10 Places to Drink Like Your Favorite Writer
Sit in Hemingway’s bar stool, drink Ginsberg’s favorite drink, and stare out at Capote’s favorite Venetian views
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese: London
The Cheshire Cheese pub has been around for a really long time — it’s been serving up pints since The Great Fire of 1666. Its literary history is equally long; Charles Dickens was a frequent visitor and even mentions the pub in A Tale of Two Cities. Over the years, Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Dr. Samuel Johnson are all reported to have been regulars. In the 20th century, W.B. Yeats and Ernest Rhys spearheaded The Rhymers' Club, which met here often.
Inside, the pub is gloomy and dark, befitting its Dickensian image. Spaces are cramped and the tall should be prepared to stoop. It’s not without charm though — in the winter a roaring fire keeps patrons warm. Be sure to check out the subterranean vaults which date back to the 13th century.
Recommended Beverage: In remembrance of hard times, raise a glass of Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Bitter.
Long Bar at Raffles: Singapore
The ritziest and most well-known bar in Singapore, famous for inventing the Singapore Sling, was also a favorite of colonial-era writers from the founding. Rudyard Kipling stayed in the hotel when it was first built, in 1887. He enjoyed the bar but thought the rooms were a dump. It must not have been too bad, though, because the celebrities kept coming: Hermann Hesse, William Golding, and Joseph Conrad all spent time here.
The bar itself is elegant and old-fashioned. Despite the upscale interior, boxes of peanuts top every table — and it’s totally expected to throw the shells on the floor. Somerset Maugham (author of Of Human Bondage) proclaimed that "Raffles stands for all the fables of the exotic east."
Recommended Beverage: Can you go to Raffles and order anything other than a Singapore Sling? (Photo courtesy of Flickr/willposh)
El Floridita: Havana, Cuba
Hemingway has probably given more bars notoriety than any other author — the man loved to both travel and drink. El Floridita, Hemingway’s regular hangout during his time in Cuba, may be the most famous of his haunts. Even when he moved out to the suburbs, Hemingway would still drive into town to drink here. He wasn’t the only fan either: Ezra Pound and Graham Greene were also patrons.
At El Floridita you can literally drink with Hemingway — there is a life-size bronze figure of him at the bar. Be sure to check out the chummy photo of Hemingway and Castro up on the wall.
Recommended Beverage: The daiquiri was supposedly invented in this very bar and Hemingway was said to be a fan.
The Spaniards Inn: London
Looking for a little romance? The Spaniards Inn, in northern London right beside Hampstead Heath Park, was a favorite of the Romantic poets — particularly Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and John Keats. According to Inn legend, Keats actually wrote Ode to a Nightingale in the garden.
The pub itself is probably the oldest on the list — it’s been a well-known haunt since 1585. The peculiar shape of the inn and related guardhouse creates a perpetual traffic jam in the area.
Recommended Beverage: The Inn has one of the best beer gardens in North London, but on a winter’s day nothing beats the house mulled wine.