On ‘Dash & Lily,’ Midori Francis Finds Heartbreak at McSorley’s Old Ale House in NYC

Lindsay Blake
·2 min read

While holiday movies are currently flooding networks and streaming services, Christmas-focused series are more of a rarity. Netflix is providing a few offerings, though, including “Dash & Lily” which dropped November 10th. The Yuletide-themed show, based upon Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s 2011 YA novel “Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares,” chronicles two lovelorn teens, Dash (Austin Abrams) and Lily (Midori Francis), as they fall for eachother via a notebook anonymously passed back and forth throughout the holiday season.

Set and filmed in the Big Apple, the series’ most notable location is The Strand Bookstore, where Lily leaves the ubiquitous notebook that is later discovered by Dash in episode one, “Dash,” and where (spoiler alert!) the two finally get together in the finale, “New Year’s Eve.” Only slightly less notable is McSorley’s Old Ale House, an East Village landmark prominently featured in the penultimate episode, “Christmas.”

Situated at the base of a five-story brick tenement building, McSorley’s was originally established by Irish transplant John McSorley in 1854 (yes, 1854!). Though initially named “The Old House at Home,” everyone simply called it “McSorley’s.” It wasn’t until the bar’s sign blew away during a storm in 1908 that John officially renamed the place, though, replacing the signage with one reading “McSorley’s Old Time Ale House.” At some point, the “time” was dropped, but other than that, little about the watering hole has been changed since its inception more than 160 years ago!

While the building housing McSorley’s was updated and expanded in 1864 to the brick structure that stands today (which John purchased in 1888), virtually everything else on the premises has remained untouched since the beginning. The memorabilia and ephemera papering the walls, the sawdust covering the floor, and the potbellied stove warming the air are all holdovers from the bar’s early days.

Though there are some naysayers out there who dispute the pub’s founding date, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has largely authenticated it, and arguing the issue seems entirely beside the point. McSorley’s is irrefutably one of Manhattan’s most historic saloons, an authentically unique throwback to mid-19th century East Village life.

For more Dirt on McSorley’s Old Ale House from “Dash & Lily,” click over to the gallery.

Launch Gallery: Get a Peek at McSorley’s Old Ale House from ‘Dash & Lily’

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