7 Must-Visit Literary Bars for the Serious Writer

Text and graphic courtesy of Assignmentmasters

Need one last break before gathering with the family tomorrow? Perhaps a place with serious writer vibe (yes, mom, I am still working on that novel about gay vampires)?

Do what we did and go explore some of the favorite watering holes of the most famous writers of all time. At Assignmentmasters, we find that as a team of professional writers, there is nothing more inspiring than sitting in possibly the same exact spot where Hemingway parked his derrière (and yes, his book 3 Short Stories and 10 Poems was self-published!).

You can find descriptions of each location below, followed by an infographic with further details.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday, IndieReaders!  See you back here next Monday and remember, when you’re ready to publish your vampire book (or your memoir, etc), we at IndieReader Author Services are here to help!

White Horse Tavern, New York City

Imagine yourself in Manhattan circa 1952, enjoying a pint in what seems like a no-name sailor bar a stone’s throw away from the Hudson River, and in strolls Dylan Thomas arm-in-arm with Rudven Todd. It is the first time for Thomas to come in, but it quickly became his favorite haunt until his death 18 months later. From that time on, “the Horse” was where writers were wont to gather. According to reports, it has remained much the same as it was during Thomas’s time. It is certainly worth a visit for anyone with literary aspirations, if only as a pilgrimage.

Cerveceria Alemana, Madrid

Did you know that Ernest Hemingway started out as a self-published author? He paid for 300 copies of 3 Short Stories and 10 Poems in 1923, one of which “Up in Michigan” was considered too racy for respectable publishing house. He didn’t write any of them in his favorite beer joint in Madrid, but he may have for the first third of To Have and Have Not. For a little Old Man and the Sea vibe, you should check it out.

Old Town Bar and Restaurant, New York

If you want to go to a bar where you can still have an intelligent conversation, The Old Town Bar is the place to be. At least, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Frank McCourt thought so, saying it was “A place where you can still talk.” If that isn’t enough to convince you to pay it a visit, the sense of history should. The 124-year old bar is so distinctive it had a cameo on the movies The Devil’s Own and State of Grace.

The Eagle and Child, Oxford

Most establishments in London are old, but The Eagle and Child is old and has a few stories to tell. It was the haunt of C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien when they were fellow professors at the university, and members of the Inklings, which met regularly in a private room there. The frequent discussions may have inspired the authors’ masterpieces of fantasy fiction, but it was more probably the beer. At any rate, it is worth a visit just to get a glimpse of where the “Rabbit Room” used to be.

El Floridita, Havana

Some people say that the mojito from El Floridita was Hemingway’s favorite drink, but historians say this isn’t so. True or not, he did spend a lot of time in this bar when he was in Cuba. It still serves a mean daiquiri (and yes, mojito) today, although a bit overpriced as cocktails go. We doubt if this was so during Hemingway’s time, but in our book, the experience was worth every peso.

Les Deux Magots, Paris

Hand it to the French to make “Two Fat Statues” sound elegant, but that is what Les Deux Magots really mean. Notwithstanding the name, the place became famous because famous writers and artists like to go there. Sartre, Joyce, Brecht, Camus, Picasso, and of course Hemingway were wont to hang out at one time or the other. It is now a popular tourist spot, so if you can, get there early so you can have a debate about being and nothingness in true artistic style. Who knows? You might win the Deux Magots prize if you happen to be French.

Literary Café, Saint Petersburg

If you doubt you’re in the right place, look up. The sign (Literaturnoe Kafe) says it all, and it earned it, too. This café was where Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, Saltykov-Schedrin, and Chernyshevsky (presumably) took turns paying for the vodka shots while arguing about political ideals (in Russian, of course). Pushkin is still there, albeit as a waxwork. If you want to breathe in a little of that Russian fervor and take a selfie while pretending to be talking to Pushkin, make a reservation, because this place is always packed.

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