White Horse Tavern

A dark bar on the corner of Hudson and West 11th Street, White Horse was established in 1880, and first gained popularity was a sailors’ bar, being near the Hudson River. Later it became notorious as a writers’ hangout; most infamously, Dylan Thomas drank there a few nights before his ignominious death.

Now White Horse is both unconcerned with its history and unable to forget it. There are no plaques or informational signs, and you get the impression that asking the employees for stories would be frowned upon. On the other hand, an entire wall in a back room is covered with a photograph of Dylan Thomas sitting at the bar. An “Established 1880” sign is hidden away in a window. And, frankly, there’s not much besides its historicity to recommend it as a destination.

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White Horse Tavern on a Thursday evening

The Tavern is divided into three rooms: a front bar and two back dining rooms. (There’s also outdoor seating when the weather is cooperative.) My boyfriend, whom I dragged along on this outing, and I sat in the front bar, though I wandered a bit through the other rooms — which were nearly empty on a Thursday evening.

It’s a standard bar — though its cash-only prices are not as high as you might expect given the location and the gimmick. It serves what appears to be standard food — we didn’t sample it, having opted for Mexican happy hour down the street. I did enjoy the kitschy white horse collection, but otherwise the decor is nothing to write home about. It’s just okay.

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The White Horse Tavern’s front bar
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White horses in a side window

Ellen


Location: 567 Hudson Street, at W 11th Street
Nearest Subway: 1 to Christopher St – Sheridan Sq
Cost: Free to enter. $6-12 for drinks, $8-12 for entrées.
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1 thought on “White Horse Tavern”

  1. The only other famous gynecologist I know is the one after whom the pap smear is named, and I had to look up his full name.

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