Frank Sinatra's Favorite NYC Restaurant Is Still Open Today

Sitting on the corner of Third Avenue and 55th Street sits a New York City treasure — P.J. Clarke's. The friendly pub has been a fixture amidst the changing skyline since 1884, emulating the "old New York" we hear so much about. While new locations of the eatery are located throughout the Big Apple and it even offers a raw bar at P.J. Clarke's in Downtown Washington D.C., we can't forget the original spot that shaped the city that never sleeps. 

The saloon's legacy comes from more than its longstanding roots, but its loyal and famous patrons. Over the last 100-plus years, the restaurant has seen a rush of stars but no one was quite as consistent as Rat Pack leader Frank Sinatra. The glitz and glamor of Manhattan was alive and well in the 1940s and the award-winning singer brought that energy with him everywhere he went, which was often to his favorite booth at P.J.'s Clarke's. 

Sinatra attracted a crowd long before he drew them in with his voice, turning dining with friends into its very own performance. The entertainer had dozens of restaurants he loved across the U.S., but he always seemed to end the night at P.J. Clarke's. While Sinatra may not have been a true NYC native, he professed his love for the city enough to warrant respect. He did bring city lovers words to live by after all, belting out lyrics like, "I want to be a part of it. New York, New York!"

The legacy of P.J. Clarke's lives on

The eatery has been passed through a handful of owners since it first joined the rush of Third Avenue, but the namesake is all thanks to the 10-year-strong bartender, "Paddy" J. Clarke, who renamed the bar after himself when he took over in 1912. Sometimes with success comes exclusivity, but that's never been the case with Frank Sinatra's favorite hangout. The tavern's friendly air welcomes everyone who steps through the door. Between the low lighting and wood-paneled ceilings, the mood always seems to be set

While famous faces attracted the right crowd and drummed up intrigue, the real star has always been the juicy burgers. Nat King Cole famously praised this menu item as the "Cadillac of hamburgers," per the restaurant's website. However, Sinatra concentrated more on the bar, for his evening wouldn't be complete without the two-ingredient cocktail Rusty Nail.  

Today, the walls are wrapped in brick and adorned with framed memories and portraits that speak to the restaurant's history. P.J. Clarke's is the kind of New York institution you'll go to just to say you went, yet it lives up to all expectations. The city's magic will never fade, but there was a time before phones led the way and stories had to be told rather than shared with a single click. P.J. Clarke's is a little piece of the past that NYC is lucky to hold onto.