Located at 5, Rue Daunou, between the Avenue de l'Opéra and the Rue de la Paix in Paris, France, the bar was acquired by former American star jockey Tod Sloan in 1911, who converted it from a bistro and renamed it the "New York Bar."
Sloan had gone partners with a New Yorker named Clancy (no one seems to know his first name) who owned a bar in Manhattan. That bar was dismantled and shipped to Paris. Sloan then hired Harry MacElhone, a barman from Dundee, Scotland, to run the place.
At the time, American tourists and members of the artistic and literary communities were beginning to show up in Paris in ever-increasing numbers and Sloan hoped to capitalize on his fame and make the place a spot where expatriates would feel at home. His bar did become a popular spot for members of the American Field Service Ambulance Corps during World War I. However, financial problems from Sloan's overspending on a lavish personal lifestyle forced him to sell the bar.
In 1923, MacElhone, its former barman, bought the bar and added his name to it. He would be responsible for making it into a legendary Parisian landmark. When Harry died, in 1958, his son Andrew took over the bar and ran it until 1989.
His son, Duncan, took over the bar and ran it unto his death in 1998, whereupon his widow, Isabelle MacElhone, took it over.