July 8th 2016 was a particularly special day in our journey of bars because it was close to where I grew up. Friends and family members joined us for the day. The proximity of the oldest bars in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania were within an hour of each other. Though we prefer to take more time to explore the area in which each bar is located, it worked out best to visit all three taverns in a single day of historical bar hopping! We arrived at the Philadelphia Airport at about 10:30 in the morning where my parents, my Aunt Marcia and Bruce’s lifelong friend, Jim picked us up. By 11:30 am, we were ordering lunch at The Barnsboro Inn in Sewell, NJ.
The Barnsboro was originally a log cabin built by John Budd in 1720. It was eventually purchased by John Barnes who petitioned to have his home licensed as a Tavern in 1776. Later owners converted it into an ice cream parlor during the prohibition era, but rumor suggests it also operated as a speakeasy. The building has been added on to several times over the years, but retains its original log cabin ambiance with dark wood beams framing the charming bar room. We had a great lunch of upscale bar food while enjoying the company of good friends and family. I had the corncake poppers, which were delicious, but the Barnsboro also had a pretty impressive dinner menu.
We really enjoyed our friendly bartender, Alyssa. She was very patient with 6 of us roaming around the place, admiring the preserved architecture and asking questions. She distributed copies of a one-page history of the tavern, and even gave Bruce and I embroidered Barnsboro staff shirts after we explained to her the nature of our quest! We were once again reminded of one of the great reasons these old watering holes continue to survive… their hospitality.