Pete’s Tavern, established in 1864, is one of New York City’s oldest bars and restaurants. 1864 is the same year that Ulysses S. Grant was engaging Robert E. Lee’s forces in the Battle of Virginia. It is also place made famous by writer O. Henry (aka William Sydney Porter) who supposedly wrote “The Gift of the Magi” in a booth at Pete's in 1905, when it was known as Healy's, according to Poets & Writers. So, when you enter Pete’s Tavern in Gramercy, you are entering a piece of history. It is also a great place to grab an ice cold beer.
The dimly lit bar area is a mish mash of old and new with pictures and bottles lining the walls. The back of the bar still retains its old world charm with built-ins, along with its signature tin ceiling. The three types of tiles on the floor (the ones that we could count) which appear to span several decades while ceiling lights look to be straight out of the ‘60s or ‘70s. The roar of the boisterous crowd fills the space along with the clanging of glasses. Settle in with friends at a table for some good conversation or one of several wooden stools at the bar.
A back dining room offers respite from the crowd with lots of exposed brick and wooden booths. Waiters, with striped aprons, tend to the tables. Beef is the star of the show, including New York Strip Bites served on toast to start off the meal served with creamy horseradish. O. Henry Chicken wings and Beer Battered Fried Calamari are also counted among the starters.
There is a wonderful selection of burgers that weigh in at ten ounces and stand about an inch thick that mix and match with toppings such as sautéed mushrooms, crispy onions and assorted cheeses. Other offerings include tavern favorites like Shepard’s Pie with English peas, Fish & Chips and a Grilled Porterhouse for two, as well as Italian fare.
Visitors will also find outdoor dining where dogs are allowed!
Pete's Tavern is located at 129 E 18th St, New York, NY (212) 473-7676. For more information, visit petestavern.com