For much of the city’s history, it seems, the only women for whom bar work was deemed appropriate were widows or fearsome brutes. W. Harrison Bayles’s 1915 history, “Old Taverns of New York,” recounts tales of female barkeeps stretching back to the 17th century, when a widow named Annetje Cock inherited her husband’s tavern. Early in the next century, another establishment, the Widow Post’s, became “a favorite place for members of assembly.” Then there was Gallus Mag, “bouncer and general factotum” of a notorious Water Street dive mentioned in Herbert Asbury’s “Gangs of New York,” who “stalked fiercely about the dive with a pistol stuck in her belt.”
But times have changed. Now in New York, you’re about as likely to have a woman pulling your pints as you are to have a man.