Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Haunted White Horse Tavern in Greenwich Village

The White Horse Tavern, located at 567 Hudson Street and West 11th Street, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, does not look too eerie, does it?
It is, in fact, a pleasant place to stop and have a quick burger and a brew, but it is also well known as being haunted!

Let's go inside, shall we?

Inside the first room of the tavern there is a large, well stocked bar. There was lots of convivial conversation going on in this crowded room, although it was a little loud, as large screen TVs were blaring a football game.
How could it be that such a raucous place could harbor a ghost?

Even the little white horse memorabilia decorating all the nooks and crannies of the tavern looked so innocuous, almost cheerful.

Now let's walk into the middle room. Ah! This is the spot the ghost haunts!
Here is the favorite little corner table where the poet Dylan Thomas frequently sat during his visits to the tavern when he came to New York City. It was in this spot where, in 1953, he unfortunately drank himself into a stupor. He collapsed outside the tavern and was brought to the Chelsea Hotel, and later died on November 9, at St. Vincent's Hospital, at the young age of 39. There is a legend that his last words were: "I've just had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that's a record." His spirit is said to rotate this favorite corner table, as Thomas liked to do when he was alive.

Do not go gentle into that good night
~ Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

My husband and I sat at the corner table and offered a toast to Dylan, not with whiskey but with Guinness. Were those glowing orbs reflected on the table Dylan's ghost eyes smiling in approval? I'd like to think so!

My post is part of Elizabeth of the The World Examining Works blog's first annual Halloween Party, and for more halloween themed blog posts join us at Theme Thursday.

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Gracie said...

I hope "your" Yankee will reverse the result next time. Good luck!

Tracy said...

Very it! What a great place... And I could go for a glass of Guinness! ;o) Happy Day, Pat ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

Sorry your team lost Pat.

I'd never seen the place where Dylan Thomas collapsed, thanks for sharing. We lived near Laugharne in Wales where he wrote from the boathouse. He also stayed in Aberaeron and New Quay which I shared back in the Summer. I think the places we stay in shape us a little with the younger we are having the most effect. When I dream it is still the landscape of where I grew up.

Catherine said...

Enjoyed your post very much. I like the very old taverns with a rich history.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Love your pumpkin banner Pat and the post about White Horse Tavern. Too bad the Yankees did not rage against the night, right? Maybe next game.

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Now this haunted Tavern is right up my alley! HA! Thanks!

Picket said...

Morning girl....ohhh I don't like haunted places! lol lol I can't even watch scarey movies! lol How are you friend? I bet that little grandbaby has growed leaps and has been so long since I got to visit here in blogland...I sure have missed all my great 'history' lessons you are so good with sharing with us...hope all is well in your world and that you have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

Got your email this a.m..... Not very happy with CC this morning!! We didn't get to watch the game as Hubs had early start today!! Hopefully better game tonight!!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I love that poem by Dylan Thomas, Pat, and it's sad to know that he drank himself to death. For some reason, I wasn't aware of that about him. I don't believe in ghosts... have seen too much hucksterism in our environs with the ghost tours. Someone left a note on my door once and asked if I had any ghosts. Well, I sat down and made up the most fanciful tale you've ever heard, AND I was all ready to give it to them. I thought twice about it when Mr. Magpie reminded me that they would all be outside our window screaming every night. ;-)

I'm a Yankees fan, too, so I do think the price of those tickets and a loss is SCARY!



black eyed susans kitchen said...

Wonderful place for a beer and a burger, Pat. That was a perfect poem to reflect the way we are feeling today. Did you sit in the rain to watch the game last night? I fully expect our boys to rally tonight and show the Phillies a little less hospitality and a little more energy. Go Yankees!!!
♥, Susan

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi There, Sorry it has taken me so long to respond to you after your visit to my blog. After being on vacation, I have been WAY far behind on my blog comments.

Please come back to my blog anytime!!!! I am enjoying yours. I was shocked that the Yankees LOST the first game at HOME --to the Phillies. I would never have thought that would happen!!!!

Great pictures from Greenwich Village. I have been there--but MANY years ago.

RNSANE said...

You've added another "must" for my NY trip, if I ever manage to get there. Guiness is one of the only two brews I like ( the other being Newcastle Brown ale. I much prefer wine ( nothing sweet except with dessert ) or stronger stuff!

Thanks for another excellent post.

Jenny said...

Your pumpkin banner is cool. I need to figure out how to do that! And I've been at that Tavern and it is neat. I did not know the history of it, though. And, BTW, what were those glowing orbs on the table? oooooohhhhhh oooooooohhhh oooooooooo

Beverly said...

Pat, I love this. So, so fun.

Ouch! That game last night hurt.

Helen said...

We agonized through every inning as it became very clear the Yankees were not going to win game #1.

I loved re-reading the Dylan Thomas poem ... thank you for posting it.

Junie Moon said...

Cool post and I love your Halloween blog theme photo. What a shame Dylan Thomas drank himself into the grave, but I love the tour of the bar and the story you shared about him. His poem is one of my favorites as it is for many people.

I'm sorry the game results weren't so great for you, but snagging those tickets is awesome.

Elizabeth said...

Fabulous post!
Yes the link is now up at

Will visit again later !

Karen said...

That is some well stocked tavern!!
I'd would have liked to join you for Guinness - my favorite beer.
It tastes even better in Ireland!!!

Brian Miller said...

his eyes in the pic are haunting in and of themselves. spooky tale...i loved it. happy tt!

Shelia said...

Hi Pat! Oh, you've changed your blog header to some spookiness! :) It's cute! Oh, this was an interesting post. I was in Greenwich Village a few years ago and so enjoyed just walking up and down the cute streets. Now that Dylan guy looks pretty scary himself! :)
Be a sweetie,

Jasmine said...

I love Dylan Thomas so much! What a great post.

Leah said...

Great post! I used to pass the Tavern every day on my way to work, but I've never once been inside--I should remedy that!

AngelMay said...

The tavern looks nice and cozy. And I love the Dylan Thomas poem.

Ronda Laveen said...

Thomas seems to have died so young for writing a poem like that. Must have some how known his fate.

I'll bet the price of those four tickies was SCARY. Better luck soon.

Tara said...


Sending this off to my son so he can head downtown! HAHA

Melissa Miller said...

Oooooohhhh...Very cool Pat.

~*~Happy Halloween1~*~ :)

KarenHarveyCox said...

What fun Pat. I loved this story, and the look on his face in that portrait surely tells the fear in his eyes. Yankee tickets Woohoo. I have to sit in disguise over here when my family goes to Fenway to watch Red Sox games. But when the Yankees play here, I cheer. I loved learning about the White Horse Tavern.


Sue said...

Hi Pat...well atleast they won tonight! I can imagine how much those tickets were....daughter tried to get us tickets last time we were up and they were crazy nutz prices....for good seats...I have never heard of this tavern will have to check it out next time....Husband always goes to McSorleys.....I won't even step inside....

The Silver Fox said...

Always enjoy reading about the "original" poetic Dylan.

CatHerder said...

Great post!!!! We gave our tix AWAY the other night :-( hoping to get another set before this is all over with. Love your halloween header..if i am away, just wanted to wish you a happy halloween!!!

Lorrie said...

Another interesting post Pat. You sure do know how to make history fun! I did not know that Dylan Thomas drank himself to death so young and at that very spot. There are so many fascinating stories in NYC history. Have a Happy Halloween. We will be out sailing that day so I don't imagine we'll have any trick-or-treaters!

nanny said...

How interesting! That bar reminds me of the Seven Bells in London, where Jack the Ripper hung out. When I get to NY again, I will definitely try to go there.

Anonymous said...

This is weird...I was thinking earlier in the week that I hoped you had game tickets so you could take photos and thus take us out to the ballgame, too. Don't tell me you were too busy crying in your beer! :)

The Tavern and Dylan Thomas post...oh my goodness...!

JGH said...

Wow- I have passed this place but never been inside. You're very brave to sit at that corner table -the painting is a little disconserting, no?

"Plastic Bag" was playing, creating a perfect atmosphere for this post.

Go Yankees!!!!

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Beautiful location !!Loved the post..Thanks for sharing..Unseen Rajasthan

Tracy @ Comfort and Luxury said...

What a great place. And how fun that it might really be haunted. Though maybe not so fun for the ghost who's stuck there...

Kate Hanley said...

Great post! I don't think I've been by your blog before (thanks for visiting mine). I loved the tour of the White Horse Tavern. But, living in Philly, I have to say I was happy when the Yanks lost but we're tied now. Happy Halloween!

guild-rez said...

Love your pictures and spooooky story..
Happy Halloween,

Bill said...

Hi Pat,
You take your readers to the MOST interesting places! This was fascinating (and sad), and I enjoyed re-reading the poem ... it had been ages.

Hope your weekend goes well.

Butternut Squash said...

Beautiful and Haunting.

Happy Halloween.

Betsy said...

Funny how the middle, haunted part is vacant and the bar/main room is bustling and crowded! ha!

Dylan looks like he just saw a ghost in that painting!

Leslie said...

What a wonderful post. It makes me want to visit the White Horse Tavern and sit at Dylan's table in the corner.

I'm sorry about your tickets to game 1 that ended so badly for the Yankees. It was better received around here in Pennsylvania where I live!

Oliag said...

Happy Halloween Pat!

Love, love, love the pics of your little lion on the side bar:)...and your Halloween Header!

Loved your post...until I got to the end..were you one of those sitting in the rain watching the Yankees loose? Even as a Red Sox fan I feel sorry about that!

Cori G. said...

oh how funny...the orbs on the table. Did he like Guinness beer?

Anonymous said...

Oh my! I don't know how I missed this post. I've never been to the Tavern before. That's why I enjoy your blog posts because you're always taking me some place new, even though I live in the city. ;-)

Yes, I agree. Those are Dylan's ghost eyes. How lucky to have captured it on your camera.

I thought about you during the game. I admire that you went to the game -- in the rain! For the first time, I actually watched a little bit of the game. Watched the next day, too.

I have to say, my only turn off was seeing all the players spitting!!! Ughh!!!! :-(