8. The historic West End Bar is now a board game cafe

Riverside Park

The West End Bar was a favorite among Columbia students and Morningside Heights residents, located along Broadway near 114th Street. Established in 1911, the bar boasted that it was “Where Columbia Had Its First Beer.” It also notably hosted influential authors of the Beat Generation during their formative days. It was here that Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs and another man named Lucien Carr would often drink into the night. It was also here, however, where Carr would commit one of the area’s most shocking murders. After drinking at the West End Bar, Carr took a stroll through Riverside Park with David Kammerer, who made an unwanted move on Carr in the park. This sparked a fight, and Carr eventually used his Boy Scout knife to stab Kammerer twice, later killing him.

The bar was also a significant meeting place for Students for a Democratic Society, led by Mark Rudd, which led the 1968 Columbia protests. The bar featured a basement for live jazz, which pulled in some big names, and the bar was renovated in the 1970s to give it a Victorian-era feel. Yet the West End as Columbians knew it was sold in 2006 and temporarily replaced by a Cuban restaurant, then most recently by a board game cafe called Hex & Co. As Uptown’s only board game cafe, Hex & Co. offers over 1,000 board games and hosts one of the largest Dungeons and Dragons servers in the world.