Utica’s Oldest Bar is a Historic Throwback to Prohibition Days
Utica's oldest bar still in operation is probably older than your grandparents. And the effort that's gone in to preserving its old school charm is a testament to the owners' appreciation for its rich history.
Gerbers on Liberty Street is Utica's oldest Prohibition-era bar. The full official title is "Gerbers 1933 Tavern" to honor the year in which Prohibition was repealed, and the year it officially (legally) started serving alcohol. Of course, Uticans could still get a drink there when you legally couldn't. Their website says it was frequently busted by the "Flying Squadron," the name given to supporters of Prohibition who loved to rat on speakeasies. The décor of Gerbers harkens back to these times. Even the bartenders wear white button-up shirts and bowties.
The old brick building that houses Gerbers is even older than the start of Prohibition. It was built in the 1840s as a seed warehouse adjacent to the original Erie Canal, back when Canal commerce thrived and Utica boomed socially and economically.
Gerbers closed in 1976 and went on a 37-year hiatus before reopening in 2013. Mark and Susan Mojave took over at that time and beautifully restored the tavern to as close as its original look as possible. The bar contains multiple fixtures that are authentic to its time as a speakeasy.
If you like a little history while you're enjoying a cocktail or two, consider Gerbers on Liberty Street for your next night out.