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Other Bars Like White Horse Tavern?

  • b

Hi All,

This coming weekend, my parents (aged late 50s) and sister (29) will be coming to visit me in the city. During their last visit, I received an almost uncomfortable amount of praise after bringing them to the White Horse Tavern. They loved it. Be it the storied history, the picturesque West Village setting, or the Anchor on tap, I can't exactly say. Regardless, I'd like to try and repeat that experience.

We may very well end up at White Horse again, but I'd like to poll the collective expertise of this board and ask what other bars/taverns fill that same niche? We'd like it to be laid back venue, with a good cross-section of people and (relatively) inexpensive beers on tap. Bonus point if the place is an institution and/or culturally significant.


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  1. What time of day will you and your family be in town? This is important because there are bars I'd suggest going to during the day and early evenings that I would not suggest going to later on.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KTinNYC


      I'd say that we'll probably be out and about most of the day, but will probably start looking for some drinks late in the afternoon or early in the evening.


    2. Two that would fit the bill are Walker's and the Old Town Bar. Each has that old well worn ambiance you're looking for although both of them are a lot cleaner than the White Horse. The burgers at both are very good and Walker's has a wider menu of good pub food.

      Pete's is another historic bar that would be worth a visit. The food, however, is sub par.

      16 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013

      Old Town Bar & Restaurant
      45 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

      Pete's Tavern
      129 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

      4 Replies
      1. re: Bob Martinez


        the ear inn.
        mcsorley's ale house.
        the frying pan (pier / boat with drinks)
        the half king (only minorly culturally signif).

        1. re: thievery

          a) Bob's suggestions are great - I prefer Old Town
          b) Frying Pan is another excellent choice for a different type of place

        2. re: Bob Martinez

          its a shame that old town bar has such a douchey crowd...same with pete's tavern where my dad had his bachelor party back in the day.

          walkers rules of course...that is the perfect option for the OP...i also love tavern on jane.

          1. re: Bob Martinez

            Old Town has one of the best burgers in NYC. Forget the expensive Spotted Pigs and crowded Corner Bistros of the burger world. Good burger and pickles plus great beers on tap-- Brooklyn Ale to Blue Point every time I have been there.

            Corner Bistro
            331 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

            Spotted Pig
            314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

            Blue Point
            662 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

          2. mcsorley's is certainly an institution!

            1. I haven't been in a while, but Milady's would probably work also.


              And I second Walker's, Pete's & Old Town. Not a fan of McSorley's (too fratty).

              2 Replies
              1. re: small h

                McSorley's is way different on weekdays and early in the afternoon. Later on it's a frat party. I like Bob M's suggestions. Not much history involved but Blind Tiger is a great spot.

                1. re: KTinNYC

                  Good point about McSoreley's - I'd avoid it in the evenings. Best to visit around 2:00PM on a weekday as the lunch crowd is leaving. Get some ham sandwiches with mild Bermuda onions.

              2. Was it the "vibe" or "Dylan Thomas" aspect that wow-ed your parents;-

                Was it the "vibe" or "Dylan Thomas" apect that wow-ed your parents;-) ?

                1. For the history of it, Fraunces Tavern, although they refurbished the bar some time back and it is horribly blah now.

                    1. re: chow_gal

                      Yes to Keen's. Raoul's? I really don't think to. It's a pleasant French bistro but there's nothing "Old New York" about the place.

                      There's plenty of pictures on their website that give an accurate feel for the place.

                      1. re: Bob Martinez

                        I agree with Bob M keens and Raouls dont fit the bill here , when we are looking for similar to White Horse.. the WHite horse once had good burgers now they basically are bad. Walkers has the feel of old and T the burgers are amongst the best. Puffy;s is a Tribeca landmark, Reade St Bar has a White horse feel. Pete's tavern is certainly landmarky olde,,,, The bar at Harry's of Hanover has a feel to it, or not sure if Fraunces Tavern still exists,,,,,,

                    2. I guess a bump brought your query to the top of the list -and that you & your kin are long gone, but, for the future (and unmentioned above):

                      P.J.Clarke's: 3rd Ave & 55th [avoid the Lincoln Sq. version, though: it's characterless]
                      Fanelli's: Prince & Mercer [surprised no one mentioned it above]

                      There's also a hole-in-the-wall on Mott btwn Spring & Broome, on the east side of the street, but its name eludes me now. Not the "xxx Social Club", but near it.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Phil Ogelos

                        As an update to my July 2009 response, Fraunces Tavern closed. There are actually lots of fun little pubs in the financial district like the Beekman Pub.

                        Beekman Pub
                        15 Beekman St, New York, NY 10038

                        Fraunces Tavern
                        54 Pearl St, New York, NY 10004

                        1. re: bronwen

                          That's so weird; I had brunch there just last month (not a memorable one, frankly -I actually would'nt have recommend the place to anyone) and yet, reacting to bronwen's post, I called them now, and the answering-machine said "sorry, our machine is full."
                          Oh, well: a space to be taken advantage of, if not by the current (defaulting) owners.