Davy Byrne's pub and Auerbachs Keller--more please
March 24, 2013 3:02 PM   Subscribe

I'm in Dublin and I can drink Guinness in Davy Byrne's pub, which is mentioned in Ulysses. In Leipzig there's Auerbachs Keller, mentioned in Faust. What are some more real pubs, restaurants or the like that are mentioned in literature?

I've been in Davy Byrne's, and hope to go to Auerbachs tomorrow night. What other drinking holes with literary resonance are ther?
posted by Logophiliac to Grab Bag (28 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
There's the Algonquin Hotel.
posted by HuronBob at 3:10 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Restaurants in novels guide.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:14 PM on March 24, 2013

Also, the murder that resulted in the book/movie "Anatomy of a Murder" took place in the Lumberjack Tavern in Big Bay, Michigan. The bullet hole is still in the wall behind the bar, I believe. Worth the trip!
posted by HuronBob at 3:15 PM on March 24, 2013

The Moon Under Water.
posted by Jehan at 3:24 PM on March 24, 2013

Are you asking about bars in Dublin or Europe or the Whole Wide World?

Sacher's in Vienna is mentioned (and ridiculed) in Wittgenstein's Nephew. While you're there, you should check out the American Bar (designed by Adolf Loos--most beautiful bar in the world I reckon). I'm unaware of any mentions of the American Bar in literature but if I wrote a book I'd certainly have a few scenes take place there.
posted by anewnadir at 3:24 PM on March 24, 2013

Jehan, I'm afraid The Moon Under Water didn't exist at the time Orwell wrote about it. It did inspire Wetherspoons to open several pubs of that name, of course.
posted by ambrosen at 3:29 PM on March 24, 2013

Rules is the oldest restaurant in London, established in 1798. Graham Greene and John Betjeman were both regulars - it appears in several Graham Greene novels apparently - The End of the Affair is the only one I know of but there are supposed to be others - and they have a list of writers on their site of which my favourite is Clement Freud

"This was my empire. "Beef on tables 30 and 34," said the waitress. "Coming, ma'am," said I, pushing the great silver vehicle towards its next port of call, raising the lid to display the wares"

It's still there.
posted by tardigrade at 3:30 PM on March 24, 2013

On the Orwell tip...I only found out recently that the Newman Arms in London (of Pie Room fame!) was the model for the pubs in both 1984 and Keep the Aspidistra Flying. It might not quite be the Moon Under Water but it's very good.
posted by tardigrade at 3:37 PM on March 24, 2013

This is a list of (London) Dickens pubs, although only The George and Vulture (Pickwick) and George Inn (Little Dorritt) are actually mentioned in novels.
posted by ambrosen at 3:43 PM on March 24, 2013

Can you still have Breakfast at Tiffany('s)?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 3:44 PM on March 24, 2013

Jehan, I'm afraid The Moon Under Water didn't exist at the time Orwell wrote about it. It did inspire Wetherspoons to open several pubs of that name, of course.
Oh yes, I know. But it is still mentioned in literature...just the wrong way round!
posted by Jehan at 3:50 PM on March 24, 2013

Browns Hotel in St James Picadilly is mentioned in several Evelyn Waugh novels.
Game Pie was often served " full of mysterious beaks and claws"

My grandmother worked there as a chambermaid.
posted by jan murray at 3:54 PM on March 24, 2013

The Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees in Stresa on lake Maggiore is the setting for part of Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. I was there a few years ago and it had a great 1900s atmosphere.
posted by Azara at 3:57 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might try the Pubs mentioned in many of Ian Rankin's Rebus mysteries. Rankin is one of the most popular fiction writers in Europe and is practically a civic treasure in Edinburgh which is the setting for his stories.
posted by rmhsinc at 4:02 PM on March 24, 2013

The Wayside Inn inspired a book of poems by Longfellow. It is still in operation.
posted by Wordwoman at 4:03 PM on March 24, 2013

Damn double. But you're reading a book set in Venice 9 times out of ten Caffe Florian is going to be mentioned, it is still there.
posted by The Whelk at 4:32 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Hawes Inn in South Queensferry is mentioned in Kidnapped by RL Stevenson. As a bonus you get to have a beer with a view of the Forth bridge, one of the modern wonders of the world.
posted by Jakey at 5:21 PM on March 24, 2013

Delmonico's, like the Argo, is not quite the same institution as it was, but I feel like it deserves some respect for continually re-opening in the same place. (From Life With Father, among many other mentions.)

The Oak Room (Eloise) is no longer part of the Plaza as such, but I think it counts. (Gotta wonder, if they can't spell prix fixe.)

Harry's Bar (Brideshead Revisited and surely others) is the same place, and I can recommend the excellent food and Prosecco, too, at very reasonable prices for Venice. I had arranged to meet a friend there when we were both arriving from different cities. She was late, so I just kept ordering...alongside a priest at the next table. What he's having!

I am sure the major New Orleans restaurants are on the record, along with the White Horse Tavern and P.J. Clarke's, but I can't think of good mentions right now.

Googling "does the mermaid tavern still exist" was not so helpful.
posted by skbw at 5:26 PM on March 24, 2013

I also can't imagine that the Augustinerkeller isn't well-attested (another tourist place that is darn tasty), but I don't know enough literature in German to say where.
posted by skbw at 5:34 PM on March 24, 2013

John's Grill in San Francisco appeared in Dashiel Hammet's "The Maltese Falcon." Hammet was a regular back in the day.
posted by hwickline at 6:45 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Can you still have Breakfast at Tiffany('s)?

You never could.

In the book (and movie), "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is a reference to the fact that Holly Golightly drinks coffee as she window shops her way home along Fifth Avenue in the wee hours of the morning.

Then again, you can do that, in a manner of speaking. Tiffany's (and all the other jewelry shops in midtown) take down the jewels in their window displays overnight, but you're definitely welcome to grab coffee and a bagel and stroll Fifth Avenue at dawn. It's actually a perfectly lovely way to spend an early weekend morning in Manhattan.

I came in here to mention Caffe Florian, which was the center of expat Venice and as such is mentioned a lot in any anglophone literature that takes place there in the 19th century. It's a tourist trap now, but it's there.

There are lots of historic restaurants and bars in New Orleans, but I can't think of any mentioned in iconic literature, aside from maybe some of Poppy Z. Brite's novels (married to a chef, wrote a series of mysteries that take place in the New Orleans restaurant scene). It's up to you whether Poppy Z. Brite counts as "literary resonance".

Other New York ideas:

Doesn't the Cedar Tavern show up in one of the more obscure Kurt Vonnegut novels? Bluebeard, I think? That said, Cedar's closed years ago.

O. Henry wrote in Pete's Tavern on Irving Place near Gramercy Park. I don't know that he ever wrote ABOUT it, though.

If Girls is now considered "literature", Cafe Grumpy in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
posted by Sara C. at 8:40 PM on March 24, 2013

Leopold Cafe is sort of the Mumbai equivalent to Caffe Florian. It was once the center of expat life in Mumbai, such as it is, and if Gregory David Roberts is to be believed, also a center for underworld activities.

It's mentioned a lot in Roberts' book Shantaram (the quintessential Mumbai-set novel by a Western author). I ate there in early 2008 -- before it was targeted in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks -- and my opinion is that it's a mediocre tourist trap. Again, not unlike Venice's Caffe Florian.
posted by Sara C. at 8:46 PM on March 24, 2013

Thanks everyone. I've been to (and had forgotten about) Cafe Florian, and yes it's actually not great (and expensive) although the setting is unbeatable. Lots of possibilities here.
posted by Logophiliac at 10:57 PM on March 24, 2013

Sorry for the double post, and for answering my own question, but checking out skbw's reference to the Augustinerkeller reminded me of Cafe Mozart just around the corner. Graham Greene is supposed to have written a lot of The Third Man in there, although i don't know whether the book mentions it. Good food, reasonable prices for Vienna.
posted by Logophiliac at 11:05 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've been to Cafe Iruna in Pamplona (The Sun Also Rises).
posted by maca at 12:08 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just following up--I did go to Auerbachs Keller and thoroughly enjoyed it. Great food, very few obvious tourists. Suggestions: it's packed pretty tight so not the place for intimate dining; bring money; bring an appetite. Food is German but kind of modernised.
posted by Logophiliac at 12:36 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

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