Over on The Alcohol Professor, I’m writing about that time George Washington bro-hugged his generals and bid them farewell with tankards of ale and bowls of turtle soup. The Bar that Birthed America celebrates the storied history of New York City’s Fraunces Tavern. From the Sons of Liberty to George Washington’s party, from nearly becoming a parking lot to getting blown up by terrorists, it’s a stunning slice of American history and a lovely place to have a drink.
Fraunces began life as a residence traded amongst some of New York’s most powerful families, the kind who still have streets and neighborhoods named after them. The original building was constructed in 1671 by New York Mayor Stephanus van Cortlandt. When the mayor retired to an estate further up the Hudson River, he gave the property to his son-in-law, Etienne DeLancey. He, in turn sold the mansion in 1762 to Samuel Fraunces, who immediately converted it from a residence into a tavern called The Queen’s Head. It didn’t take long for Fraunces’ new bar to become the headquarters for growing American discontent. The Sons of Liberty met at the tavern, swapping plans over plentiful drinks.