02 February 2012

Lost City: New London Edition: Dutch Tavern

I've been lucky enough to visit New London, a down-on-it-luck maritime Connecticut city, a few times. Every time I walk the streets of its wonderfully preserved, 19th-century downtown, I make a point of darting down tiny Green Street and paying a call on Dutch Tavern.

The Dutch has much to recommend it on it's own. It's New London's oldest bar. The space is snug and comforting, surely the smallest great tavern I've ever been to. The old bar is original, as are the tin ceilings and other interior details. The beer selection is good. There's even a small grill, serving tasty burgers and chili, which operates during lunch hours. The clientele, meanwhile, is a collection of salty, old New London characters, with an occasional student or academic from Connecticut College thrown in.

But the Dutch has a added patina of coolness in having been one of Eugene O'Neill's haunts during his years of young manhood in New London. (His actor father retired here, and he got his first job as a reporter at the local paper.) It was owned by John H. Miller back then and was known as the Oak. Following Prohibition, it reopened at the Dutch and has remained so since. With its simple wooden tables and chairs, it likely looks a lot like it did in O'Neill's day. Probably, it's a lot cleaner today.

For some reason, it is only on Sundays "from November to January." Don't get that.

1 comment:

Ken Mac said...

Thanks for the tip. I need a day trip.