It was an August night some time ago at Frances Tavern, a pub at 54 Pearl Street that reopened last night after a few months of closure. Presumably men were drinking, and presumably men were eating. Then, in a flash, an 18-pound cannonball bounded in from above, splintering the roof and eventually resting in a corner of the half-demolished bar.
O.K., fine, perhaps it was not your average night — it was 1775, and the British warship Asia was attacking New York City.
Centuries later, an Irish brewery partnership called the Porterhouse Group has refurbished the historic Fraunces Tavern, an ancient drinking spot that was closed on account of poor business in early 2010.
The locale, where a watering hole first opened in 1762, is said to be the oldest bulding in Manhattan. In this building, rebels planned the Boston Tea Party and George Washington gave a goodbye toast to his troops.
“To be the first customers at Fraunces Tavern, we couldn’t give up that opportunity,” lawyer Mike Carroll, told The New York Times. “It means we’re here before George Washington.”
Putting Carroll’s, um, creative logic aside, it appears that the “George Washington drank here” slogan may prove just as popular as “George Washington slept here.”
Porterhouse Group co-owner Oliver Hughes will open the adjoining restaurant in the next few weeks, but has already set the place up to function as a “proper Irish bar.” Hey, an enemy of the British is a friend of Fraunces Tavern.