few feet away, but it’s very New York. Grab a drink, head to the sidewalk and join in the fun outside one of the city’s last old-school bars.