The all-night bar crawl has been a part of Manhattan nightlife for probably as long as the city has existed. With thousands of watering holes crammed onto such a narrow island, the best way to experience the city is to keep moving. But what if you added the ability of time travel? What if you could hop to another year as easily as hopping to the next bar?
This the ultimate Manhattan bar-crawl for time travelers.
In order to avoid unwanted attention, it is vital to wear outfits appropriate to many eras. Perhaps something understated and black? This is Manhattan, after all; people have always been wearing black.
Also remember to bring currency from all eras in separate wallets. No credit cards, just cash. And for god’s sake; don’t pull out your iPhone. (This should be a rule in today’s bars as well)
1. The Algonquin Hotel, 1922 - 6:00pm
59 W 44th St
Kick the night off at the Algonquin Hotel in 1922 where you can catch the tail-end of one of the infamous meetings of the Vicious Circle, aka the Algonquin Round Table. Have a dry martini with Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, and other great wits of the day. Try not to be too sensitive as you are verbally shred to pieces with their barbed tounges and devilish wisecracks. If you’re lucky you might meet Harpo Marx.
2. The Fraunces Tavern, 1783 - 7:30pm
54 Pearl St.
When the barbs at the Algonquin get too cutting, head downtown to one of Manhattan’s oldest bars, the Fraunces Tavern on December 4, 1783 for some comraderie. It’s the night after defeated British troops finally left Manhattan and General George Washington himself is hosting a feast of ale and turtle soup (mmmm). It might be hard to communicate with these dudes since you are 230 years in the past, so keep the chat basic. Also, it’s a total sausage fest because women aren’t allowed. Let’s split.
3. The White Horse Tavern, 1953 - 9:00pm
567 Hudson St.
Next, catch a taxi over to the White Horse Tavern in 1953. If you’re there on just the right night you might see both Jack Kerouac and Dylan Thomas. Buy those guys a drink and let them talk your ear off for a bit. Sure, you probably shouldn’t be encouraging their deadly alcoholism, but we’re not here to correct history. Just make sure you’re not there the night Thomas literally drinks himself to death (November 9th)
4. The Cotton Club, 1935 - 10:00pm
644 Lenox Avenue, at West 142nd Street
Enough talking, let’s have some music. “Take the A Train” all the way up to Harlem and hit up the Cotton Club in its prime. Depending on the night, you will catch an amazing all-star performance of either Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald or Coleman Hawkins.
6. CBGB, 1977 - 1:30am
Jump in a taxi and head back down to the Bowery to see whoever’s playing at CBGB’s. We always hear about the Ramones, Blondie, The Talking Heads, The Dead Boys, etc… but no one mentions all the awesomely sucky punk acts that never went anywhere. Be prepared for that as well.
7. The East River, 15,000 B.C. - 3:00am
After all those loud, crowded places, you will be sweaty and in need of a peaceful moment. Transport yourself to a summer night before any human ever stepped onto Manhattan island and take a dip in the East River, as pristine as a river could ever be. Look up at a night sky untouched by a single electric lightbulb or airplane. Ponder how this virgin forest island will eventually become a concrete metropolis housing millions of souls and then head back to the future to see it again.
You now have a choice on where to end the night…
Here’s a handy map for your night on the town. Keep in mind that certain time-saving roads such as the FDR drive and the West Side Highway haven’t always existed. Also remember that the subway wasn’t in service until 1904.
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