Where do all the artists get their booze on today? Cedar Tavern was a booze-fueled Abstract Expressionist think tank. The bar, which had its third location at 24 University Place, was frequented by all the New York School-ers- Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline and beat writers like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. The creative and volatile crowd would drink themselves into stupors most nights, trading art criticisms, and acting as a home base for many artists.
Naturally, big boozer Pollock was banned for kicking in the bathroom door, and Kerouac for peeing in a sink. The Ab Ex artists were drawn to the Cedar simply by proximity- it was the closest bar to go to after Robert Motherwell’s weekly salons in his Greenwich Village apartment. The other draw was, being that University Place was pretty seedy in the 1950s, the bar was not only cheap, but didn’t attract tourists or the business crowd.
The Cedar Tavern was their hang out during the 1950s until the building was sold in 1963. It re-opened down the block, but the Ab Ex scene was dying out, and so it never became the arty hang out it once was. The original Cedar Tavern opened in 1866 on Cedar Street.
What: Cedar Tavern
Who: Hang out of Abstract Expressionists
Where: 24 University Place