Inwood Taverns: Uptown Bar Memories

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Irish Brigade, Boradway and Arden Street, closed in 2015.
Irish Brigade, Boradway and Arden Street, closed in 2015.

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:

Keenan's Bar in 2010, now closed.
Keenan’s Bar in 2010, now closed.

“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

Hedgehog Inn, Inwood, Bar of Long Ago
Hedgehog Inn, Broadway and Academy Street. Courtesy of Claire Anne Gray.

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

Burnside Pub, Broadway between Dyckman and Thayer Street.
Burnside Pub, Broadway between Dyckman and Thayer Street. Courtesy of Claire Anne Gray.

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.

Irish Eyes, 5008 Broadway.  Closed in 2016.
Irish Eyes, 5008 Broadway. Closed in 2016.

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

Nugents Bar, 1979 advertisement.
Nugents Bar, 1979 advertisement.

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.

Hitching Post, Heights Inwood Newspaper Advertisement, 1975.
Hitching Post, Heights Inwood Newspaper Advertisement, 1975.

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

Pipers Kilt, Broadway near West 207th Street. Now the Tubby Hook Tavern.
Pipers Kilt, Broadway near West 207th Street. Now the Tubby Hook Tavern.

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

The Last Stop, Washington Heights Citizen, 1990.
The Last Stop, Washington Heights Citizen advertisement, 1990.

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

Lost Inwood Amazon link

24 COMMENTS

    • I used to go there alot. Fun dancing but fights sometimes broke out. The nickname was the bucket of blood! But we had fun and escaped injury.

    • i lived at 26 post ave from 1960-1962 to cut my commute time from staten island. i was going to ccny at the time and rode motorcycles with richy mcgrath and patty minerly who also lived on post between dykman st
      and academy place.

  1. Chollys knew it about 1965 funny thing most of the crowd were not from inwood. They had good music there. And the crowd danced well to more soal type than like the inwood crowd.

    • I used to go there on the weekends. It was fun, dancing and drinking rum and coke’s, sometimes fights would happen and you would make a quick exit. I think it had a nic name, the bucket of blood! I don’t know if any one else had the same experience. But we had fun!

  2. Does anyone recall or have a picture of the InnBetween that was on rather SW corner of 207st and Sherman Ave? My whole family grew up in Inwood from 1920s-1980. I’m making a diorama of Inwood ca. 1960s. My uncle, Dave Taylor used to hang out at the InnBetween and I want include it.
    My dad was Al Porterfield from 5056 Broadway and my mom Jane Ruth Taylor was from 156 Sherman Ave. appreciate any description or scanned photo. Thanks, Bill waporterfield@gmail.com

  3. Does anyone recall or have a picture of the InnBetween that was on rather SW corner of 207st and Sherman Ave? My whole family grew up in Inwood from 1920s-1980. I’m making a diorama of Inwood ca. 1960s. My uncle, Dave Taylor used to hang out at the InnBetween and I want include it.
    My dad was Al Porterfield from 5056 Broadway and my mom Jane Ruth Taylor was from 156 Sherman Ave. appreciate any description or scanned photo. Thanks, Bill waporterfield@gmail.com

  4. I remember a beer garden on Sherman Ave. named Fosters. My father used to bartend and knew many irish from the area. His name was Mike Freehill.

  5. Hi I lived on seaman ave in the 1980s. And used to go to nugent on 207th anybody remember the barman paddy lonergan and the owner seamus two great characters.

  6. My Father and mother (Billy & Dolly Ward) used to go to that bar called Chambers in the 1975-1977 timeframe. I was 5 years old then, and remember it, along with there being a little park with a bench and an American flag flying on the pole. I looked the place up on Google Maps a few years back after my mom said it was on Sherman and Isham. Looked like there was a gas station in its place.

  7. I was just a kid but I had a shoeshine route and hit just about every bar in Inwood . Also sold the Post and NY daily news in the mid to late 60’s . Always had plenty of money to buy Christmas gifts . Nobody mentions Denwin tavern at Post av. and Dykman , Daily and Sheridans ,or the Sloop John B on Broadway . Starboard Side and across the street E&G’s and on the corner of Nagle and 207th Sams . Of Course there was the Tally Ho which closed I think in 1964 or 65 due to a lawsuit over a beating someone got in there . My father was the bartender for many years there . We had our pigeon coop on the roof of the Inwood Lounge with their permission . It really was a great neighborhood to grow up in .

  8. To Doug Miller: I believe Carmel Quinn was a silent partner in the Tally-Ho.

    And that the Hitching Post was owned by another woman, also Irish, and a singer, less famous, but her name escapes me. I think I was only in the Hitching Post one time.

  9. Moved to Inwood from Brooklyn in 2020, mostly for the cheap(er) rent and easy access out of the city. Reading these post makes me miss a time I wasn’t even alive to experience. While the area still has its fair share of establishments in which to imbibe, it’s clearly a different vibe—violence is pretty bad and the noise from cars/music is really out of control.

    Inwood really seemed like a great place to live/spend some time up until recently. I was born in 1984 and grew up on 1st avenue in the 70’s, which was loaded with Irish pubs in its own right and provided much fun, but I don’t know if it can compare with Inwood in the 60s & 70s.

  10. Hey,I lived on 20 post ave back in the 70s I was actually born at Jewish memorial hospital on 196st.and Broadway and left a couple of childhood friends behind that I haven’t seen ever since specially a guy named rudy that I went to school with for a couple of years hope he is doing well by the way my name is miguel Perez

  11. Even though I only lived there part of 60s and 70s I was actually born at jewish memorial hospital in 1967 and lived on 20 post ave till 1975 and had a couple of good friends which unfortunately haven’t seen ever since specially a guy named rudy can’t recall his last name but like to reunite with hope is doing well I still visit inwood and every time I go there brings me back memories my name is miguel perez

  12. I lived on 20 post ave as a child but I can tell huge difference between then and now and still visit the area every time I get a chance brings me back great memories of the time I spent there as a child in fact Ieft a good childhood friend behind his name was rudy I can’t recall his last name but would like to reunite with some day hope he’s doing well

  13. Is anyone aware of the movie to be streamed on 9/30 on Apple? It’s called ‘The Greatest Beer Run Ever”? A true story about a 1960’s Inwood bar tender or owner named Chicki Donohue who delivers a beer to some of his army buddies in Viet Nam?

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