Drinking culture has always held a place in the Inwood section of Manhattan. Decades ago there were a hundred some-odd pubs throughout the neighborhood. These taverns left a lasting impression on generations of patrons.
Through the years readers have sent in countless memories of their favorite haunts. Below are some of my favorites:
“When I was 16 I joined the softball team at the Inn Between so Ray and the other bartenders would know me. This way I could get in without getting proofed.” –Howie H.
“I remember dancing at Doc’s with my friends to the jukebox music and Tommy Coughlin saying, “girls, girls, no dancing – I don’t have a cabaret license!” Also, I remember the last night at Doc’s before they moved up to Riverdale and the jukebox sitting out on the sidewalk playing “sooner or later.” Doc Fiddlers then became The Red Barrel.” –Joanie
“My friend Dave in Boston has the Hedgehog Inn sign at his home (an old firehouse) in Boston. He has one of the countries largest collections of vintage neon signs (like the original Times Square Howard Johnson’s Simple Simon and the Pie Man) and one day in the late 1980s I convinced him to get the sign (yes he paid for it) and we dismantled it and it lives, restored, at his place.” –Matt O.
“I was in Inwood from mid 1950′s until mid 1960′s. Every New Year’s McSherry’s would have a fire. We would drink in Inwood Hill Park—near the handball courts. It was cold, but who knew? Also, there was a bar owned by Carmel Quinn; who was on the Arthur Godfrey Show. It was on 207th Street, on a triangle, near Post Avenue. I go back a long way. Also, the Campus Inn on 207th Street and 10th Avenue, it had windows that opened to the street, great place after swimming at the Miramar Pool.” –Doug Miller
“I worked at Miramar Swimming Pool and used to go to Farrell’s to get stuff for the kitchen when we ran out of it… I frequented Gary Owens, Inwood Lounge and some others…perhaps too many times!” –Peter Foley
“The Ol’ Shilling was on 207th on the triangle at Post. I remember in 1967-1969 they had bands play on weekends— usually from Ireland. We would go in and listen to them rehearse in the day. We were kids. They let us listen.” –Maureen K.
“During the 1950s and early 1960s Inwood had more bars than any other neighborhood in NYC. Do you remember the Rheingold Girls? Schaffer beer? Knickerbocker beer? Peals beer? And we also had the fifty-two-lane bowling alley on Broadway and Nagel. Great place to drink. Drank in there when I was sixteen and the day I got my draft card. Don’t you know I was asked for proof. Needless to say the bartender who had been serving me for years was pissed. We also used to drink in the Hi Ho Chinese restaurant on Dyckman Street.” –Larry Miller
“I was a Good Shepherd kid and my dad drank in every bar in Inwood, after tending his own saloon all day–the Blue Bar of the Algonquin Hotel. As kids, no trip to Inwood Park or Ft Tryon was complete without stopping at McSherry’s, the Park Gate or Keenan’s for a bracer.” –Joe Fox
“I visited Nugent’s bar in the summer of 1977. I had bragged to my boyfriend, soon to be husband, Drew Nugent, about how beautiful Inwood was. So one summer afternoon, Drew and I and a friend, took the subway up to Dyckman Street and hiked through the park. I showed them that view of the Hudson, that we all love so much, and we exited near 207th Street. Thirsty and in need of a beer, we eyed “Nugent’s bar” and thought it would be a hoot to go in there. We proudly introduced ourselves to the bartender, announcing that Drew’s name was Drew Nugent. The bartender was singularly unimpressed. Later I realized that it was Drew and our friend’s long hair that put him off.” –Charlotte Nugent
“My favorite was Markey’s on Broadway between Dyckman and Thayer Streets. Glenn, the bartender was nicknamed “Eagle” by Danny Darby. Glenn was bald. Charlie the bartender/waiter could make the most wonderful corned beef and cabbage I ever had. I was so lucky to have experienced the warmth and camaraderie of Markey’s and all the wonderful patrons, drunk or sober, who ever crossed its threshold.” –Jeanne G.
“My Dad, George McFadden, owned the Inwood Lounge and I have great memories of it although I was just a kid. The names I remember – Edna the hatcheck girl, Jimmy Dowling was the porter, Pat McBride was the chef, Joe Spillane at the door, Vinnie Foley and the Gents. After the Lounge closed in the early 1970’s, my dad opened McFadden’s Tavern at 231st Street and Broadway next to the OTB.” –Mike McFadden
“There were six bars between our little streets of Arden and Thayer. Bob Burns did most of his business before the late mass at Queen of Martyrs. Fr. O’Connor was known to pop in and threaten slackers who didn’t clear out for the opening bell at mass.” –Bill Ford
“I grew up on West 238th Street in the Bronx, but am considered “honorary Inwood” because my godfather was the late Barney Bott, who lived at 32 Arden Street. I think Barney regularly visited up to 10-12 Inwood pubs a day…always one…two and o-u-t! and then on to the next one. You could set your clock by his ins and outs.” –Glenn Leahey
“I tried to buy my wife her first “LEGAL” drink when she turned eighteen at Markey’s, but Charlie wouldn’t serve her because she didn’t have her birth certificate with her.” –John Bruggemann
“When I was a kid it was the Tally Ho, which later became the Old Shilling. Also, before the Inwood Lounge it was the Homestead. Rodney Dangerfield appeared there before he hit it big.” –Patricia Farrell
“Inwood – what a place! We would go to the Good Shepherd dances and I would do the Savoy with a guy named Matty Devine. He was a fabulous dancer. I dated a guy named Phil Sullivan from Inwood. The Inwood Lounge was the spot to go on Sunday nights. What a blast! I had my first dance with my future husband at the Tally Ho. What a great neighborhood it used to be. I’m from Kingsbridge, which was also great!” –Betty Baldes Bonos
“Chambers was on Sherman Avenue and Isham Street. Jack Chambers paid the rent for the people living above the bar because of the noise on the weekend.” –Bernie Matthies
“I still remember going up and down 207th street on one side and coming back up the other visiting all the Irish bars. It was a great neighborhood and Inwood Hill Park was a great place to play ball and hang out with the gang.” –John Canny