Would you like to sling back shots of tequila in between reads from a riveting Jane Austen novel, or maul over details of your own salacious novel sipping a cold glass of Chardonnay? If so, then you are one of the few remaining literary geniuses of our time [with a penchant for alcohol] and should nurture and refine this knack you have for books by hobnobbing with fellow word smiths . The only places where you are likely to have life-altering experiences is the literary bars in New York.
The first place you should definitely have a look into is a renowned bar called Pete’s Tavern which dates back to 1964 and has remained open for business ever since. With it’s pressed tin, carved wood, first time New York visitors will not be disappointed as it has that classic dark aura. Pete’s has the bragging rights of being made famous by American author O. Henry, not to mention that this bar featured in one of his short stories then as it was the bar was then called Healy’s. This bar is a watering hole for NYU students and post-theatre couples alike which is not surprising considering its famed mammoth burgers. It is a historical landmark and the longest operating bar and restaurant in New York.
The second place which is simply sine qua non to visit on your tour around the big apple is guaranteed to sharpen your literary mind is Blue Bar. Also known as Algonquin, this place is celebrated for being the venue where the ‘Vicious Circle’ rallied in the 1920’s. This famed group consisted of renowned journalists, actors and local writers who styled themselves as the ‘Algonquin Round Table’. Those who frequented the bar include: Robert Benchley, George S. Kauffman, Dorothy Parker, Heywood Broun and Harold Ross who was the New Yorker magazine founder. In modern day New York it is nestled in circa-1933 and if you listen carefully you can still hear the mellifluous laughter reverberating from the walls from the ‘Vicious Circle’.
Third place that you definitely must consider is the White Horse Tavern. This bar boasts of an opulent bohemian past which dates back 100 years. It is in this bar that the grievous incident happened which brought to an end the life of accomplished poet and writer, Dylan Thomas who guzzled his last drink here and staggered off in the morning to his death. Which is why it’s no surprise that this place is ever teeming with college who seek some relief from their studies with beer, spirits, burgers and fried food.
The fourth literary bar and restaurant, The Half King is bound to tickle your fancy as it is owned by writers Scott Anderson, Sebastian Junger as well as director and producer Nanette Burstein. With it’s décor being a cross between British pub and American grub, and the best selection of beer on tap for miles, it comes as no surprise that it’s packed to capacity every night with an equal dose of testosterone and oestrogen. Put your reading glasses on, because Mondays nights are devoted to intimate readings by today’s leading writers. This Chelsea pub also caters to tranquil readers with it’s muted back gardens where you can revel in a delectable shepherd’s pie.
So if you want to experience literature at it’s best, visit literary bars in New York, travel to New York.