In this city, restaurants come and go faster than you can say "sustainable locavore burger." And even though there are great new additions to the culinary landscape popping up every week, you've gotta give kudos to anyone who can stick it out for over a year. With that in mind, we bring you Still Got It, our tribute to establishments that continue to serve mouthwatering meals and drinks long after the buzz has faded—or if the lingering hype is still justified.
The Ear Inn is one of the city's oldest taverns; housed in a Federal townhouse built in the late 18th century, the site's been a smuggler's den, brothel, speakeasy and, since 1817, a saloon for sailors docking in and out of the ports by the Hudson River. The bar's still got some relics from its storied past, like old signs advertising the ale that was once brewed there, apothecary bottles and other knick knacks the current owners discovered while digging around the basement a few years back. There's even a fun story behind the famous neon "EAR" sign hanging outside; it used to read "BAR," but the owners painted over some of the "B," naming the establishment, which had been previously known as "The Green Door," after a music magazine published above the bar.
Today, the Ear Inn draws all sorts of patrons, from longtime neighborhood folk to tourists to the post-work Tribeca crew. And while the basic draft beer and tavern fare they serve isn't anything Michelin-starred, the space is so charming it doesn't matter. Try the burger ($8.50), a hearty sirloin patty topped with the standard lettuce, onion and tomato; you can add cheese, mushrooms, avocado and other fixings for an extra buck, and its served with crispy homefries on the side. They've also got a cheap steamed mussels appetizer ($7.00) that pairs well with a draft of the Ear Inn's house ale ($6.50) or local brews from the likes of Goose Island and Blue Point (also $6.50). The bar also hosts live music performances; head over on a Sunday night to hear the house jazz band, the Ear Regulars.
The Ear Inn is located at 326 Spring St between Washington and Greenwich Street in South Village (212-226-9060, earinn.com).