Jake’s Cafe – Located on Merrimack St next to the former DPW site. I’m not sure why is was called a cafe, but I’m sure someone out there would know. As far as I remember it may have been owned by a gentleman with the last name of Sargeant. As Newburyport developed from a bombed out vacant ghost town, to where the beautiful people came to dwell and live, there was no room in the neighborhood for a place named Jakes. You see in Newburyport during the late 80’s and into the 90’s, even the name Jake’s could get your sign taken down if it was in the wrong neighborhood. Across from Jakes a new waterfront residential development came to be, and the Jakes sign was just an eye sore to the people in direct view of it. For the rest of us Natives we didn’t have that beautiful person mindset, so it didn’t matter. Merrimac St wasn’t High St anyway… Still isn’t. Locate it.

North End Boat Club – Even though the name suggests “Boat Club”, you never actually had to own a boat to be a member. That simple fact has probably saved many a member’s life. No boat? No problem!  Locate It

DAV – Located off the traffic circle.


The Thirsty Whale- No other bar in town attracted the locals and nightly visitors as much as the Thirsty Whale.  With that said patrons would usually arrive here to meet someone by chance that you probably knew.  If no one was there that you knew, all you had to do was wait a few minutes more and that would change.  I’m not saying everyone went here, but if your crowd did it was a great social meeting spot!

28 Responses to Bars

  1. Timmy Meehans ( turned into the Ming Jade )
    Ming Jade
    Black Sheep ( Port Plaza, next to old movie theatre )
    Jacob Marleys
    Dreadnot ( the best bar in town )
    Port Rec ( bowling alley had a “lounge” )
    Steak N Stein

    Martin Crowley June 28, 2008 at 2:47 pm Reply
  2. The Port Rec Center never had a lounge. It had a shoe storage room for regular bowlers that the owners turned a blind eye to regular league members bringing in a “little” stronger refreshments than the tonic sold there. They had to keep the door closed and not bring any out of the room until leaving.

    John Del Genio September 11, 2008 at 3:23 pm Reply
  3. The Man that owned Jake’s cafe was Jake Ellison, Not Sargent. as was said above When it first opened it was a family bar run by Jake and his brother Leo.It was a place where friends and family could meet have a few drinks play pool and so on. As time went by Jake’s reputation went bye bye… It was no longer a family type establishment. The rest is history.

    dmeaton October 5, 2008 at 8:58 pm Reply
  4. The Polish Club
    The American Legion
    The Moose Hall
    The DAV
    Ohh the memories HA!

    dmeaton October 6, 2008 at 8:52 pm Reply
  5. The Neptune’s is located on Hancock St

    dmeaton October 6, 2008 at 8:55 pm Reply
  6. There was a bar I believe it was on RT1 called E.J.’s..alot of the Boston Bruins and others hung out there in the 70’s..Bobby Ore Derick Sanderson and thier Hockey Team

    D.A.KUSE October 21, 2008 at 2:16 pm Reply
  7. there were no woosies allowed in jakes if you were not know by somebody you probally didnt belong there . i still have my jakes cafe last call tee shirt .
    dont forget the captains quaters , now the black cow . dont forget the beachcoma down pi ! where are all the ole nbpt ‘ers?

    g travis December 15, 2008 at 8:20 pm Reply
  8. hang on to the tee shirt gt

    dmeaton January 10, 2009 at 12:20 am Reply
  9. Timmy Meehan’s was originally Yolanda’s moved from the other side of Storey Ave. from about where Friendy’s was. How about the Log Cabin on Liberty St., Kay’s Corner Cafe, ( formerly O’Barras), The Flying Yankee, The Hotel Dexter, The Mall, (that’s pronounced “MAL”)Spa, the D.A.V., the Elks, Knights of Columbus, the Captin’s Hangout, Sarky’s, etc., etc….

    p.j. nichypor May 26, 2009 at 10:06 pm Reply
  10. Wonder if anyone remembers the Polish Club vs. the Clover Club softball games? I recall two, back in the mid sixties. The actual games were okay, with the predictable pitched grapefruit that was painted white, the bad calls, etc.. But nothing compared to the beer fest at the Polish Club after the game. At eleven or twelve years of age, we were too young to partake in the drunken revelry. There was though, plenty of free Pepsi and sandwiches that we would grab from the food table. The club, not unlike most everything else in Newburyport, has succumbed to the greed of the “Carpetbaggers” and been turned into, “you guessed it”,,, CONDOS…

    p.j. nichypor July 1, 2009 at 10:33 pm Reply
  11. I guess if you were inclined to be a “drinker” in Newburyport of the late 1950’s and 1960’s, you were “all set”… As I recall, there was a multitude of bars, clubs, liquor or package stores(“packies”),and dives in and about the city limits. If one was so inclined as to begin a “drinking walk”, you could have begun at the outer fringes on Plum Island. Let’s say one at each stop… Dominick’s on Northern Blvd, I don’t recall the name of the restaurant at the center, but I think you could “throw one down” there. Grab a “roadie” at Mr. Moe’s and then sit at the “cozy” bar in the “lounge” at the Sportsman’s Lodge. Turn up Marlboro St. and then left onto Hancock St. to the Neptunes Club, (the “Neps”). Another roadie at Chagro’s packie at the foot of Bromfield on Water St. Two streets west on Water to Salem St. to enjoy cold “Pabst” and the stale beer smell of the Polish Cub. Walk, ( or stagger ) up Salem or Charles Street to the D.A.V. at Purchase St. Roadies from Rochette’s at Lime and Purchase and from Stickney’s, also on Lime near the corner of Milk St. Back down Lime to Water St. for a cold one and a fist fight at Kay’ Corner Cafe, ( formerly “O’ Bara’s”). This place had one of those “drunk rails” on the front of the building at waist level. I remember having to cross Water St. on more than one occasion in order to avoid being accosted by one or more drunks clinging to that rail. “Airing out” before being allowed back inside for round two, three, or four of mid day drinking… Whoops, almost forgot one of those private “veteran’s” clubs on Purchase at Madison St., I forget which one it was. Water St. had the Stb’d Galley, ( formerly Rangelights Marina Restaurant). George Dixon, alias “the Assassin” would pour an overly strong and generous “CC and Ginger”. Stagger or crawl 10 Center St. and then back a few years and a street over to the Log Cabin on Liberty St. The Square had the Dexter Hotel, K&C Spa, ( ladies with escorts invited…). The dive that would briefly become the Captain’s Hangout restaurant before disappearing after a fire of “suspicious origin”. Private clubs abounded in or near the downtown area and included the Dalton Club, The Elks, the Knights of Columbus, the Odd Fellows, Cam Snappers, ( don’t know if there was a bar), the veteran’s club at State and High Sts. opposite the K of C. Lower State St. had Labadini’s Italian Restaurant with a real nice bar. Later on, Knowles Liquors relocated to lower State St. in the old Giant Value grocery store building.The Stagecoach Tavern at the circle. The Loyal Order of the Moose was just north of the “circle” on route 1. Back downtown would later be the Grog, the Steak and Stein, Jacob Marley’s, the Mall Spa on Green St. at High. Brown Square would see the restoration of the long vacant and ignored Garrison Inn whose old steel rooftop sign had been damaged by a severe storm and had begun to fall away from the building, dangling menacingly, high over the street. On Merrimack St. at Green, was Canepa’s(sp?) Liquors. Sarky’s, a dive as I remember it and said to be the oldest operating tavern in the city, sat between the Port Theatre and Merrimack St. at Titcomb until burning to the ground one night. The Flying Yankee,(named after the “Tin Fish” three car diesel train of the B&M ), was on Winter St. appropriately next to the old depot location. Tournament Wharf became Michael’s Harborside at the foot of the Gillis bridge. C. Leary’s Liquors, ( as referred to by George “Buddy” Jackman) was next to the Park Lunch. The Park Lunch later moved to its current location opposite the Cashman Park entrance and C. Leary’s stayed right where they had been with a couple of main entrance changes. Not that you could buy a drink there, but honorable mention must go to the Caldwell’s Distillery. The sign was visible for years over the B&M rails at the Merrimack river R.R. crossing. Some of the original bonded warehouses were located next to the distillery abutting Cashman Park as well as behind Leary’s. I think Leary’s building began life as the original Caldwell’s before moving to new and larger quarters next to the old R.R. embankment. The North End Boat Club is still just past Towle’s building. The Dreadnaught was a fine place for a late night drink at its location at the Merri-mar Marina next to Chase Shawmut. And who can forget seeing the “Fools” at the Black Sheep. Or trying not to get cut on the glass in the parking lot from all the beer bottles thrown there before they went to a “cans only” policy… Many established clubs have since re-located and new bars have opened. I can’t keep track anymore… “Fancy a pint”?… Newburyport was and still is, more than anything else, a “drinkers” town. Check it out on a hot July night right around “last call”, ( which seemed to vary depending on the establishment…). Don’t forget the Lemon Tree on 1A at the Newbury/ Rowley line. Used to be Styson’s, with that section of rte. 1A being referred to as “the Styson Strip”, due to the large number of motor vehicle “incidents” out front.

    p. j. nichypor July 7, 2009 at 2:26 pm Reply
  12. Forgive me for overlooking Jake’s Cafe. And that’s a right at Hancock St. off of Marlboro. I also left out Sullivan and Lyon’s at Storey Ave. and Low St.. Timmy Meehan’s later became the Ming Jade. Or what we liked to call “Timmy Ming’s”… I surely have left out some local as well as some out of town “watering holes”. E. J.s was my good friend Donald’s favorite spot. He received an insurance check for a motor vehicle that had been totaled, cashed it and bought a new color T.V.. The rest of the money, ( and I’m certain it was a lot) went with him to E.J.s, where he proclaimed “I’m setting up the whole bar tonight”… He left with about two bucks in gas money. Don was also famous for jumping off the deck at Michael’s Harborside into the river. As well as being coaxed, (without too much effort) into trying to drive through the chain-link fence at the Boat Club and through Towle’s. The deal was to come out through the second fence after crossing the entire Towle property and come out at Cashman Park. Later on at the police station Don spun some obviously convincing “tale” getting both of us released,( me from protective custody). I guess it helped that the bulk of police officers on duty that night were also former classmates of both of us… I was recently asked by a former “habitue'” of the Galley if there has been any mention of his escapades at that establishment involving a major “altercation” that required the “assistance of all on duty police officers that evening. For the record “Chick”, it’s mentioned now…

    p. j. nichypor July 8, 2009 at 7:56 am Reply
  13. Does anyone remember what business or busnesses occupied the Captain’s Hangout on Merrimack street between Unicorn and Green streets?

    p. j. nichypor September 24, 2009 at 5:56 pm Reply
  14. Back in the 70’s with the Vietnam war and all, 18 year-olds got the vote and were able to drink. So we had a great time hitting the Bars in the city. Without a doubt the “Black Sheep” was my favorite place to let loose. I remember one night there with the Bostick brothers (Rich and Buddy) and Jimmy Croteau when the Fools came in. Last dance we torn each others shirts off each other on the dance floor. .. good times. . . .

    Another spot was the “Stage Coach Tavern” The summer of my graduation year, most of my classmates spent their time time there before going off to college and life. Last time I saw many of them. My favorite memory was seeing Muddy Waters come in and play there. That sent me on my path for the love of Blues.

    I worked for a year at the Chase Shawmut Co. (Now Gould) on Merrimac St. My foreman was a guy named Ray. Ray used to inspire us to greatest by giving us an “Atta-Boy” He had about 25 of these cards with that written on it. It also said in small letters, that “Five Atta-boys could be redeemed for a Beer at the North End Boat Club (NEBC)” So Ray and his minions would eventually come in after work and pound a few, We’d get our free beer, he got a loyal crew, and the NEBC got the business. Smart Guy Ray. He use to get Bud drafts there, and he always had a salt shaker handy. When the Bud was put in front of him, he’d take that salt shaker and sprinkle it on the beer to get it to foam up with a big salty head. Man that was delicious, that’s for this memory Ray!

    ”Newburyport was covered with Clubs in the day. My dad was a member of the DAV and President at one time, I had my Wedding Reception there. The Polish Club was at the bottom of my street. The Neps up on Hancock, all close by and in my neighborhood. You could get everything in your neighborhood back then.

    I’m stunned there is not more about the Neps, and the old hand tubs here. He was also a member of the Neptune Veteran Fireman Association club on Hancock St. They were a huge part of life here. The Neps was my dad’s favorite hangout and a place put aside for those who would join or support the Five and Drums Corp or the Handtub competition that were so popular back then. The Neptune 8 and Olde Newbury handtub were like the Red Sox and Yankees, deep rooted rivalries.

    One last thing, my favorite ironic sign at Jake’s on Merrimac, “Jakes, Where the elite meet.”

    brownwey November 7, 2009 at 1:03 pm Reply
  15. A good word to the “moderator” would get the Neps it rightful place here ! Your right about the Neptune 8 – Oulde Newbury rivalry ! I’m sure some folks would have some pics of this !

    J. Frost November 12, 2009 at 7:44 pm Reply
  16. I remember the Boomkin Pub which pre-dated Michaels Harborside.

    Also, over in Amesbury the old T Bone Junction where Friendly’s is now. Lots of good fights with our Amesbury Neighbors there.

    mr January 29, 2010 at 4:41 pm Reply
  17. Jakes’s – found this site while searching for Jake’s and trying to find out if Jake Ellison is still alive … anyone know ?
    This place had a bad rap – while hanging at The Grog around 1980-82 I was frequently told “you don’t want to go THERE !!”. Finally accompanied some friends there one night and it quickly became my favorite bar – used to call it my second living room. My first visit I was already slightly inebriated and was definitely over the line by the time I was leaving – as I walked out the door (to walk home) George the bartender followed me out and asked if I was OK and did I need a ride ! He didn’t know me from squat (although I was there with some regulars) and was concerned. Believe me no one at The Grog ever noticed/cared/asked.

    The people there were wonderful and I have such fond memories: Leo bringing me a jar of his pickeled bratworst, Jake loaning me $50 to make my rent, the fabulous Christmas Eve buffets – free to regulars and doors locked to “others”. I was always treated like a lady there and felt very protected by staff and fellow patrons alike.
    I’ve since returned to Ohio but think of Jake’s often and drive by the old spot whenever I’m back for a visit. Wonder where the old gang is now …… sigh.

    Also remember The Thirsty Whale (Sunday softball “beer” leagues), Winter St. Cafe (?), The Beachcomber, breakfast at Taffy’s and Fried Clams at The Park Lunch.

    L Hildebrand July 1, 2010 at 12:29 pm Reply
  18. My grandfather was a bartender at the NEBC. I was about 6 and I remember going with him in the morning. The guys going fishing were waiting for him to open up so they could have a drink before going out.
    He also bartended at the Flying Yankee, now home to Joseph’s Winter Street Cafe.

    vidguy August 3, 2010 at 8:43 pm Reply
  19. Timmy Meehan’s was originally Yolanda’s moved from the other side of Storey Ave. from about where Friendy’s was. How about the Log Cabin on Liberty St., Kay’s Corner Cafe, ( formerly O’Barras), The Flying Yankee, The Hotel Dexter, The Mall, (that’s pronounced “MAL”)Spa, the D.A.V., the Elks, Knights of Columbus, the Captin’s Hangout, Sarky’s, etc., etc….

    McLanche November 6, 2010 at 7:23 am Reply
  20. Jake Ellison died a few years ago. As did Jakes cafe….a working mans bar with a bad reputation by people that never went there. If you were a female in that bar they took good care of you. Jake was a colorful bit of Newburyport history whether they like it or not. He told it like it was and to hell with anyone that couldn’t handle it. Jake Ellison was my friend and I thought the world of him. I am still friends with the rest of his family and his great neice and nephew are my grandchildren.. They didn’t give jakes cafe a chance…when the yuppies came to Nypt they wanted Jakes cafe gone and finally succeeded..I wonder how many people know how much Jake did for everyone?

    Linda Fraize January 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm Reply
  21. Neps, Park Lunch, NEBC are hidden jewels for true Nbptrs. Nelson from the Ming Jade opened The Jade with others in early 2001 on Story Ave (now a Car wash) – that was an awesome place on par with the previously mentioned – closed late 2004 – still miss it but the others are still around – yay

    D Cox January 13, 2011 at 12:36 pm Reply
  22. Don’t forget the Sportsmens’ Lodge. Great hangout for decades. Good food, John Horgan, bartender, Barry the chef, and who can forget Jeanette Wilkinson and Pat Jordan. Andy Contos was a great guy and had a terrific reputation as a restauranteur. Then sadly he gave it to his make-believe grandson who ran it into the ground. Sad. The Sportsmens and Labadinis were the places to go. You’d see everyone in town there and everyone knew everyone else. Les Harris on drums, Walt Jackson, vocalist.

    krm May 23, 2013 at 11:41 pm Reply
  23. Grew up next to Sarky’s any one with pictures of this place?

    John M June 19, 2013 at 7:11 am Reply
  24. I was Googling for some history on the Flying Yankee (the bar, not the train) and this site gave me a free ride on Memory Lane. I didn’t go to *all* those establishments during my drinkin’ days in and around Nbpt., but I visited many of them at least once.
    I had always thought the bar was named after a clipper ship, but 20+ years ago, a friend who’s a railfan told me the actual origin of the name. I must’ve figured it was like Donald McKay’s Flying Cloud, one of his “extreme clippers.”
    Even before I turned 21, I’d visit Leary’s, Stickney’s, or Sullivan & Lyon to buy soda and snacks. I remember Stickney’s had Schweppes Ginger Beer, which I enjoyed back then. (Early Nineteen-Seventies.)
    The friend who set me straight on the name for the Flying Yankee (the bar, not the train) is a native Newburyporter, and he was at the railroad station one night when one commuter remarked to another “There you have it, right next to the railroad station: the back door of the Dirty Dog Saloon.” My friend now uses “Dirty Dog Saloon” as kind of a catchall name for any bar.
    Thanks for the memories.

    Doug_C April 15, 2016 at 1:52 am Reply
  25. Thanks Doug for visiting!

    Shawn G - Moderator April 15, 2016 at 9:40 am Reply
  26. Does anyone know the name of the bar on the corner of Lime and Water Street during World War Two- to be exact?

    Dee September 8, 2016 at 8:31 am Reply
  27. Rusty Nail on Rt 1 North, where Tremblay’s construction is now. A great place to dance.

    Deborah November 19, 2017 at 10:41 am Reply
  28. Does anyone know what happened to the whale that was on the roof of the Plum Island Beachcomber Restaurant and Lounge? The original one not the ‘come that is there now.

    Maureen July 10, 2018 at 9:05 pm Reply

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