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GREENWICH VILLAGE FOLK CLUBS

Cafeaugogo_poster
Poster from 1967

The Cafe au Go Go 152 Bleecker Street (basement)

The au Go Go was an oasis for folk music, jazz, comedy, blues and rock.
The club was the first New York venue for the Grateful Dead, and Joni Mitchell. Richie Havens and the Blues Project were weekly regulars. Jimi Hendrix sat in with blues harp player James Cotton there in 1968. Van Morrison, Tim Hardin, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, the Youngbloods, John Hammond, Jr., The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Jefferson Airplane, Cream, The Chambers Brothers, the Hamilton Face Band all played there. Blues legends Lightnin' Hopkins, Son House, Skip James, Bukka White, and Big Joe Williams performed at the club after being "rediscovered" in the '60s.


CafeWha
The Cafe Wha? 115 MacDougal Street (corner Minetta Lane) Still in business

Bob Dylan performed a short set of Woody Guthrie songs at Cafe Wha? on his very first day in New York City (January 1961) and during the following weeks.

"I used to play in a a place called Cafe Wha?, and it always used to open at noon, and closed at six in the morning. It was just a non-stop flow of people, usually they were tourists who were looking for beatniks in the Village. There'd be maybe five groups that played there. I used to play with a guy called Fred Neil, who wrote the song "Everybody's Talking" that was in the film "Midnight Cowboy."
BOB DYLAN – Bert Kleinman Interview, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, NYC, NY, Jul 30, 1984.


Gaslight-116MacDougal
116 MacDougal Street today

The Gaslight Cafe

Bob_Dylan_Gaslight
Bob Dylan at the Gaslight in 1961
116 Macdougal Street

The Gaslight Cafe was a coffee house located in the basement at this address.

The Gaslight was right next door to The Kettle of Fish, a bar where many performers hung out between sets. Some nights the bar was "locked" down to the public because a young "reclusive" singer and poet was in attendance...Bob Dylan. Also next door was the Folklore Center, a bookstore/record store owned by Izzy Young and notable for being a musicians' gathering place and center of the New York folk music scene.

In The Folk Music Encyclopedia, Kristin Baggelaar and Donald Milton write "The Gaslight was weird then because there were air shafts up to the apartments and the windows of the Gaslight would open into the air shafts, so when people would applaud, the neighbors would get disturbed and call the police. So then the audience couldn't applaud; they had to snap their fingers instead."


gerdes

Gerde's Folk City 11 West 4th Street (corner of Mercer Street)

Everyone on the scene played at Gerde's. Dylan played his first professional gig here on April 11, 1961, opening for the Greenbriar Boys. His September 26th, 1961 appearance was reviewed in the New York Times by Robert Shelton, which gave Dylan his first major break. Joan Baez was in the audience. When Bob heard she was there, he got his guitar and followed her out to the sidewalk with the hopes of impressing her. She was the bigger star at the time. This was the start of their relationship.

The building no longer exists. In it's place is a large, unattractive building built in the 1970s. NYU owns the property now. There is no door on the corner anymore so there is no number.


BitterEnd_sml
The Bitter End 147 Bleecker Street (between LaGuardia Place and Thompson Street) Still in business.

The Bitter End opened its doors in 1961. During the early 1960s the club hosted Folk music "hootenanies" every week featuring many performers who have since become legendary. An earlier club, "The Cock and Bull" operated on the same premises with the same format, in the late 1950s. The poet Hugh Romney (who later became known as Wavy Gravy) read there. When Dylan began hanging out in the Village again, in the summer of 1975, he played here with Patti Smith, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Bobby Neuwirth, before embarking on the Rolling Thunder Revue.
The City of New York bestowed landmark status to the night club on July 23, 1992. The Bitter End is still here.

Albums by Peter, Paul and Mary, Randy Newman, Curtis Mayfield, Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, The Isley Brothers, Tommy James & the Shondells, among others, have been recorded live at the Bitter End.


The Bottom Line
The Bottom Line
15 West Fourth Street (between Broadway and Washington Square Park).

Opened February 12, 1974,  The Bottom Line played a major role in maintaining Greenwich Village's status as a cultural mecca. Bruce Springsteen played legendary show-case gigs and Lou Reed recorded the album Live: Take No Prisoners there. Harry Chapin even held his two-thousandth concert at Bottom Line in January 1981. The Bottom Line hosted mainly folk music, playing home to Loudon Wainwright III and others, but also hosting acts ranging from Dolly Parton to Ravi Shankar to the Ramones.

The last show was on January 22, 2004, just shy of the club’s thirtieth anniversary. Another victim of NYU which held the lease on the property for a while.


pussycat
11-13 Minetta St
The Commons/ The Fat Black Pussycat 11-13 Minetta Street

Opened in 1958, it was originally a small theater and cafe . It offered poetry readings, folk music, jazz and espresso, and had a Bohemian ambiance.

The Commons expanded a year or two later, and its name was changed to the Fat Black Pussycat. Tiny Tim performed there before he became famous. So did Mama Cass Elliot, Richie Havens and Shel Silverstein. Bob Dylan became a regular there in the early 60's and wrote "Blowin' in the Wind" here.

The Fat Black Pussycat changed its name several times in the 1960's, and became a Mexican restaurant, Panchito's, in 1972, but the old sign was never painted over. It is still visible today.


IzzyYoung
110 MacDougal St today
Izzy Young's Folklore Center
110 MacDougal Street

This was not a music venue, but it was very much a part of the folk scene in the late 50's and early 60's.  In 1957, Izzy Young opened the Folklore Center, a store for books and records and everything related to folk music. It was a couple of narrow rooms strung together with records and books in the front. There were instruments on the walls, usually many people milling around. Bob Dylan often used the typewriter in the back room to write songs.

NightOwl/BleekerBob's
118 West 3rd today

The Night Owl
118 West 3rd Street

Before he went to London, James Taylor performed at the Night Owl, where they played regularly for seven months.
It was a sad day when the Night Owl was converted into a poster and button shop. It is now Bleeker Bob's Records, and there is a wonderful picture of the Night Owl with the Blues Magoos on stage in the window.


Village_Gate_sign
Village Gate sign today

The Village Gate  160 Bleecker St. (corner of Thompson Street)

Dylan wrote "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" in September 1962 in Chip Monck's apartment in the basement of this building. The Village Gate was a notable folky hangout for 36 years. In April of 2001, the original building re-opened as The Village Theater, a venue for dramatic performances. The old sign remains.


THEY LIVED HERE ACTORSMUSICIANSWRITERS & POETSARTISTS FAMOUS ADDRESSES
LEGENDARY MUSIC VENUES ROCK FOLK NIGHT CLUBS
BEEN HERE FOREVER BARS AND TAVERNS RESTAURANTS CHURCHES
HOME