Professor and New York-native, Delia Cabe, invites readers to take her hand and “follow in the boozy footsteps of legendary authors,” with her newest work, Storied Bars of New York: Where Literary Luminaries Go to Drink. Raised on the Lower East Side, Cabe reflects on a childhood filled with the awareness that she walked many of the same streets and entered many of the same buildings that housed some of the most famous authors. As Cabe grew up, the fascinations with the haunts of the literary legends of the past only increased, so when 21 hit, so did she– hopping bar to bar to check out the hangs of both new and historic literary luminaries in what has now culminated in her new novel.
“From Manhattan to Brooklyn to Queens, New York’s literary community flourishes,” Cabe writes. “After a day wrestling with prose and verse, they leave their writing, perhaps in mid-sentence as Hemingway allegedly did, and head for the bars.”
As our own ode to the writers of the past and literary hubs of the present, here’s a brief preview of 12 of the 34 different locations, drinks and smatterings of the knowledge you can glean about them in Storied Bars. And to learn about more legendary literary hangouts, you can purchase Storied Bars on Amazon here!
1. White Horse Tavern, Greenwich Village/Tribeca
Photo courtesy of Delia Cabe
The White Horse Tavern, located on Hudson Street in Greenwich Village, has deep literary roots. Built in 1880– the same year as the Panama Canal, as Cabe points out– its legacy lives on most strongly as an homage to Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. Thomas, who would eventually succumb to alcoholism in the 1950s, chose the White Horse Tavern as his favored watering hole. Even today, the original poster for his play Under Milk Wood (debuting in New York in April 1953, just months before his death in November) still hangs on the tavern’s walls.
Along with the tavern’s historical lineage, Cabe writes that the physical features of the White Horse makes it a “historical relic,” as well. It still uses its original, solid mahogany bar, has its ornately hand-carved ceilings, and features secret pockets of ink, wood and ceramic white horses strewn throughout.