02 August 2011

How to Be Alone in McSorley's Ale House

How do you get the perpetually packed McSorley's Old Ale House all to yourself? Go between 11 AM and noon on Monday.

I walked in yesterday for a quick early lunch and a couple mugs of ale to find that I friggin' owned the joint! There was a bartender, a waiter, and me. No tourists, no frat boys, no NYU-ers, no locals, no drunks, no regular nice folk—just me. It stayed that way for a full half hour. I don't think, in 20 years of going to this place, I have ever seen it empty. It was nice, my view of everything on the walls and behind the bar unimpaired, the sawdust on the floor undisturbed by any shoes but my own. And I was free to have a friendly chat with the bartender and waiter without shouting or worrying I was slowing them down.


Someone Said said...

My first visit was under similar circumstances. Just a few people. The staff was pleasant and unhurried. I sat by the window with two mugs in front of me and wrote. Bliss.

Mitch Broder said...

Well, now that the secret's out, I will reveal that I've had the same pleasure. It's a different world in there at that hour. It was almost ... almost ... civil!

BabyDave said...

Years ago McSorley's was a mutually convenient spot for some friends to meet en route to a Mets game. A 1 p.m. start meant an 11:30 a.m round of beers in a nice, quiet, friendly bar.

Ed said...

Jeremaih posted this earlier. I made an effort to get there for lunch afterwards, got there about 2 PM, it was already starting to fill up but still pretty good.

There are a bunch of bars in this city that get pretty fratty in the evening but are great day drinking places. Its a benefit to being unemployed.

Karen/Small Earth Vintage said...

After avoiding McSorley's through all my younger years in NYC (due to aforementioned frat boys) I had my first-ever beer there on a freezing, sleety winter weekday afternoon, and while not empty, it was pretty quiet. They had the little potbelly stove roaring, and it was wonderful.

Proud NIMBY said...

Ah Brooks,
Yet another secret revealed!

Please don't reveal this one:
if you go there around opening time you can always grab the west window table and seat.

Sit there in mid-Winter (say, Feb 1) for a day or two every week for a month or so. Leave after a few rounds and lunch, around 2pm, as the low winter sun has splayed its light past the table for a couple of hours.

By St Patrick's Day, you'll have a nice tan and you can tell your friends that you got it from a Florida vacation.

People will believe you. They've believed me.

everettsville said...

I have to thank you for this post.

I found myself wandering aimlessly in the East Village this morning when a couple of the thrift stores I'd intended to hit were not open yet.

I remembered reading something on some blog somewhere a couple of days ago about how a person needs to go to McSorley's early if they want to avoid the crowd scene.

It was 11:20am and I did go...for the first time. It was friendly, cool, quiet and wonderful. I sat in the back room alone and read the paper over a couple mugs.

Thanks again for the tip. I would not have thought of it without having read your post.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Everettsville: What a wonderful comment. That's one of the most rewarding reactions I've ever received to one of my posts. Thanks.

Tinderbox said...

What good pictures! Looking at them, I can hear and smell the place, and I've never been there.