At the Café de Flore on Boulevard Saint-Germain (with its
features and flowers above a wide awning), figures like Apollinaire and
established the tenets of
in the 1910s. (Years later, musician Serge Gainsbourg would become partial to the establishment’s double pastis.) Across the street, Les Deux Magots—light and cheery, with ample outdoor seating for sipping coffee—similarly united the city’s intellectuals and contributed to their often torrid romances.
met Picasso there in 1936 and subsequently became his muse and mistress (as well as an artist in her own right
Open until 4 a.m., the nearby Le Tabou jazz club served as a late-night meeting point for the existentialists. Cultural worlds collided at the underground bar. According to Lewis MacAdams, author of Birth of the Cool: Beat, Bebop, and the American Avant Garde, the novelist Boris Vian introduced musician Charlie Parker and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre here.
Yet during the 1940s and ’50s—just after World War II forever altered Paris and the rest of Europe—the rise of
in New York created a new center for the art world. Its practitioners began congregating, fighting, and philosophizing at the Cedar Tavern on University Place.
kicked down the men’s room door.
threatened to punch critic Clement Greenberg in the face following a theoretical dispute (he may have followed through, depending on who you ask).
The tavern closed in 2013, though nostalgia protected the actual bar from destruction: The Texan restaurant Eberly bought, dismantled, and pieced it back together for its own southern crowd. Its operations manager, Tom Maitland, who is a former New Yorker, used to drink at the Cedar Tavern in the ’90s after it became, in his parlance, “basically an NYU frat bar.” (Other hip hotspots have suffered similar fates, long after the art crowd passes on. Café de Flore, La Closerie des Lilas, and Les Deux Magots are all still open in Paris, though they’re now major destinations for tourists and other non-bohemians.)
If the Abstract Expressionists gained a reputation for their brooding, aggressive natures, the
movement that followed in New York was more extroverted. Along with bright ben-day dots and an emphasis on everyday objects, celebrity culture (and partying) became integral to the era. The Cedar Tavern was notoriously unfriendly to queer men (Pollock once yelled homosexual slurs
and Frank O’Hara); in reaction,
and his Factory compatriots established an alternative art world outpost at Max’s Kansas City. From 1965 through 1981, the Park Avenue South restaurant and nightclub welcomed personalities from
to Debbie Harry (now better known as the frontwoman of Blondie, she also worked there as a waitress).