Poster from 1967
||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.
||115 MacDougal Street (corner Minetta Lane)
Still in business
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
"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
– Bert Kleinman Interview, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, NYC, NY, Jul 30, 1984.
116 MacDougal Street today
|The Gaslight Cafe
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,
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."
|Gerde's Folk City
||11 West 4th Street (corner of Mercer Street)
the scene played at Gerde's. Dylan played his first professional gig
here on April 11, 1961, opening for the Greenbriar Boys. His September
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.
|The Bitter End
Still in business.
The Bitter End opened its doors in 1961. During the
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
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
|15 West Fourth Street (between Broadway and
Washington Square Park).
Opened February 12, 1974, The Bottom Line played a major role in
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.
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
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.
110 MacDougal St
|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.
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
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 today
|The Village Gate
||160 Bleecker St. (corner of
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.