The tea and tap room on West Eighth Street

In the 1920 and 1930s, Village streets were lined with eclectic bars and tea houses. One establishment that apparently combined the two was the Jumble Shop at 28 West Eighth Street. 

The sign in this undated postcard says it’s a restaurant and bar. The Jumble Shop is sometimes credited as a speakeasy, it seemed to start out as an antiques shop serving tea and crumpets on the side.


In 1947, French writer and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir visited the Jumble Shop. She wasn’t too impressed. In “America Day by Day” she writes:

“This is my last night in New York for two months. I go down to Greenwich Village with my friends. Near Washington Square they show me a charming cafe, the Jumble Shop, which looks almost European with its red tiled floor and its quiet little tables arrayed along the walls. You can eat and drink there all night.

“During years of exile, French writers and painters tried to resuscitate Les Deux Magots and Le Cafe de Flore here, but they failed; their get-togethers were always too contrived. For one reason or another, New York doesn’t have the right atmosphere for cafe life.”

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4 Responses to “The tea and tap room on West Eighth Street”

  1. CelestialCharms Says:

    Great post, very interesting. I don’t think New York could ever be a cafe society because the natives don’t and/or can’t sit down long enough for that to every happen. New Yorker’s have too much adrenalin to wile away hours enjoying tea or coffee as the world goes by. We are a different breed all together.

  2. AdrianLesher Says:

    The Jumble Shop was also an art gallery. The New York Times wrote about it in 1932. Jewell, Edward Allen, Art in Review: Youthful Explorers in Form and Color Present Deep Problems for Lay Spectators- Art in a Gastronomic Setting, 1932, New York Times (1932, May 7).

  3. AdrianLesher Says:

    A menu from the place shows that it served broiled lobster, shad roe, halibut, veal cutlet and a variety of other items. A history of the Jumble Shop can be found here:

  4. AdrianLesher Says:

    The history, incidentally, shows that an impressive mix of people were patrons the Jumble Shop, including the Lincoln Memorial sculptor Daniel Chester French, gourmand, photographer and railroad historian Lucius Beebe, Thomas Wolfe, Theodore Dreiser, Martha Graham, Lily Pons, and Sherwood Anderson.

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