By Sandi Spino
In a district dominated by historic taverns, dimly lit sports bars, and after-work cocktails, Jeremy’s Ale House remains an eccentric and indulgent local’s favorite. Having relocated five times since its 1974 opening, the bar now resides a block northwest of the South Street Seaport.
So grimy that it is authentically dive, Jeremy’s sells tap beer in 32-ounce Sytrofoam cups (with the modest option of a 16-ounce plastic). Its Friday nights are bright, friendly, and drunken and begin with a guy-to-girl ration of five-to-one. Hiding out in Jeremy’s after work is like hunkering down in a motorcycle-friendly seashore bar in winter. The bar’s damp counter is manned by t-shirted men who scour the long, mismatched tables to deliver food. The fish and chips, mini burgers, mozzarella sticks, mountain of muscles, and clams—just a handful of choices from the bar’s extensive menu— all suffice for the happily drinking and leave no less in their wallets than a beer would.
Locals like Jeremy’s because it is cheap, fun, and large enough for a crowd without becoming uncomfortably packed. Jeremy’s is both loud like a high school cafeteria and quiet enough to sustain conversation. And although the many bras hanging from its ceiling scrawled with hearts and penises seem starkly libertine, the local memorabilia and photographs on the walls counter their lascivious effect. In sum, Jeremy’s decor is a dynamic contrast to trendy Front Street outside, which through the bar’s large windows seems as far away as the various programs on the its numerous TV’s. And even though Jeremy’s brick walls appear as old as the neighborhood itself, the bar houses at least two artifacts remarkably twenty-first century: a machine selling Mega Millions tickets and a Rock-Ola jukebox.
Jeremy’s remains a neighborhood favorite because, even though it does not belong in the FiDi, it epitomizes it. With the neighborhood’s timeless reverence for abundant brew and the indomitable spirit of the people who live and work there who, even in adulthood, like to drink, eat, and party—Jeremy’s is a seedy treasure.
And who hasn’t thought about contributing to the bar’s ceiling collections – of either bras or marker messages?
Jeremy’s Ale House is located at 228 Front Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip, two blocks east of Water Street. It is open daily from 8AM (sailors’ happy hour) to midnight, with the exception of Friday and Saturday nights, when it stays open a bartender-described “little later” and Sundays when doors open at noon. Beer prices range from $3.75 to 5.50 for pints and $6.00 to $9.00 for quarts. Food prices range from $1.50 (Jeremy’s Jr. Burger) to $10.95 (Scallops).
Jeremy’s can be found online at jeremysalehouse.com and reached by phone at 212-964-3537.