A long-gone tavern for poets and writers

From its earliest days, New York has never lacked for places to drink. One of the city’s most famous bars was the Shakespeare Tavern, at the corner of Nassau and Fulton Streets.

In the early 19th century, the Shakespeare—”distinguished for the superior character of its refreshments” according to one source—hit its stride as a gathering place for poets, writers, and actors . . . as well as the politicians, merchants, and wannabes who like to hang around them.

These would be all men of course; no woman would venture into a tavern then, and if she tried, she’d be barred at the door.

“The building was erected many year before the Revolution, but in 1822 a modern extension on Fulton Street, three stories high, was added . . . it soon became and long continued a great resort for the wits of the day,” states The Memorial History of the City of New-York, published in 1893.

“The ‘Shakespeare Tavern,’ in fact, was to New-York what the ‘Mermaid’ was to London in the days of Shakespeare.”  

[Photo: New York Public Library digital collection]

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3 Responses to “A long-gone tavern for poets and writers”

  1. Alan Hirschfeld Says:

    Apparently, New York’s Seventh Regiment, whose home is the Park Avenue Armory, was founded at the Shakespeare Tavern on August 25, 1824

  2. Why Gotham stuck as New York’s nickname | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] a young writer who ran with a pack of literary-minded pals, frequenting writerly haunts like the Shakespeare Tavern and Park […]

  3. Corner Saloons and Cork Ceilings: 14 Bars And Taverns of 19th-Century NYC » Food & Wine+ Says:

    […] Ephemeral New York has the backstory on the Shakespeare Tavern: […]

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