Bridge Cafe

279 Water St

Some sleuthing in the late 90s by journalist Richard McDermott gave the Bridge Cafe a stunning come from behind late round victory as the "oldest drinking establishment in New York City." Located in the shadow of its namesake, the cafe is housed in a... more

Some sleuthing in the late 90s by journalist Richard McDermott gave the Bridge Cafe a stunning come from behind late round victory as the "oldest drinking establishment in New York City." Located in the shadow of its namesake, the cafe is housed in a building that dates back to 1794 - when there was no Brooklyn Bridge to be named after. McDermott managed to show that the same address has housed a drinking establishment of one form or another since 1847. This eclipses McSorley's Old Ale House which for decades had claimed the title as New York City's oldest bar.

But the Bridge Cafe is not only an interesting bit of bar trivia. The unique location and warm atmosphere, combined with imaginatively prepared food, make the Bridge Cafe well worth a visit. And the restaurants location near City Hall and the downtown courts may mean you get to overhear some interesting gossip.

If you're not really in the mood for grub, the Bridge Cafe hasn't lost touch with its roots either. They offer an impressive selection of American wines and over 60 single-malt and small-batch bourbons to choose from.

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Financial District Description

Bridge Cafe is located in the Financial District neighborhood of Manhattan. The financial hub of the United States, the seat of New York City government, and home to some of New York's oldest buildings, the Financial District has an illustrious history. 17th century settlers began building here, and given the many seafarers of the time, boats could be conveniently docked at one of the slips right near the settlements of wooden homes. Right nearby, in the heart of the district is Federal Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States in 1789, also the meeting site for the First Congress. New York City was both the capital of the United States and New York State at the time.

The street names reflect the district's fascinating history: Fulton Street, named after Robert Fulton, the inventor of the steamboat; Maiden Lane, originally called Magde Platje in Dutch; Beaver Street, recalling the once-significant beaver pelt trade, etc.

The area today houses some great economic powerhouses, including the headquarters of major banks, the New York Stock Exchange, in addition to the World Financial Center. Contrasts are extraordinary, from old two- and three-story old brick buildings near South Street Seaport to the nearby modern mega-skyscrapers. Some of the numerous other attractions include Fraunces Tavern, where George Washington bid farewell to his troops (also, they have a museum!); the newly-landscaped City Hall Park; the Museum of the American Indian and the US Custom House at Bowling Green; Trinity Church, the first parish church in New York City and the resting place of Alexander Hamilton and Robert Fulton, among others; War Of 1812 strong hold Castle Clinton; the Staten Island-bound South Ferry; Battery Park; and the Federal Reserve Bank. Sadly, the biggest attraction since 9/11 has been the former World Trade Center site, although, thankfully, construction has finally filled the long-standing gouge in Lower Manhattan's face, and the stunning 9/11 Memorial and its attendant museum are welcome signs of a healing city. And, of course, soaring a symbolic 1,776 feet over the memorial is the new 1 World Trade Center!


279 Water St
New York, NY 10038
(212) 227-3344

Editorial Rating


American (New)




Business Casual


All Major

This Week's Hours

Sun-Mon: 11:45pm-10:00pm
Tue-Thu: 11:45pm-11:00pm
Friday: 11:45pm-12:00am
Saturday: 5:00pm-12:00am

Sunday: 11:45am-4:00pm

Nearby Subway

  • to Fulton St -- 0.3

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