P.J. Hanley’s, Brooklyn’s oldest bar, is now a retro saloon

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PJ Hanley’s, in more modern times. (via Facebook)

Retro drinking is certainly all the rage these days, between all those absinthe bars and speakeasies dotting the city, but can an old-timey theme save a drowning drinking hole? P.J. Hanley’s, Brooklyn’s oldest bar, sure hopes so: after closing up shop last winter, they reopened over the weekend as an incarnation of their 1890s glory days. Saloon-wear, anyone?

The Carroll Gardens bar suffered from some serious financial and legal difficulties recently; in February owner James McGown filed for bankruptcy, and closed the nearly 150-year-old bar’s doors for good in March. He reportedly cited problems with his landlord and poor management for the closure, and the Court Street space was expected to be taken over by a Belgian beer garden in May. But according to the Brooklyn Paper, it looks like McGown’s got some other ideas, because this weekend P.J. Hanley’s reopened as Goldenrod, an alehouse throwback to the bar’s early days, complete with vintage decor, a restored floor and bar and no televisions. The urinals, though, are still modern, so don’t worry about having to deal with an outhouse.

Even the bar’s new name is vintage: Goldenrod was the name of P.J. Hanley’s house ale way back when. It was brewed by one of the bar’s former owners, Otto Huber, a brewer who hailed from (can you guess?) Bushwick. Where else?

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  1. That guy McGown or McGowan has run away from his bills with over a dozen NY properties in bankruptcy. In the past he’s refused to return rent deposits to tenants until hauled into court. He is the Bernie Madoff of bar owners, opening new places while stiffing old owners, including the Hanley family, as he jumps from lily pad to lily pad. Google him for more info, and don’t support shitty bar owners who screw their neighbors. He must have the greatest lawyer ever to still be in business.

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