Remembering the White Horse Tavern

Welcome to my New York City.

That is to say, a look back at my New York City, pre-COVID-19.

Back then, one of my “go-to” places was the White Horse Tavern on Hudson Street in Manhattan at least once a week.


A good friend of mine had been contracted to touch up the façade, outdoor dining area, and the apartments above the old bar. It would be a long-time contract, so it was an ideal place to have lunch and visit with him, and the rest of the friendly bar flies gathered there in the early afternoon.

How I Discovered the White Horse Tavern

From 2016 through 2019, it was my pleasure to enjoy the ambiance and bar life of one of the finest dive bars in New York City.

In the early afternoon, I would walk the two and a half miles from Brooklyn, across the Manhattan Bridge, up Elizabeth Street to Bleecker Street, across town to Hudson Street, and then up to the White Horse Tavern.

In the Spring and Autumn, it was a refreshing experience. It was an effort well worth the beer, food, and conversation at the trek’s end in the summer and winter.

Come along with me and visit “My White Horse Tavern”.

Fond Memories of Simple Bar Food

The Basic Cheeseburger

Hot Dog

Chili Dog

Ham & Cheese Sandwich

Sandwich & Chili

Soup & Sandwich

Grilled Ham & Cheese w Fries

Iceberg Wedge Salad

The History of The White Horse Tavern

The White Horse Tavern, a historic, no-fuss dive located at 567 Hudson Street in Greenwich Village, opened in 1880. The White Horse was initially opened as a longshoreman’s bar.

Back in the late 19th century, European immigrants flocked to that part of the Village. Italian immigrants settled into more well-to-do pockets of Greenwich Village back then. Still, the White Horse Tavern area—a stone’s throw from the city’s first elevated train line—was predominantly Irish.

A Hotbed of Organizers and Artists

In the 1930s and 1940s, the White Horse was a gathering place for labor members, organizers, and socialists. The Catholic Workers hung out here, and the idea for the Village Voice was discussed here.

Legend has it that the Village Voice (RIP) idea was born over drinks at the bar, known colloquially as “The Horse.”

The bar cemented its reputation as a bohemian hangout by the fifties, though, when literary figures were known to drink there. William Styron and Norman Mailer frequented the bar, partially because New Directions publisher James Laughlin had a place nearby. Authors would often stay there when they were in town. And most famously, the White Horse is where Welsh poet Dylan Thomas swilled his final drinks before his death; his portrait still hangs by his usual seat.

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation notes that Jack Kerouac was ejected from the bar so often that someone took it upon themselves to carve “JACK GO HOME!” on a bathroom stall.

Gone but not Forgotten.

The bar received a historic landmark designation in 1969, which has helped keep it somewhat intact. In 1920 the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation submitted a request to the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, arguing that the bar’s interior should be a landmark as well. In any case, whatever happens, The White Horse as we knew it is no more.

The Old Growler Remembers the White Horse

The Old Growler remembers The White Horse Tavern in NYC. Find out all about this historic tavern.

Follow-Up Note:

FYI Update 19 September 2022 –

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Ronnie Simpson
Ronnie Simpson
3 years ago

I wonder if NYC will ever get back to what it once was. I’m a former Long Islander who moved to Florida in 2019. I guess we always have our memories of pre 2020 NYC.

Ronnie Simpson
Ronnie Simpson
3 years ago

Hi Peter. Yes, I’ve subscribed to your YouTube channel. As far as requests I was thinking maybe you could do reviews of some macro beers. Whichever ones.

First, let me introduce myself. I am Peter LaFrance, author of Beer Basics and Cooking & Eating With Beer, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. – 1995). I have also been published in American Brewer, All About Beer, and Ale Street News.

I have been writing about the brewing industry since 1984. Credits include contributing editor for Restaurant Management and Top Shelf magazines. I have also written for Beverage Media, New Brewer, Beverage Dynamics, and All About Beer magazine.

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