Locale Profile: The White Horse Tavern | Opened and Closed

PROFILE LOCALE

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The White Horse Tavern, located at 26 Marlborough St in Newport, is without exaggeration, as far away from being a “new restaurant” as it gets. Founded in 1673, Newport’s White Horse is the oldest bar in America. It was briefly owned and operated by a pirate,served a stint as a town inn where a man died in his sleep in 1720, and quartered British troops around the time of the Battle of Quaker Hill. So obviously it’s rumored to be haunted.

Like any reputable upscale eatery, The White Horse tries to keep their haunts on the hush-hush. There’s no “Dead Man’s Stew,” or “Ghost Tar-tar,” on the menu. You will find, however, classics that reflect the establishment’s early-American history with a local, modern twist like a Cornish Hen served with a freshly-picked vegetable ratatouille; a Block Island Fluke; and a New England cheese sampler served with Aquidneck Island honeycomb.
But alas, there have been (a lot of) reports of ghosts. An elderly man dressed in colonial attire is regularly reported to have been seen in the main dining room, tapping and pestering patrons and servers, along with a spirit that seemingly monitors the staff, causing disturbances when things go wrong.
Ghost sightings or not, the White Horse draws visitors in with its colonial-era ambiance. Seating is intimate and limited – there’s no table or booth option here (though there is the option of terrace dining with the addition of garden seating). Like any pre-Edison era structure, the restaurant is lit with rows of windows, small lanterns and tall candlesticks on each table. So yes, it gets fairly dark in the evening, but in a diner’s quest for historic eats, this encompassing, ambient effect is a small price to pay.

OPEN & CLOSED

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