White Horse Tavern – the second oldest bar in New York City – has seen many come and go over the years (but always with a steady drink in hand), which means that these walls have hosted larger-than-life household names – yesterday, today, and most likely tomorrow.
It’s not a Bob Dylan melody, nor is it a literary introduction penned by Hunter S. Thompson, but it’s a toast to their memory – that of others, too. So, long live this small act of immortalization, or if you’re a little less sentimental, some famed moments that come with this digs’ own long-standing legacy.
Pull the bar stool up, we’re diving into some of White Horse Tavern’s most famous faces throughout the years. And maybe you want to grab some of those can’t-only-have-one Sweet & Spicy Nuts from the bar menu while the ballad unfolds?
It’s Own Writing of a Novel on a Napkin
This historic Hudson Street bar in New York has been signaled as a gathering place for writers since the 1950s. Not far from his apartment at the time, Jack Kerouac was a regular at White Horse Tavern. Known for his love affair with its smooth complexities, Jack Kerouac spoke of Whiskey, his go-to, as “sunlight held together by water.”
No matter which side of the table you sit, king of the Beats, Jack Kerouac, was a luminary, writing some of the mid-twentieth century’s most poignant takes on life and love, and everything in between. Another Beat writer who knows these halls intimately is Allen Ginsberg.
The one and only Dylan Thomas frequented White Horse Tavern, too, lured in by this watering hole’s “haunt.” This tavern is also said to be the place where Thomas drank his last Whiskey in November 1953. Other literary giants who have popped in include James Baldwin, Hunter S. Thompson, E.E. Cummings, Anais Nin, and well, the list really does go on.
Sing Us a Song
The times are definitely a-changing, Dylan, but this tavern’s immutable musical royalty is as present as ever. Captivating the world today still – singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. As a young man, he would walk through Greenwich Village in the footsteps of his favorite poet, Dylan Thomas, often playing his acoustic guitar at the same bar Thomas spent many a night. Never without his ultimate neat pour – Bourbon.
From jazz to rock, White Horse Tavern has felt the sounds of a symphony of musical greats for decades. At the bottom of the proverbial glass at this landmark lay the rhythmic sentiments of names like The Clancy Brothers, Jim Morrison, Richard Farina, as well as Mary Travers (from Peter, Paul and Mary) – the sounds don’t even stop there.
Can’t help but think that they probably relished in the classic notes of Mezcal, Scotch, or even a Martini during happy hours (these days, it’s Mondays to Thursdays from 4–6 pm and Fridays, 2–6 pm).
A Societal Crossroads
So it seems that White Horse Tavern not only bears witness to the continuous making of a rich, diverse tapestry of cultural prominence, but that it’s also fundamentally interwoven into its very essence.
Bars are catalysts of connection, culture, and community. Their role as an ever-so-relevant intersection of society hasn’t gone unnoticed, even by the famous. It’s almost as though taverns have always existed, since the dawn of society, outside of time. And famous faces are patrons who seek that spirit too, much like everyone else. Their drink of choice is also our go-to, and vice versa. You can’t beat the universality of a good old Draught and the classic Chicken Wings that so effortlessly go with it.
Salute to the Best of Them!
That includes you, a familiar face with just as many stories to tell. Do you hear the clink of a jolly good cheers at the bar? It’s calling. This dive looks forward to also hosting you and yours, throughout the year, but also especially during this holiday season. It’s more than one taste of history, famous and non, at the second oldest bar in New York City; ultimately a timeless intersection.
Join us and say: “I’ll have what Thomas or Dylan had.” And if you have your own memorable story of that one time you ran into a famous name at White Horse Tavern, share it with us on Instagram or Facebook.