Inside the Minetta Tavern, photo featured on the restaurant's official website
Minetta Tavern interior
Backstory and Context
Frequented by many of the 1950’s "beats,” Minetta became increasingly popular among the literary crowd. In addition to Joe Gould, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Eugene O'Neill, E.E. Cummings, and Dylan Thomas, the pub also became a hotspot for a group who called themselves “The Ravens.” Taking their name from Poe's poem, this group met and published poetry in what became known as The Raven Anthology Journal, which was published from 1933-1940. Gould was perhaps the most controversial member, and purportedly roamed The Village with a sign that read "Joseph Ferdinand Gould, Hot Shot Poet from Poetville, a Refugee from The Ravens. Poets of the World, Unite. You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Brains." Gould boasted that he wrote An Oral History of Our Time, a work that was supposedly completed in the Minetta. It included bits of over 20,000 conversations he overheard. It was a hoax, however. The manuscript does not exist.
Today, the Minetta Tavern is run by Keith
McNally. A portion of his biography as found on the tavern's official
webpage reads, "... born in London and moved to New York City in
1975 where he distinguished himself by being fired from every job he ever
held." After taking over the Minetta, McNally closed the tavern for a
period of 6 months to refurbish the pub back to its historical look. Today, the
tavern retains the original wooden bar that was first installed in 1931,
and it still serves a Northern Italian cuisine characteristic of its first days.
New York City Walking Tour: Explore Literary History in Greenwich Village. fodors.com. March 30, 2012. Accessed February 23, 2017. http://www.fodors.com/news/new-york-city-walking-tour-explore-literary-history-in-greenwich-village-5334.
Kiter, Tammy. Quoth the Raven Poetry Circle. nyhistory.org. April 23, 2014. Accessed February 22, 2017. http://blog.nyhistory.org/tag/minetta-tavern/.