The New York City institution that is McSorley’s Old Ale House has been ordered closed because of health code violations, “rat activity” being one of them.
The popular pub first opened for business in 1854, and has since seen a stream of famous patrons, including Abraham Lincoln and John Lennon, according to its website. The 162-year-old tavern was once an exclusive male-only saloon until a 1970 Supreme Court case forced it to let female customers in. McSorley’s has, over the years, been one of the East Village’s most popular tourist spots.
But inspectors from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reportedly found violations in how the bar stored food, as well as evidence of vermin and rats in the place, the Hollywood Reporter says.
Matthew Maher, McSorley’s owner and manager since 1964, pointed to nearby construction of Cooper Square for the pests that have plagued the establishment.
There was a whole load of building equipment here, when the city opened up the pipes and all that, and they just took that away a couple of weeks ago, and that was a haven for rats,
Maher told DNAInfo New York. The construction had been going on for years, and vermin invaded the bar when the project finally wrapped up, Maher said.
A health inspector conducting an unannounced visit found rat droppings in the basement, which Maher said came from rats that got in when construction workers installing a new heating system forgot to shut the door on the sidewalk.
Maher was a hearing set to plead his case at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. Meanwhile, an exterminator has been brought in to deal with the problem, and changes have been made to ensure proper food storage temperature.
This is not the first time the pub racked up health violations – in 2011, officials ordered it to clean its wishbone chandelier hanging over the bar. The wishbones represented soldiers killed in wars all the way back to World War I.
This closure is the first time McSorley’s has ever had to shut its doors in its almost two centuries of business.