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Ear Inn

James Brown House, 326 Spring Street,
New York, NY 10013, USA

(212) 219-8026


Pub Quiz! Which pub is this?

"It is the courtyard and its many tables that draw the throng to [this pub], especially in the warmer months when it's as difficult to find a seat, as it is to get past the bouncers on the gates if you're stumbling about after a skinful."



Obvious by the 'Bar' neon sign hanging outside, the Ear Inn is situated in West Soho, close to the West Side Highway and the Hudson River, and is one of New York's oldest drinking establishments, having been operating since 1817. For the sake of the clientele who may believe this Inn is 3,821 years old, the sign outsides reassures the mentally-challenged by stating the obvious: it was established in 1817AD and not 1817BC. The Inn's greatest novelty, however, is surely the ends of the 'B' on the neon sign having been painted over, in such a manner that the sign now says 'Ear'! Oh, how ingenious.

As a seafaring/fishing/ear(!) themed Inn, situated in the rather fancifully named James Brown House, it's no wonder you're expecting the building to be named in honour of the 'Codfather of Sole', but later investigation tells that this James Brown was a freed slave who fought in the US Revolutionary Army. (US Revolutionary War? Never heard of it!) The Ear Inn was once called the Green Door, so it's a wonder the building's not called Shakin' Stevens House.

There appears to be a glut of 'professional' women working in here, anomalous women obviously unlike the regular patrons, suspicious characters approaching men for whatever reasons. We were accosted within seconds of entering by an uncharacteristic woman who asked our advice about the Inn, as it was her 'first time'; once it was apparent that we were tourists and new to the Inn ourselves, her attention soon shifted to another susceptible fool. There were several women seen using this ploy who were apparently unknown to each other, as their introductions to each other was overheard, in which they congratulated themselves on their success so far!

Dick van Dyke drinks in here! Or rather an Englishman as convincing a cockney as Dick van Dyke does, as he was overheard spinning a yarn about the UK to a 'professional' lady. Oh how we laughed! How we amused ourselves listening to this Walter Mitty character's tales, his tall stories that would clearly make him a fool should he be aware there are other Brits in the Inn, listening to his baloney. In his twisted, little mind, the British still deport criminals, such as he, to Australia or the American colonies, as we Brits seemingly still refer to the USA! He chose New York as his chose of exile destination, although it suits him, as 'London is full of criminals and pickpockets' and you 'must keep your hands in your pockets'. When the penny finally dropped there were Brits in earshot, his voice fell a few decibels and I'm sure his nonsense level sank as low as his ego.

As expected from such an old establishment, the bar and features are authentically aged, and there are numerous ancient bottles standing on top of the bar, which were recently excavated from the cellar. There is an abundance of nautical paraphernalia, in additional to ears of all kind, including a massive ear clinging to the wall. With such big-ears about, it's no wonder we overheard the above-mentioned conversations. The name of the Ear Inn has nothing to do with eavesdropping, sadly, but is taken from a music magazine called the Ear, which was published upstairs from the mid 1970s until ten years ago.

Standing at the urinal and gazing upwards, you will be amazed to see a City of Westminster road sign; obviously somebody has been stealing Oxford Street road signs for export to New York City.

This is a small, intimate Inn, with a great history and wide selection of beers. It's a little off the beaten track, but ideal if you're looking for something slightly different or happen to be visiting the nearby New York City Fire Museum. Definitely worth a visit, and perhaps you can determine what the dubious women are doing.

Price: 4Price: 4Price: 4Price: 4
Totty: 2Totty: 2
Entertainment: 1

Review by mr_psm



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User Comments:

chatterboxThursday, 30th August 2007

The Ear Inn is a fab artsy locale to hang out! The food is simple but great. Even John Lennon thought so.

Check out more on the Ear Inn and food talk at:


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