On Wednesday, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation will be hosting a walking tour on Dylan Thomas that will culminate in a visit to the White Horse Tavern on Hudson Street. The tavern is one of Thomas’s favorite haunts and the last place he drank at before he died. It is even rumored that his ghost remains a patron at the establishment even to this day. Yet, Thomas isn’t the only literati who “haunted” the White Horse. Below is a list of some other well-known Village writers and notable figures that also frequented the establishment for the occasional cold one.
Poets and Writers
In addition to Thomas, the White Horse was apparently a popular hangout for poets and writers, including James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Anais Nin, and James Laughlin, the founder of the publishing house New Directions. It also attracted the Beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. Kerouac apparently was bounced from the White Horse more than a couple times, leading someone to scrawl on the bathroom wall: “JACK GO HOME!”
The White Horse was also a hangout for some well-known musicians, including Bob Dylan, Mary Travers (of Peter, Paul and Mary), and Jim Morrison of The Doors. The Clancy Brothers also frequented the establishments and even performed there.
Activists and Other Notables
Given its location on Hudson Street, it would have been more notable if Jane Jacobs did NOT go to the White Horse. The late Village activist can be counted as one of the establishment’s many notable patrons. In addition to Jacobs, the White Horse was also a gathering-place for labor members and organizers and socialists. The Catholic Workers hung out at the tavern, and the idea for the Village Voice was born around one of their tables. In fact, the Voice’s original offices were within blocks of the White Horse and much of the content was discussed there by the editors.