Cedar Tavern

“The Cedar Tavern (or Cedar Street Tavern) was a bar and restaurant at the eastern edge of Greenwich Village, New York City. In its heyday, known as a gathering place for avant garde writers and artists, it was located at 24 University Place, near 8th Street. It was famous in its day as a hangout of many prominent Abstract Expressionist painters and Beat writers and poets. It closed in April 1963 and reopened three blocks north in 1964, at 82 University Place, between 11th and 12th Streets. The Cedar Tavern was opened in 1866 on Cedar Street, near Zuccotti Park. In 1933 it moved north to 55 West Eighth Street. In 1945 it moved east to 24 University Place. In 1955, the Cedar Tavern was purchased by Sam Diliberto, a butcher, and his brother in law, John Bodnar, a window washer, from Joe Provenzano. Robert Motherwell had a studio nearby in the early 1950s, and he held a weekly salon for artists there. The Cedar was the closest place for them to have a drink afterwards. Habitués liked it for its cheap drinks and lack of tourists or middle-class squares. University Place in those days was downmarket because of the several welfare and single-room occupancy hotels in the area. Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Michael Goldberg, Landes Lewitin, Aristodimos Kaldis, Phillip Guston, Knute Stiles, Ted Joans, James Brooks, Charles Cajori, Mercedes Matter, Howard Kanovitz, Al Leslie and others of the New York School all patronized the bar in the 1950s when many lived in or near Greenwich Village. Historians consider it an important incubator of the Abstract Expressionist movement. It was also popular with writers Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Frank O’Hara, George Plimpton, Jean Stein, Harold ‘Doc’ Humes, Alex Trocchi, and LeRoi Jones. Pollock was eventually banned from the establishment for tearing the bathroom door off its hinges and hurling it across the room at Franz Kline, as was Kerouac, who allegedly urinated in an ashtray. Sam and John looked to the East Village around St. Mark’s Pl. to reopen after the building was sold and demolished in 1963. After a year they bought the building at 82 University Place, which had been occupied by an antique store, and built the new bar in a more upscale pub style. By this time Pollock and Kline were gone, de Kooning had moved to East Hampton, and the scene gradually dissipated. …”
Nostalgia (or Not) for The Cedar Tavern
NY Times: Bye-Bye Bohemia
The History of the East Village’s Cedar Tavern
WNYC – Audio Download: Downtown at The Cedar Tavern (Audio)

Joel Oppenheimer when the Cedar Tavern closed, NYC, March 30, 1963

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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