Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

It’s business as usual at McSorley’s Old Ale House

Located at 15th East 7th Street, McSorley’s Old Ale House, established in 1854, is a popular neighborhood spot, even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, September, 17, 2020. Photo by Tori Luecking

Hayden O’Leary found his way from Kilkenny, Ireland to McSorley’s Old Ale House in East Village, New York, three years ago.

“It was like Moses in the basket,” said O’Leary.

Pass by on any given day and you’re liable to see Hayden and his fellow employees sitting outside, taking in the neighborhood, and chatting in an Irish brogue.

Established in 1854, McSorley’s is full of New York history, including an original, framed invitation to the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge. For over 150 years, McSorley’s has attracted nightly regulars and tourists alike, all looking to enjoy the historic atmosphere and a cold beer.

The Irish pub has adapted well to the Covid-19 pandemic, setting up outside covered street seating. It continues to be well-frequented, with a steady flow of customers each evening, despite social distancing restrictions.

Employees now wear masks, and patrons sit outside, but little else has changed at this East Village icon. The cheese and raw onion plate is still a staple, and the drink menu remains charmingly simple – light or dark ale are the only options.

Hayden O’Leary (left) sits outside on a green ale barrel, next to his fellow McSorley’s employee, September 14, 2020. Photo by Tori Luecking

White tents stand next to the sidewalk outside of McSorley’s to allow customers to social distance during the pandemic, September 17, 2020. Photo by Tori Luecking

Self-described “regulars” sit and drink a beer outside of McSorley’s Old Ale House off of East 7th Street in East Village, New York, September 14, 2020. Photo by Tori Luecking

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, white tents stand outside of McSorley’s Old Ale House to accommodate outside seating and social distance requirements, September 14, 2020. Photo by Tori Luecking

McSorley’s patrons sit outside and drink the pub’s signature dark and light ale, September 17, 2020. Photo by Tori Luecking

Linda Badgley (right) sits with a friend at McSorley’s outdoor seating, September 17, 2020. Photo by Tori Luecking

A dog named Byron sits outside of McSorley’s – his owners having just enjoyed a beer, September 17, 2020. Photo by Tori Luecking

A McSorley’s bartender gives the check to a table of customers sitting under the outdoor tent, September 17, 2020. Photo by Tori Luecking

Two bartenders stand at the empty bar inside of McSorley’s Old Ale House. Due to the pandemic, patrons are no longer permitted to sit inside amongst the establishments many decorations. September 17, 2020. Photo by Tori Luecking.




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