​Historic Restaurants: Holiday Dining for New Year’s Eve

Why dine just anywhere on New Year’s Eve when you can hobnob with the ghosts of Frank Sinatra and former presidents? Ring in the New Year the old-fashioned way with dinner — and a few champagne toasts, if you’re so inclined — in these fabulous, historic restaurants around the country. Fear not, lovers of historic food and drink; you won’t find a stale or dated atmosphere in any of these spots. Just plenty of charm!
  • Old Ebbitt Grill: Washington, D.C. — The nation’s capital is one of the country’s original food destinations, and Washingtonians have Old Ebbitt Grill to thank for that. Among Washington D.C. historic restaurants, this one has it all: history, charm, and fame. Established in 1856, this 15th Street haunt is just steps from The White House, and it was a favorite spot of Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding, and Roosevelt. Its Beaux-Arts façade and interior of marble, brass, beveled glass, and velvet make Old Ebbitt perfect for New Year’s Eve.
  • Canlis: Seattle — The Emerald City is now home to high-tech giants like Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft, but it’s also got plenty of old-fashioned charm for history buffs. Among Seattle’s historic restaurants is Canlis, a New American spot with views of the Cascade Mountains. Built by the Canlis family in 1950, the Queen Anne district’s favorite fine dining restaurant informed the city’s rich food culture as much then as it does now. Canlis hosts an annual New Year’s Eve party to benefit a local charity.
  • Fraunces Tavern: New York City — You already know that The Big Apple is home to hundreds of storied establishments — from the 150-year-old McSorley’s Old Ale House to show-biz favorite Sardi’s — but Fraunces takes the cake for historical restaurants downtown. Located at 54 Pearl Street in the Financial District, this old-school eatery operates in Manhattan’s oldest surviving building. It was a popular meeting place as early as the American Revolution, and The Daughters of the American Revolution worked to preserve it throughout the early 1900s. It now operates as a museum and restaurant.
  • Arnold’s Bar and Grill: Cincinnati — The Queen City draws foodies for its legendary chili, but it also has some of the most historic restaurants in the Midwest. Arnold’s is the oldest tavern in town, established in 1861, but the restaurant has prohibition to thank for its designation as one of the longest-running restaurants in Cincinnati. Arnold’s converted to a café during prohibition — though rumor has it the original proprietor kept a bathtub of gin upstairs — and has served up local staples ever since then. The Arnold family still runs the restaurant several generations later. Be sure to try the eatery’s famous Greek spaghetti on your next visit.
  • Patsy’s of New York: New York City — Family-owned and operated since 1944, this Midtown establishment rose to fame after Frank Sinatra declared it his favorite restaurant in New York City. Other high-profile patrons of this old-school Italian joint include Al Pacino, Tom Hanks, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Madonna, and George Clooney. In its over 70 years of existence, only three chefs have cooked at Patsy’s: the late Pasquale "Patsy" Scognamillo (Patsy’s founder), his son Joe, and Joe’s son Sal. Talk about keeping it in the family!
  • Commander’s Palace: New Orleans — Head down South, and you’ll find plenty of historic food and drink. One of the most storied establishments of the South is Commander’s Palace, a 125-year-old Creole restaurant with some high-class flair. The restaurant thrived through prohibition, though legend has it the original owners stored alcohol across the street in an adjacent cemetery during the era. It has endured wars and epic natural disasters. Celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme worked at Commander’s Palace, cementing their reputations as culinary icons.
  • The Griswold Inn: Essex, CT — Revered by historians as one of the oldest continuously operating inns in the country, The Griswold Inn opened its doors in 1776. Military historians visit the Griswold for its well-renowned New England cuisine and its unique place in the canon of historic buildings. The walls of the inn and restaurant display rare firearms, paintings of famous wartime vessels, and the largest privately held collection of work by Antonio Jacobsen, the country’s most prolific maritime painter. The inn was actually captured by British troops during the War of 1812. Even though portions of the inn have been restored, other parts remain unaltered to preserve their history.
Try ringing in the New Year in one of these historic restaurants. These legendary establishments have thrived over the annals of time, so plan to experience their charm firsthand!