It wasn’t very long after the first colonists arrived in the Americas that enterprising businessmen and women opened taverns and inns. An ancient form of business with roots in many prehistoric civilizations, a tavern, bar or a pub is known for its service, food, beverages and history. From the time Philadelphia was founded, taverns and bars were part of the legacy brought to Pennsylvania from England and Germany. A number of bars in Philadelphia were founded when the country was in its infancy. Here are some of the most historic.
138 S. Second St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Construction on the original building that is now home to the City Tavern began in 1772 and was completed in 1773. From 1772 to 1777, the building was used as an unofficial place for the First Continental Congress to meet. It has entertained many famous people, including George Washington, John Adams and other signers of The Declaration of Independence. Today, the tavern continues to draw important guests who wish to partake in its history and features a lunch and dinner menu as well as a children’s menu.
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McGillin’s Olde Ale House
1310 Drury St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
McGillin’s Olde Ale House is Philadelphia’s oldest continuously operated tavern. Said to be home to its own ghostly tenant, the Lady in White, McGillin’s first opened its doors in 1860. It has been a feature of the city through good times and bad, and even managed to survive Prohibition. Considered to be one of the best Irish pubs in the area, the tavern was originally named “The Bell in Hand.” With an extensive beer and wine list, McGillin’s also sports lunch and dinner menus.
The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.
112 S. 18th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Built in the latter years of the Roaring 20s, the Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company became infamous as the legitimate business front for one of the largest bootleg booze operations in the country. Ran by boss Max “Boo Boo” Hoff, the gang distributed about 10,000 gallons of liquor each day. In fact, Hoff’s operation was larger than that ran by Chicago mobster Al Capone. Today, Franklin Mortgage features a pre-Prohibition Era room and a Golden Age barroom. It was even the site of two murders during its checkered past, and is now a great (and safe!) place for drinks.
National Mechanics Bar & Restaurant
22 S. Third St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Built in 1837, the building that is home to the National Mechanics Bar & Restaurant was designed by architect William Strickland. At different times during its history, the Gothic-style structure has served as home to banks, clubs, churches and bars. It has survived a fire and continues to be a monument to Philadelphia’s past. Featuring handmade, mechanical-style light fixtures, the décor includes a host of mechanical-type adornments. Today, the bar boasts a large beer selection and hosts various events.
10 W. Ferry St.
New Hope, PA 18938
Built in 1722 by John Wells, the Logan Inn is the oldest continuously operated tavern/inn in Bucks County and is ranked among the five oldest bars in Pennsylvania. In addition to continuing to operate as an inn, the tavern is a favorite spot of visitors to New Hope. Maintained in a classic country-colonial style, the inn is well known as a banquet and private party location. In addition to its traditional restaurant, Logan is also home to the Mediterranean-inspired Nikolas.
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Jeffrey B. Roth, has won numerous state and national news and feature-writing awards during his career. A well-known crime writer, investigative reporter and a feature writer, Roth writes for a number of magazines and newspapers. Listed in the Locus Index of SciFi and Fantasy authors, Roth is the author of a number of published short stories and poetry. His work can be found on Examiner.com.