July 26, 2011

White Horse Tavern - New York City, NY

After our meal at the Spotted Pig, we walked up the block to have drinks at the White Horse Tavern. This was actually my second visit there. When I was in college and went with friends to New York City, we went to White Horse Tavern specifically to have a drink because of its association with Dylan Thomas.

There is a story that Dylan Thomas, the poet most famous for his line "Do not go gentle into that good night" and his ability to consume vast quantities of alcohol, supposedly went to the White Horse Tavern the night of his death. As was his style, he drank heavily through the night and uttered his famous last words, "I've had 18 straight whiskeys...I think that's the record" before slipping into a coma. This is mostly a legend, there were numerous rumors about what killed Dylan Thomas but ultimately it was ruled to be brain swelling from pneumonia (a lot less glamorous than death by 18 whiskeys).

Of course, Dylan Thomas is not the only famous person to drink at the White Horse Tavern. Over the years, the White Horse has become the watering hole for some of Americas most famous musicians and writers. The other famous Dylan - Bob Dylan - was also a patron along with Jim Morrison and Hunter S. Thompson. One of my other favorite stories about the White Horse Tavern is about Jack Kerouac. When Kerouac was living in the West Village, he frequently visited the White Horse. He was also frequently kicked out of the White Horse. Because he was consistently removed from the premises, someone scrawled on the wall of the bar, "Jack Go Home!" (Fun Fact: The golden years of artists drinking at White Horse are memorialized in Gene Raskins' song "Those Were the Days." The opening line, "Once upon a time there was a tavern" refers to the White Horse.)

So on the night before the wedding, the bride and groom were joined by friends to imbibe vast quantities of alcohol in the old stomping ground of this country's artistic elite. And imbibe we did. The patrons were incredibly friendly (although there was one table of particularly loud yuppies who had apparently decided they were entitled to break every rule of drinking etiquette). And the bar staff was amazing. One extremely friendly bartender gave me a couple free drinks when I told him I had come all the way from Kansas.

I cannot say enough how much I love the White Horse Tavern. It is part of American history and our artistic culture, but it also continues to be one of the greatest places to grab a drink in the West Village.


1 comment:

  1. Nice.....i really like your way how spending you life with passion