Fox Head Tavern

Fox Head Tavern

402 E Market St

Dave’s Fox Head (402 East Market Street), on the corner of Market and Gilbert streets, has been the “Workshop bar” since at least the 1980s. From the outside it appears to be little more than a shack, and its interior has remained completely unchanged since I first stepped foot inside in the late 1970s. It’s a simple tavern—a couple of rows of scarred wooden booths, a jukebox, and a pool table. It could be 1945 or 2012 or, judging from the jukebox selection, 1967 onward. Being inside Dave’s is a little like being inside a Raymond Carver story, and although it’s often full of writers, I don’t think anyone ever actually writes in Dave’s.

Weissmiller, Jan. “Iowa City.” Poets & Writers, 30 Nov. 2016, www.pw.org/content/iowa_city_0


Frank Conroy at the Foxhead

In a dark wooden booth at the Foxhead one night, the air blue with cigarette smoke and the clatter of pool balls, Frank confided to me that he had just gotten an advance for the novel he was then writing, $250,000. Suddenly I could see that he was no ordinary academic. We sat drinking with Joseph Brodsky another night, the jukebox playing and a bell at the bar being rung every time someone ordered a local beer called Dubuque Star. Brodsky had come to Iowa City to read. He was not the only Nobel laureate to do so. Derek Walcott came and Seamus Heaney, who read to a crowd that overflowed onto half the stage. While it did not rival Stockholm, the invitation to Iowa City was a distinction. Almost every week someone of interest arrived to read, and there were dinners with them beforehand.

Salter, James. “The Writing Teacher.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 8 May 2005, www.nytimes.com/2005/05/08/books/review/the-writing-teacher.html.