“The oldest working bar in NYC”
The Ear is in a designated Landmark of the City of New York, on the National Register of Historic Buildings of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The James Brown House is one of very few Federal houses left in the City. It is in largely original condition of 2 1/2 stories with dormers, double splayed keystone lintels, and a gambrel roof. The construction is all wood post and ‘beams set with pegs, with a facade of Flemish bond brick. The restaurant doors and window are late 19th century. The panel to the right of the main door is a night shudder cover to the original shop window, an 18th century style feature unique to this building. Once there were cellar windows and fireplaces in the bar area. At some time mid 19th century, this building became a spiritual establishment. Thomas Cooke brewed beer and sold crocks of corn, whiskey to thirsty sailors. The bottles above the bar and jugs above the phone booth were all dug out of the basement below the dining room. This area was once a backyard for a garden and an outhouse. A back alley extended to Washington Street near the canal and flower market on Canal Street. The dining room was constructed when the brewery became a restaurant at the turn of the century. Later it was a speakeasy during Prohibition. The upstairs apartment was variously a boarding house, smuggler’s den, and brothel. Ghosts have been heard and seen, in particular one “Mickey,” a sailor still waiting for his clipper ship to come in. Then in 1977, new resident-owners christened the place the Ear Inn. The new name was chosen to avoid the Landmark Commission’s lengthy review of any new sign. The neon’ BAR sign was painted to read EAR, after the musical Ear Magazine published upstairs. Ol’ timers never noticed and still call the place the Green Door. The Ear Inn was featured on TV's Drinking Made Easy.
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The Ear Inn
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 pm - 4:00 am
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