WHITE HORSE TAVERN
BY: CHRISTI SCOFIELD
24” X 18” Mixed Media on Board
Cocktails & Curiosities Series
On View at Arts & Crafts Beer Parlor
Open since 1880, The White Horse Tavern was popular with longshoreman and the local Irish immigrants. Many of these immigrants worked for the police department and city, so it’s no surprise that during Prohibition, the White Horse Tavern remained open, operated as a bar, and was never raided. It also did not hurt that the Tavern was a favorite of Mayor Jimmy Walker, who lived a few blocks away.
The White Horse Tavern has a long history of famous clientele, most notably the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. For the non-literary crowd, recall the famous words “do not go gentle into that good night.” Besides his poetry, Thomas was famous for his heavy drinking at the White Horse. He used to carouse so loudly that patrons would crowd around him to watch his shenanigans.
In 1953, at the age of 39, Thomas got his drink on at the White Horse for the last time when he partook in one too many whiskeys, fell down drunk and went into a coma. He died a few days later. Many say Dylan’s ghost still visits the White Horse and sits at his favorite corner table by the window in the back room. His ghost is said to rotate the table like Thomas did when he wrote his poetry.
During and after Thomas’ time, the White Horse Tavern became a hangout for writers and actors.
More about this historic watering hole can be found in the Tour #1 Greenwich Village in the Cocktails & Curiosities New York Walking tours App series.