Two bars in Staten Island have long had a friendly competition over which is the oldest bar in the borough: Liedy’s Shore Inn in Snug Harbor and Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn in Charleston.
Here's the truth: Liedy’s is the oldest bar in continuous operation owned by the same family since 1892, but Killmeyer’s was established earlier in 1859 and has always existed at the same location.
Larry Liedy, the current owner of Liedy’s Shore Inn, said his great-great grandfather from Austria, Jacob Liederhaus, established the bar just down the street from where it is currently located. It’s been there since 1905, he said.
The bar is small, just 17 by 44 feet, but Liedy says he packs in crowds for rhythm and blues bands. Beers go for $2 on draught. After the fourth beer, the fifth is on the house. The pay phone has been there since 1942 — and was used during the filming of Madonna's 1980s video “Papa Don’t Preach.”
Also, “it’s haunted,” Liedy said. “I live on top of the bar. I see figures. I see images. I see a ghost looking at me. … I hear, ‘Larry.’”
He said that when the New York Ferris Wheel — what will be the largest observation wheel in the world — is built across the street, he hopes business will boom. “But I’m still going to sell $2 beers!”
Ken Tirado, the owner of Killemeyer’s, said he and Liedy have “milked this competition over who has the oldest bar for all its worth.”
Killemeyer’s was established as the social hub of what was then a largely German-immigrant community. During Prohibition, the bar became a hotel and meeting hall to survive.
In 1959, the place became known as the Century Inn, a popular roadhouse that attracted bands like Twisted Sister. When Tirado purchased it in 1995, he decided to return it to its German roots and restore the Killemeyer name.
Today the tavern has a large beer hall and beer garden, 100 varieties of beer and 25 draft lines. Half of them are dedicated to German imports. It serves up traditional German fare like schnitzels and goulashes. (Credit: Killemeyer's Old Bavarian Inn)