UPDATE: New York, your prayers have been answered! (And as far as we can tell so far it was not Patricia Clarkson who heard them; read on to see what we mean.) Café Loup is officially reopening its doors tonight. WSWD has reached out to the restaurant for more information. We will update this post again if/ when we have more info.
Many New Yorkers living around the West Village in the 1970s and ’80s considered Café Loup a second home. Artistic greats like Paul Auster, Susan Sontag, Fran Lebowitz, and Christopher Hitchens often occupied the French bistro’s well-worn banquettes, drafting their next pieces while getting their hands on a martini with a side of fries. Even as the neighborhood evolved over the years, Café Loup remained inviting and unpretentious through and through.
Unless acclaimed actress Patricia Clarkson buys Café Loup, it’s officially the end of an era for the city’s literary community. So where should bookish New Yorkers go to fill the void left by the downtown mainstay? We know a few other charming spots around the neighborhood—hopefully they won’t close their doors anytime soon.
Cornelia Street Café
A trio of artists opened this free-spirited coffeehouse on the sleepy Cornelia Street back in 1977. The space has become a beacon of artistic expression since then, hosting weekly poetry slams, informal artists’ salons, and the very first performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. Cornelia Street’s owner, Robin Hirsch, has dealt with his fair share of rent increases over the years, so definitely visit sooner rather than later.
On a MacDougal stretch often overrun by NYU students and sprawling tour groups sits this timeless café splashed in emerald green. Inside the 91-year-old coffeehouse are remnants of the past from a span of centuries: paintings and antiques from the Italian Renaissance, a 600-year-old bench from one of Florence’s richest families, and the 1902 espresso machine that whipped up America’s first cappuccino. Being surrounded by all of those glorious throwbacks should certainly spark some inspiration.
White Horse Tavern
Rickety floors, battered barstools, and a limited selection of drafts do not steer writer types away from this 19th-century watering hole. In fact, the setting has inspired literary greats like James Baldwin, Jane Jacobs, and Norman Mailer since it became one of the major bohemian gathering spots in the 1950s. More recently, this budding writer spotted Ethan Hawke scribbling away at the bar late one evening. (Was he working on the follow-up to his 2017 war epic?)
While brunch spots around the West Village strive to perfect their mimosa recipe, this 85-year-old greasy spoon doesn’t stoop to conquer. Instead, with specials written on paper plates and weathered newspaper clippings taped to the linoleum walls, La Bonbonniere acts as a much-needed reprieve from our modern breakfast scene. For a quieter, old-school morning, grab a good book, find a spot at the bar, and fill up on some zero-frills eggs and hash browns.