For some writers, drinking alcohol would be counterproductive to the creative process. For many of the most distinguished authors in literary history, however, having a pint of beer went hand-in-hand with penning books, short stories, and poems, and that meant frequenting a local watering hole. Some of the best literary work ever produced was written in a rather unlikely setting: the pub. For centuries, authors have settled into their favorite booth or barstool, thrown back a beer (or twelve), philosophized with their contemporaries, and conceived literary masterpieces. These are the literary pubs around the world where you can drink like your favorite authors.
The Eagle and Child, Oxford
The Eagle and Child [is] one of the world’s most storied literary hubs, in one of the world’s most storied literary cities. The meeting place of the Inklings, a group of writers that included J.R.R. Tolkein (author of The Lord of the Rings) and C.S. Lewis (author of The Chronicles of Narnia), The Eagle and Child has been a staple of Oxford’s literary culture for decades. In the Rabbit Room, where the group frequently gathered, you’ll even find pictures of the various members, and you can almost imagine them sitting exactly where you are, discussing and critiquing each other’s writing.
White Horse Tavern, New York City
Jack Kerouac may be known for traveling west, but it all started in New York City, where Kerouac – along with many others – conceived their greatest works. Opening in 1880, the White Horse Tavern in Greenwich Village became popular with mid-century literary figures like Kerouac, James Baldwin, Anais Nin, Norman Mailer, Frank O’Hara, and Allen Ginsberg. There’s even a popular legend that Kerouac spent so much time here that someone wrote: “JACK GO HOME” on the bathroom wall. Welsh poet Dylan Thomas was similarly drawn to the place and is even said to have had his last drink here. After finishing 18 shots, Thomas collapsed outside the bar and later died at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Now, many claim to see Thomas’ ghost sitting at in a corner of the tavern.
George Inn, London
It’s not often that a pub is owned by the British National Trust, but with London’s George Inn, it’s easy to see why. The only galleried coaching inn (inns that provided stabling for horses) left in London that’s open to the public, George Inn was once a favorite haunt of William Shakespeare in the 16th and 17th centuries, and Charles Dickens in the 18th century. It’s even mentioned in Dickens’ novel Little Dorrit. Established in the medieval period, it was originally known as the George and Dragon. It’s divided into several bars, which were formerly used as waiting rooms for coach passengers, coffee rooms, and bedrooms.