Two hundred year old townhouses make the best bars
The Ear Inn is one of New York's finest historic pubs. The bar sits almost at the Hudson River edge of the island on Spring Street. The building was built in 1817 and at the time was actually located on the shoreline of the island. It's no surprise that the bar spent centuries as a longshoreman's hangout. A series of taverns operated in the building at least back to 1835. It was sold before prohibition but a speakeasy continued to sling suds despite the alcohol ban. As the waterfront declined, the local dockworkers simply knew the joint as "The Green Door"
The bar has been owned since the 1970s by a group of artists and musicians that moved into the building. They've created a food menu and opened up more space in the back, but otherwise little has changed. During renovations, old whiskey jugs were found in the basement and now grace the back bar. But why the "Ear?" It's simple. The new owners couldn't remove the neon sign reading "bar" because of the building's landmark status. So they simply blacked out half the "B" to create the "EAR."