It’s Lonely at the Top: Who Belongs in the Century Club?

exterior #3 55th street

P.J. Clarke’s: The Original 1864 Location at 915 Third Ave., Seen in More Modern Times. Photo courtesy P.J. Clarke’s.

We’ve recently been reminded that the original P.J. Clarke’s–the beautiful old tavern in East Midtown where the dark wood, beveled glass, aproned barkeeps and low lighting are hardcore fodder for the hopelessly romantic–is 135 years old. This is the place where Nat King Cole, of all people, declared his dinner to be “the Cadillac of burgers.” That still satisfying sandwich–a house ground and formed patty, plus bacon and cheese on a soft old-fashioned burger bun–is now named after his statement. (Ironically enough considering their anniversary, the Cadillac burger is $11.35.)

We’ve written about a few other old-timers, like McSorley’s Bar in the East Village, for one, which needed a court order in 1970 to allow women to drink their house-brand beer, served in two tiny mugs at a time. But we’d like to know who else is out there to laud: What’s your favorite restaurant, bar or food biz that’s been around for at least 100 years? What beloved Manhattan old-timers are still the best? And why? The best response–you can enter yours in the comments below–wins a coffee Bodum press.

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