I love the new creative NYC eateries that push dining to the next level in every possible direction. However, occasionally it’s fun to go back in time and visit the places that were trendy at the turn of the last century. These are the places that will still be around long after anyone remembers the Momofuku Kos and the p*ongs of our time.
Recently, we visited two famous landmarks, Pete’s Tavern and PJ Clarke’s. We only had a drink at Pete’s, so I can’t really review it, but it does have a certain aura when you enter through its doors. You can almost feel the decades of history in the old wooden booths and beer taps that have probably been pulled a million times. It has been a New York institution since 1864! In this city, a place that has been doing well since 1964 is ancient, so it is hard to even fathom 144 years of history. You should stop by for a beer, it’s worth it, or at least read about its history.
129 East 18th (Irving), NYC
915 Third Ave (55th), NYC
Amazingly, PJ Clarke’s is nearly the same age as Pete’s. It’s original midtown location has seen it all over the years and is still a solid place to grab a beer and burger. The cheeseburger is average size with an even distribution of meat and bun. It is dressed simply with onion slices and a pickle. It suits the atmosphere well: offering quality and reliability with no-frills. The fries are skinny, well-salted and come in a cone. There is also a full menu of seafood and classic pub entrees. We also ordered the British dish bubble and squeak. It’s basically was a fried potato ball with gravy on it, which of course was delicious.
While the food is fine and service is all-business, of course this place is all about the atmosphere. From the red and white checkered table cloth, to the rowdy front room with the enormous antique bar, it could not be more classic.
One of the main differences between Pete’s and PJ’s is how they market themselves. Pete’s seems like the grandma and grandpa establishment. They do not have a website (at least that I can find) and I’m sure that’s how they want it. On the other side, Clarke’s website is beautiful with historical photos and in the past few years they have are opened several other locations around Manhattan. Either way, I highly recommend a step back to Olde New York. It is an essential part of living in this city. You won’t be disappointed.