Translation from English

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Old Town Restaurant

After having to work so hard to make sure I had really found the chi-chi Gramercy Tavern, I looked across the street and there was this old dive that goes WAY back..

I remember when there was a VERY trendy eatery in the area called "America" which also was hard to find. The Old Town had a big hand lettered sign in the window, "THIS IS NOT AMERICA, IT IS ELLIS ISLAND," and went on to talk about how the family who owned the joint was of immigrant roots and lived in Greenpoint, Brooklyn ( ironic how Greenpoint itself would then be "discovered" as a neighborhood).

Having this place here is my perverse sense of humor, that's all-- I wonder if Yelp even deigns to recognize this place--well, actually the Yelp reviewers don't dislike this place at all (they have spruced it up over the years, obviously)-- but only one review that was all that enthusiastic.

Shame I did not go inside, could have seen what they have done with the place

Old Town Bar & Restaurant

3.5 star rating
202 reviews Rating Details
45 E 18th St
(between Broadway & S Park Ave)
New York, NY 10003
Neighborhoods: Union Square, Flatiron
(212) 529-6732
Nearest Transit Station:
14 St - Union Sq (N, Q, R)
14 St - Union Sq (4, 5, 6, 6X)
Union Sq - 14 St (L)
Accepts Credit Cards:
Good for Groups:
Good for Kids:
Takes Reservations:
Price Range:
Waiter Service:
Outdoor Seating:
Good For:
Best Nights:
Wed, Thu, Sat
Happy Hour:
Full Bar
Coat Check:
Noise Level:
Good For Dancing:
Divey, Casual
Has TV:
Wheelchair Accessible:

Review Highlights   What's this?

  • "Delicious burgers, great beer, strong martinis." In 53 reviews
  • "...such a welcome departure from the other bars in the Union Square area." In 18 reviews
  • " antique fixtures, tile floor, wooden booths, dumbwaiter, etc." In 9 reviews
Rating Distribution | Trend
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202 reviews in English

  • Review from

    Update - 7/5/2013 6 photos 2 check-ins here
    Recent visit for a better night of merriment with my baby boy, once again together we return to Old Town, without all the indecisiveness.

    For Him:
    one Long Island Ice Tea $10.00
    one shot of Vodka $6.00

    For Her:
    one Margarita $8.00

    One small platter of mild chicken wings with celery at $10.25 and Mozzarella sticks that lies on a bed of lettuce at $8.75 fills the inside.  Disappointingly the upstairs dinning area was closed as the main dinning room is packed, but with his presence the night was still enjoyable regardless of the atmospheric surroundings.  Service is self-serve as we were sitting at a small table by the exit, but the bar tender gave us a holler for our food's arrival.

    1 Previous Review: Show all »

    • 2/23/2013
      Old Town dates back to the American prohibition era with all the elements of a traditional bar and… Read more »
  • Review from

    6/29/2013 1 check-in here
    Walking into this bar is like walking into a time machine and being transported back to Prohibition. It's an old speakeasy located right in the Flatiron district of New York City. It has also been in continuous operation since 1892!…

    The coolest part about this bar is sitting in the little booths along the sides of the restaurant and admiring the old newspaper clippings/photographs of celebrities visiting this place decades ago. They have maintained the structural integrity of the building and avoided to pressures the renovate. One nice addition that they HAVE made is they have added in a women's bathroom. It is so funny because that bathroom is definitely an afterthought. Just the awkward location gives this away. It's up the stairs on the second floor and behind the kitchen. It's a quaint reminder that "back in the day," women weren't allowed in bars. Therefore, no women's room was needed.

    I also liked that there was an older man bartender. Not having 20-something college kids behind the bar added to the ambiance. We came here with a group of 10-15 rowdy softball players, and he encouraged us to have a nice time, and happily entertained our questions about the bar while making us plenty of "house specials." The house special was some killer fresh squeezed lemonades spiked with vodka, which was refreshing for a hot and sticky summer afternoon.
  • Review from

    If you aren't even competent enough to charge a provided amount on a card, maybe you should question yourself and your own abilities before accusing customers of stiffing you.

    First she blamed our table for shortchanging her with the cash, when we actually overpaid (we counted and recounted and are 99% sure). Despite it probably being her own mistake, my friends left her extra tip anyway because they are nice and felt bad for her.

    Then, later on, we realized that after providing her two separate cards and specific amounts for each, she had somehow mistakenly charged both amounts (separately) on the SAME CARD. Facepalm.

    1 star for that waitress (the older blonde woman in a ponytail), who WAS friendly and semi-attentive before she went weird on us, and two stars for a decent/normal bar with a nice menu.

    I bet she found that missing $10 or $20 bill on the ground behind the bar later and felt stupid. That or she knowingly pocketed it (plus the extra, undeserved tip). It's not a dealbreaker because she is but one bad server in a decent bar, but seriously - how annoying.
  • Review from

    4/3/2013 1 check-in here
    Not bad. Definitely a staple in the area.

    Good drinks. But no HH specials.

    Old school bartenders with no BS attitudes. But pretty refreshing and gave me a free JW Black.

    The fries aren't the best, but for some reason I can't stop eating them.

    Though there aren't any drink specials, the prices are pretty damn good. After 4 JW Blacks, 4 beers, and an order of large fries, it only set me back $80 inc tip. Not bad at all.

    I'll be back for some mediocre fries and no-frills-no-BS service.
  • Review from

    Stopped by here for a beer with friends. We were walking around aimlessly in the area and dropped in.

    The atmosphere is really interesting as you feel like you step back through time as you go inside. The bartenders are really nice and went out of their way to find me a business card, so that I could remember to review the place. Ended up having a Magic Hat #9, for lack of microbrew variety, and we paid too much for the pints ($7.50 each). Oh well, it was an experience. Would definitely recommend coming in for a pint to check it out.
  • Review from

    • 29 friends
    • 90 reviews
    6/5/2013 2 photos 2 check-ins here
    Faded glory, great beer, sweetest as pie waitress who could have been my mom.
    • Old school ambiance is sure to please.
  • Review from

    • 36 friends
    • 45 reviews
    4/15/2013 1 check-in here
    The Old Town should not be yelped.
    I've read through the complaints, and I get it, this bar is not for you, but there is a reason behind that, especially if you order Stella.
  • Review from

    2/15/2013 1 check-in here
    I would consider myself a fan of this place, considering the great beer prices, cozy feel, and great bartenders.

    There were really only two reasons we went to this bar: the close proximity to Craftbar, and to see the "oldest urinals in NYC".

    (Currently check this one off my bucket list of things I must see before I die)

    What perturbed me is that this place seems to be the place for people go to go make out publicly.  I had the joy of standing next to two fairly unattractive guys making out with each other.  I am all about a good make out but, please, please, please, in the confines of your own home or hotel room.  Public spit-swapping is just nasty.  I would have rather kissed the urinal.
  • Review from

    • 13 friends
    • 44 reviews
    My friend and I had burger cravings.  I took to yelp in an attempt to find a hidden gem of a burger restaurant near Union Square.  This may, in fact, be the ultimate wild goose chase since burgers around Union Square, by nature of their convenient location, are seemingly all overpriced.

    Our waitress, Flo (not her real name, but let your imagination fill in the gaps in terms of charm, work ethic, and fitness level) seemed to have checked out a couple of decades ago.  We put in our orders for burgers and some chicken fingers, and half an hour later the most frighteningly barren plate of chicken fingers arrived.  Were they made of chicken? Sure!  Were they "fingers"? Um, sure!  Were the delicious? Um...

    Flo seemed to be bouncing around the dining area a lot with little or no purpose.  One trip to grab a saucer.  Another trip for a fork.  Was she all there? Was she just trying to step-step-step her way to better fitness?  Did she eat our burgers?  As the time ticked by these are questions we started asking ourselves.

    The burgers, when they finally arrived, were actually pretty good.  That's the only reason I'm giving this place more than one star.  Burger connoisseurs will appreciate the meat:bun:cheese ratios being in proper balance.  That being said, you could get a similarly well-designed burger at shake shack for less than half of what you pay at Old Town Bar & Restaurant.

    Save yourselves the trouble and charge onward in your burger quests, fellow yelpers.   Nothing of note to see here.
  • Review from

    • 68 friends
    • 139 reviews
    The space is amazing. Truly beautiful, and the bathroom is fun because it is such a transporting feel to it. (Complete with 100 year old urinals).

    I only came for drinks so I can't comment on the food, but we stood at the end of the bar near the dumbwaiter (which is awesome btw) so we saw all of the food come out and it looked delicious.

    The beer selection here is just ok.  Not too much on tap, and a little pricier than it should be. service was hit or miss, but it was fine for a few friends who wanted to catch up.

    I think I would really love this place on a Sunday afternoon or weeknight as it was a little crazed on the saturday evening I went on.
  • Review from

    2/16/2013 1 check-in here
    This bar has the "dive"-ish feel to it, but it is just because it is old and feels like any other bar in the city.  We walked right in on a Friday night, no bouncer and found a table all the way at the back with 3 chairs! Easy Friday night! Grabbed a couple of beers and time to chat it up!

    This place isn't memorable to me quite yet.. but we will see when we are in the area next..