The traditional soda fountain is making a comeback across New York.
The Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain is one of a growing number of old-school soda fountains slowly repopulating New York, albeit with a modern twist. Their success should not be surprising – despite the traditional soda fountain dying out in the 1970s, it remained etched into New Yorkers’ memories.
The first soda fountain, Liquid Carbonic Co, was started in 1888 by pharmacist Jacob Baur. He marketed his Carbonic Soda Fountain to contacts in the pharmacy trade, and so began the long relationship between drug stores and soda fountains. But it wasn't until Prohibition in 1919 that the trend really took off. With alcohol outlawed, the Egg Cream (chocolate syrup, milk and soda) and Cherry Lime Rickey (crushed cherries, lime and soda) filled the social-drinking vacuum.
The Brooklyn Farmacy has sympathetically recreated the tradition, keeping many of its original features. Old timers like Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop, and newer “locavore” restaurants such as Northern Spy Food Co in the East Village, are also reinvigorating the tradition. The classic Egg Cream is an acquired taste – perhaps you need to have grown up with it – but it has a special place in the hearts of many New Yorkers.
Andrew Davis runs the LDNeatsNYC blog, which explores the food scene of New York.
This article was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Magazine.