I like to play with the image of the drunken writer, on this blog. Maybe you’ve noticed. Although I don’t think I’ve ever, in reality, mixed a single written word of mine with a single drop of alcohol, there’s no doubt that the notion of the tortured genius who must imbibe generously to get in touch with his liquid muse, is kind of romantic – à la Hemingway, Thompson or Bukowski.
I was recently thinking about KGB, a bar in New York’s East Village that’s been around forever, which I used to frequent quite often back in my wilder days. Full of dark charisma, it was the kind of place where you could, at the right time of day, be inspired to put down a few clever words on paper or even read a book. With KGB fresh on my mind, I clicked on this article called, A Critic’s Tour of Literary Manhattan . Lo and behold, up pops KGB as one of the places mentioned. I love synchronicities, comrade. Especially since the writer nails the vibe completely: a place “where one half expects to see Mata Hari drinking shots of Stoli.”
The rest of the piece lists a bunch of great places, many of which I’ve had the pleasure to visit on more than one occasion, including Kettle of Fish, the White Horse Tavern (where Dylan Thomas – one of my faves – drank himself to death,) the Nuyorican Poet’s Café and, of course, the fabulous Algonquin Hotel, famous for its association with Dorothy Parker. Remind me to tell you about the time, Amalia Rodrigues, one of the greatest divas the planet has ever seen, actually yelled at me in its lobby (I was writing a documentary about her, at the time.)
That’s the thing about literary haunts. There’s something in the air. And when the booze starts pouring down from the heavens, hang on to your drink (and have your pen ready) ‘cause you’re about to get fodder for a great story or twelve.