This photo was taken at the Old Town Bar and Restaurant by Nicki Ishmael during one of the shoots for my NYC book.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, this site is just as much about the search for glimpses of old New York as it is about finding cool cheap things to do. Something about this city, the way it pushes, prods, and screams at all your senses, has absolutely absorbed people’s attention for centuries. And now, with the hyper commercialization of everything, more and more of the things that make this city special are in the process of disappearing. Luckily Old Town Bar & Restaurant isn’t one of them.
Not much has changed in this joint since it opened in 1892. Sure, owners have come and gone, prices have gone up, and alcohol has gone from legal, to not, to legal again, but otherwise things look the same. The embossed tin ceiling is still here, as are the light fixtures, dumbwaiters, mahogany and marble bar, giant urinals, tile floors and the booths (including the one that still flips up from back in Prohibition days when this was a speakeasy). I guess what I’m saying is that there’s something simply poetic about the way this bar looks. Just ask any of the famous writers whose signed book covers hang on the wall*. If for some reason I haven’t hooked you yet, you will be when I tell you that the entire food menu is under $10. See you there.
*Any room for one more book cover?
Old Town Bar & Restaurant
45 E 18th St. @ Broadway
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