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Great Coffee Houses

Related thread:
Favorite Chicago Club tales... (20)


GUEST,Judah 03 Sep 15 - 10:04 PM
ChanteyLass 08 Nov 14 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 08 Nov 14 - 07:09 AM
PHJim 07 Nov 14 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,johnnvic 06 Nov 14 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Bill 05 Oct 14 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,GUEST: St. Paul Girl 12 Jul 14 - 03:32 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Mar 14 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,Guest - Lin 24 Mar 14 - 01:24 AM
GUEST,Guest - Lin 24 Mar 14 - 01:20 AM
GUEST,sandy 23 Mar 14 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Witherspoon 03 Jan 13 - 03:28 AM
GUEST,sandrolin 20 Nov 10 - 03:36 PM
Don Firth 20 Nov 10 - 03:27 PM
Crowhugger 20 Nov 10 - 02:32 PM
dick greenhaus 20 Nov 10 - 02:05 PM
frogprince 20 Nov 10 - 12:08 AM
GUEST 20 Nov 10 - 12:03 AM
GUEST,wes 19 Nov 10 - 07:23 PM
Amos 30 Apr 08 - 02:47 PM
frogprince 30 Apr 08 - 02:11 PM
GUEST 30 Apr 08 - 11:51 AM
Amos 30 Apr 08 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 30 Apr 08 - 11:03 AM
Amos 30 Apr 08 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,Goodnight Gracie 30 Apr 08 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 29 Apr 08 - 11:48 AM
frogprince 29 Apr 08 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 29 Apr 08 - 07:56 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 23 Apr 08 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,Frank Macias 23 Apr 08 - 02:36 AM
Barry Finn 21 Sep 07 - 10:31 PM
RiGGy 21 Sep 07 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 20 Sep 07 - 04:56 PM
Mark Ross 20 Sep 07 - 04:49 PM
Amos 20 Sep 07 - 01:28 PM
Lonesome EJ 20 Sep 07 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 20 Sep 07 - 11:57 AM
frogprince 19 Sep 07 - 08:45 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 19 Sep 07 - 12:38 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 19 Sep 07 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,sheridan805 04 Mar 07 - 02:51 PM
JJ 27 Nov 05 - 09:21 AM
Padre 26 Nov 05 - 10:02 PM
JJ 26 Nov 05 - 08:59 AM
Deckman 26 Nov 05 - 12:27 AM
Joybell 25 Nov 05 - 11:45 PM
Padre 25 Nov 05 - 10:55 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 25 Nov 05 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,janet yacht 24 Nov 05 - 01:17 PM
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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,Judah
Date: 03 Sep 15 - 10:04 PM

Does anyone know whatever happened to singer-songwriter Billy Mitchell, who used to headline in the remnant of the Fat Black Pussycat at the Feenjon Cafe in Greenwich Village? (I briefly was an assistant manager there.) Well, I mention him in my new book, and I would love to get a copy to him. Please contact me through my website, http://hokuhouse.com. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 08 Nov 14 - 12:23 PM

I've got to put in a plug for my home base, Stone Soup Coffeehouse, originally located in Providence, RI, but for the last several years in Pawtucket, RI. Within each city it has had many locations but this year has returned to Pawtucket's Slater Mill on the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The Slater Mill is the Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. If audience members come in the afternoon, they can tour the mill and it's neighboring buildings, the Wilkinson Mill and the Sylvanus Brown House. Then they can go out for dinner and return for an evening of music. Over the years Stone Soup has featured local, regional, and national performers.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 08 Nov 14 - 07:09 AM

Not much different than posting 15 years go.
The all had open mic nights and allowed under 21.

"Golden Bear"- Huntington Beach California ( small brass plaque in a back corner of a shopping mall commemorates the location) Monday

jerrygarciasbrokendownpalaces.blogspot.com/2011/12/golden-bear-306-ocean-avenue-huntington.html



"Lighthouse" - Redondo Beach California. (Jazz) Tuesday

wikipedia.org/wiki/Lighthouse_Café



"Coffee Gallery" - Pasadena California (still going)

www.coffeegallery.com/



"Ice House" - Pasadena California (now a comedy club) Thursday

" It was opened in 1960 by Willard Chilcott who, soon after, took on folk music icon Bob Stane as his partner.[

From 1960 to 1978 The Ice House was one of the top folk music clubs in the country with acts coming from around the country to perform" (from wiki)


"The E Bar " - Pasadena California (aka Expresso Bar aka Express Yourself Bar)

articles.latimes.com/1990-10-17/news/ga-2463_1_espresso-bar


Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Once upon a time there was a tavern
Where we used to raise a glass or two
Remember how we laughed away the hours
And dreamed of all the great things we would do


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: PHJim
Date: 07 Nov 14 - 04:26 PM

Hamilton - The Black Swan
         - The Ebony Knight
         - The Happy Medium
later on- Knight II

Stratford- The Black Swan

Toronto - The Riverboat
         - The Bohemian Embassy

Ottawa   - L'Hibou


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,johnnvic
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 06:45 PM

I performed at.the Sword and Stone on Charles Street in Boston in the 70s. I did standup.comedy.there among the folk singers. My friend Paul.and I started a regular comedy.night and I learned about the place from Jay Leno when he was still living in Boston and going to Emerson College. I'm.glad to m3n see.it hasn't been forgotten. The owner was a.short tempered guy named Mark and he had a very lovely girlfriend and waitress named Joy.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,Bill
Date: 05 Oct 14 - 05:07 PM

The only coffee house I remember on Avenue Rd. was the NightOwl on west side of Avenue Road near Yorkville. The band Edward Bear used to play there regularly.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,GUEST: St. Paul Girl
Date: 12 Jul 14 - 03:32 AM

I've actually read every post above from 1999 on ...whew! ...looking to see if there was any mention of the "UNICORN" in downtown Saint Paul Minnesota, and there was not.

Probably because it was not a "great" coffee house, but it made an impact in roughly 1961 through 1966.

It was in an alley in a block off the corner of 7th Street and St. Peter Street. It was owned by a man named Gene Cassidy [sp?] who lived in an apartment above who had many parties up there. The only way to get to the party was via an elevator that one hoisted up with a rope pulley.

It was not "Alley 29", the other downtown coffee house.

We were still in high school when we started hanging out there as often as we could. The music and vibe was more 50's beatnik with poetry readings, as well, but morphed into the Folk Music of the 60's as it became more mainstream and popular.

Does anyone who follows this thread recall the place? It seems to be erased from the history books ...

Thanks, Seaneen


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Mar 14 - 07:32 PM

Kawa Espresso Bar, Calgary. Wine, beer, some entertainment.

May have been mentioned up above, haven't looked.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,Guest - Lin
Date: 24 Mar 14 - 01:24 AM

Oops, accidently submitted my message above twice. Submitted it the first time and it didn't seem like it went through - so submitted again. :-)


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,Guest - Lin
Date: 24 Mar 14 - 01:20 AM

Someone named Sheridan805 posted an inquiry about a coffeehouse on Fairfax Avenue and didn't remember the name of it. It was a great coffeehouse called, The Blue Grotto. I was very young - 15 & 16 and would go there all the time - even on school nights sometimes.

You would walk down this narrow dark pathway to enter into the doors and the first room you when you entered was where they had the jukebox - always playing Peter, Paul & Mary's song, "The Great Mandela" or the Animals singing, "House of the Rising Sun"
I think you got three songs for 25 cents.

A guy named Foster ran the place and they served coffee, tea and little snacks, cookies or pastries. It was sort of dark and there were candles on tables.
Then you could walk into the middle small room that was real dark and just had some blue light in there. The back room had a pool table and people would just sit around singing (not a stage.)

The restroom was cool. Everyone, (including me) would write or draw things on the walls. I would draw faces of curly haired guys - being I was in love with Donovan and a boy that I knew at the coffeehouse named Marty who was also a folk singer.
We were all so young and happy.
Sometimes the West Hollywood Sheriffs would come in there looking for kids under 18 (after 10 PM curfew time) and they would tell you to go right home. Or they could take you in but mostly told you to go home if you were under 18 - and I looked very young and small!

Other coffeehouses in L.A. were the Fifth Estate, The Garrett,
The Infinite Mind, Pandoras Box (I couldn't get in there as I was under 18.) The Ash Grove.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,sandy
Date: 23 Mar 14 - 12:42 PM

Does anyone remember the "Den of Socrates" on a small side street in Venice Beach, CA in the mid 60's? We used to go to hear a wonderful guitarist whose first name was Tim. All painted black inside, small stage, round tables, so-so coffee but we didn't care! We always left there feeling very cool and sophisticated!


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,Witherspoon
Date: 03 Jan 13 - 03:28 AM

On the OKC University campus 1966 -67 a moment in time with deep velvet couches dark walls black light posters and non alcoholic drinks. I do not remember its name but in the mid evenings of mid revolution it was so very heady.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,sandrolin
Date: 20 Nov 10 - 03:36 PM

I've been searching the wide web over for fellow pre-historic *Owl and Monkey* coffee housians from 1970-1977
Irving Street San Fran.

and yes ... the upper west side Focus Coffee House (1968 ish) bred many commedians that were to hit the SNL Bigtime..
but hell our late into the early humor was BAD:-)and i've simply never recovered.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Nov 10 - 03:27 PM

Regarding coffeehouses in New York catering to teenagers:

Right around 1960, some tight-assed Seattle City Council person decided (without ever having visited one) that coffeehouses were dens of drugs, sex, and (Horrors!!) folk singers! Wasted a lot of time and taxpayers' money arguing that one, and eventually came up with a city ordinance about having to be eighteen to enter a coffeehouse.

I recall lots of curious and eager noses pressed against the front windows of various coffeehouses (those that had windows). But I don't think any of the coffeehouse owners ever carded the patrons, even the very young-looking ones.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Great Toronto Coffee Houses
From: Crowhugger
Date: 20 Nov 10 - 02:32 PM

(Bad-memory-alert: I might have asked this on another coffee house thread some years ago, but haven't been able to find it again yet, forgot to add it to my tracer...)

Does anyone recall the name of a Toronto coffee house that was on Avenue Rd (east side) just a very few doors north of Davenport, in the mid-late 1970s? As I recall there were a few steps down just inside the front door. The stage was at the front but situated such that people entering weren't too disruptive to a performance. It was run by an "older" (LOL, he was probably younger than I am now) south-Asian man whose name completely escapes me. I did my very first truly public performance there, public as in the the audience included strangers. That evening (some kind of open stage) Veronica Boyd and I sang Sweet-Talkin' Denny by Bob Bossin as well as some songs she wrote.

To be fair I'm not sure this coffee house was "great" by any objective measure but I sure found it a great neighbourhood place to hear so many musicians, and to enjoy company and conversation, without having to go to a bar. And holy smokes, to be able to get up and play on a particular night of the week struck me at the time as a spectacular bonus. (What the heck, I was young and naive and new to Toronto.)


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Nov 10 - 02:05 PM

In NY, at least, the coffeehouse was a phenomenon created to cater to underage patrons---the drinking age was 21. More established folk music
venues all served booze---and were out of bounds to young folkies.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: frogprince
Date: 20 Nov 10 - 12:08 AM

And that was me, tearing nostologically in my beer. Hadn't lost my cookie in a long time.
                Dean


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 10 - 12:03 AM

Good to see this come around again.
A long-shot question: does anyone else here have any memory of The Broken Wall, just off Foster Ave in Chicago, across from North Park College? It was very small, church operated, but not that "Churchy" except for very informal worship on Sunday morning. I brewed, poured, and washed up one night a week for at least a few months. We actually had some very decent Chicago scene performers on occasion: Thom Bishop, Dodie (Kallick?), Patricia Kerr...an older black gent with New Orleans background, whose name I never got, who played as good a "harp" as I have ever heard...John Calhoun hung out quite a bit, besides playing with some regularity.
Now I'm sitting here trying to believe that it was forty years ago.
                           Dean


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,wes
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 07:23 PM

In New York there were some very "disepitomable" bistros - the Cafe Why Not accross the street from the Wha, and another whose location I forget was the Dragon's Den. Between gigs we hung out at the Rienzi or at the Minnetta.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: Amos
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 02:47 PM

HEy, FP, don' be goin' all bourgeois on us, man, ya know? It's all the same dharma, like....ya don' wanna lose sight of that, man, no matter what, ya know what I mean??? Keep the vibes cool, man....

A


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: frogprince
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 02:11 PM

"The North Beach Bolero"; dear god, how to react to that; "like wow, man!"
Well, I guess people with limited talent have a right to have fun, too!


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 11:51 AM

TJ in San Diego said:

...and several in southern California whose names have vanished along with the venues - with the exception of the Prison of Socrates and the Ash Grove.

One that I remember was The Garret in Hollywood.

BTW, did anyone go to UCLA two weeks ago for the Ash Grove event? 'Twas a treat.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: Amos
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 11:26 AM

Another piece of the puizzle of "losing" North beach:

"I would go up to North Beach to the bars that had been famous hang-outs for the Beats: often Vesuvio, a perfect bar for tourists, and the Coffee Gallery, which at that time catered to the young folk-music crowd and to young wannabe Beatniks who might play chess at the table in the front window, and who mostly worked in the aerospace industry like myself during the week.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the two blocks of Grant Avenue from Vallejo Street to Union Street would be completely filled with people. The crowd would yield only slowly and reluctantly for the occasional car that tried to come through, persistently honking its horn. Lots of Gray Line tour busses came and didn't mind the fact that progress up these two blocks took forever. We ``beatniks'' were what the tourists had come to see, and the slower the bus went, the better look they got. Meanwhile, we made faces at the spectators and beat on the sides of the bus with our hands, confirming the belief of the tourists that we were very dangerous beatniks. It was a great show. I hope that Gray Line charged a whole lot for it.

Around the corner from the Coffee Gallery, on Green Street, was a much more raucous bar: the Anxious Asp (the city wouldn't allow the owner to use the name she really wanted). The Asp attracted three different groups: the owner was fairly clearly a lesbian, and most of the waitresses also seemed to be, and there were a fair number of lesbian customers. And then there were the kids who would come in to listen to the rock and roll on the jukebox at the Asp when they got tired of the folk music at the Coffee Gallery. And finally there were the Blacks, who were mostly a pretty tough bunch.

There was one homely looking girl in the crowds on Grant Avenue and in the Anxious Asp that I especially noticed. She used to sing blues sometimes at the Coffee Gallery, especially on Sunday evenings when they had the ``hootenany'' (i.e. open mike), and she had a very loud voice that I liked a whole lot. But despite her singing ability, she didn't seem to be able to find acceptance at all. I would look at her and think, ``There's someone who's even more lost in this scene than I am.''

I never knew her name at that time, but a few years later, when I would frequently see her face in newspapers and magazines, I found out that it was Janis Joplin.

(For some different observations on the North Beach bar and café scene, check out this article by P. Segal.)

A block down from Vallejo towards Chinatown, Grant Avenue crosses Broadway, where the topless craze was born during this time. At first, there were not only topless bars but topless restaurants. For a while, there was even a topless shoeshine girl on Kearny Street. The whole thing fascinated me. I don't think I'd ever seen any naked breasts at first hand except for my wife's. (Well, no, on second thought there had been a few occasions. But very few.) But I never went in any of the topless clubs because I assumed that they'd be much too expensive for me.

Also on Broadway was Mike's Pool Hall, which was probably the most interesting place to hang out at in North Beach. Somehow tourists never seemed to discover it, and mostly the people there were pretty authentic. ``Authentic what?'' is another question, which I never completely knew the answer to, but they were certainly authentic somethings. Authentic bartenders, authentic bums, authentic wannabe writers. And since Mike's was more a restaurant than a bar, it was able to stay open all night, although they stopped serving liquor at 2 AM, and so in the early hours of the morning authentic strippers and authentic whores would stop in to rest after work and get a bowl of the wonderful soup served at Mike's. I was seldom there that late, though.

After a while, I started to understand that if I wanted to become part of the North Beach scene, I needed to be there during the week. In some sense, almost everyone in the North Beach bars on the weekends was a tourist, even if they didn't safeguard themselves from the crowd by huddling inside a Gray Line bus. They may have lived in the Bay Area, or lived in San Francisco, but the weekend people weren't a real part of North Beach. And in any case, I was quite aware that for the most part the Beats had left North Beach several years ago."    (From here).

Here's a Timeline of the Decade someone has been putting together, so those who were there can stop trying to remember... ;>)


A

"


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 11:03 AM

Amen to Amos. I had forgotten that one.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: Amos
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 10:56 AM

North Beach Bolero circa 1962, gives the flavor, man....


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,Goodnight Gracie
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 10:33 AM

The Ark on Hill Street in Ann Arbor. Never got a chance to visit the later incarnations. I have great memories of hearing some great artists there for the first time, including Joe Heeney, Jim Ringer and Mary McCaslin. The Ark also had a great open mike where many great performers got their start.

Although, not a coffee house, years ago Lisa Null had great house concerts at her home in New Canaan, CT.

Goodnight Gracie


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 11:48 AM

The last "Hungry i" reunion, just before Bruno Banducci passed away, drew people like Bob Shane and John Stewart, Mort Sahl and Travis Edmonson and many others who had performed there. It was not, I believe, held at the actual venue, because at last report, the old "i" was still a Deja Vu-owned venue for naked ladies and lay gynecologists.

I can remember North Beach as it was in the later 1950's, when the "Beat" poets and writers, et al, who had been the primary habitue's of "The Hungry i" and various cafe's and coffee houses, were being pushed out by the collegiate hipsters and the young banker and stockbroker types from Montgomery Street. That was the audience you heard in the background on the old Kingston Trio recording, "From the Hungry i." You could still get a great home-style Italian meal in the area, but change was on the way.

It wasn't until Carol Doda, the original silicone-enhanced topless dancer, appeared at the Condor Club that North Beach forever morphed into the tawdry tenderloin we all know and love. I had dinner at "The Stinking Rose" last January. Walking the few blocks nearby, a lot of the old landmarks were gone and a few still evident, but I felt I was looking at a sad, tired old dowager with garish makeup and pale, wrinkled skin - hanging on by a thread.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: frogprince
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 10:09 AM

In the way of somewhat sad remnants of the past: Anyone know if the seedy stripper dive on Broadway in San Francisco is the actual location of the legendary old "Hungry I"? In October, we stayed 5 nights at the Green Tortoise Hostel a few doors away. I'm not sure now if the sign on the place says "Hungry I" or "Hungry Eye".


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 07:56 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 23 Apr 08 - 07:31 AM

http://www.monmouthcoffee.co.uk/ourshops.htm


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,Frank Macias
Date: 23 Apr 08 - 02:36 AM

I didn't see any mention of the "The Blue Unicorn" located in San Francisco in the mid sixties. We were driving around the city. We got very hungry and saw the "Blue Unicorn" sign. We figured it was a good place to stop and eat. It was a narrow room with a small stage at the further end of it. There was a folk singer playing that night on small stage. We went to the food bar and all they had to eat was half slices of french bread and a half-stick of butter for fifty cents. Of course they had coffee to drink as well. While there I saw a girl come in dressed in feathers of all colors like Janis Joplin would dress at times. The customers were more like beatniks than hippies. They had very long hair, plaid wool shirts and looked more like lumberjacks than anything else. It was a very unusual place.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: Barry Finn
Date: 21 Sep 07 - 10:31 PM

Glad to hear that you get out from under the grape leaves Riggy. HeHeHe.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: RiGGy
Date: 21 Sep 07 - 06:25 PM

Varied & various venues from my vile and vicked youth:
Leon's Coffee House, in an icecream shop basement in N Plainfield NJ.
[ I have met people all over the country who actually went there, ca1964 ! ]
The Id & Ego in Milwaukee. Cafe Pergolese on Chicago's Northside.
Ethical Culture Soc basement in Rittenhouse Sq Phila.

I'm now a "user" at Coffee Catz in Sebastopol CA - great open mic !

Riggy


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 04:56 PM

One of the major differences between then (the old coffee houses)and now (Starbucks, et al, ad nauseum)was in the ownership and its approach. People like Bruno Banducci, at the old Hungry i, were local, small-time, often socio-politically active and had a love of personal performance - often to the point of being willing to subsidize it for its own sake. They created "hangouts" for like-minded and "other-minded" folks who found the places personal little comfort zones. Hopefully, they made enough money to keep the torch burning and food on the table. They encouraged performers.

Starbucks is, simply, a completely system-dominated and formulaic money machine for its stockholders. What bothers me isn't THEM, it's the empty-headed flock of sheep that have almost made the name Starbucks the generic term for coffee. Obviously, most of them don't really drink coffee, per se; they drink frothy, flavored concoctions that use coffee for a base. And, you are quite correct. There is no soul in this business. Else, why would they strive so diligently to put all local competition out of business?


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: Mark Ross
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 04:49 PM

The Forum in Hartford Connecticutt

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: Amos
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 01:28 PM

I played a few of the North Beach places in the early 60's, before the advent of Flower Power. Up from the Hot Dog Palace, but the names have faded on me.

There was a really nice beat coffee shop in Westport, Connecticut, back then, too, where I liked to hang at night...and sometimes play. It was across from the NYNH and H RR station. Damned if I remember the name -- it was owned by an entrepreneurial young fella named Jeff... but it too closed its doors with the advent of the 70's and early yuppiedom.


A


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 01:13 PM

I don't know whether to be angry or sad over Starbucks' feeble attempts to see themselves as inheritors of the coffeeshop-beat tradition by hawking folkie and pop cds in their synthetic cookie-cutter bistros. They follow the lead of most corporate entities when examining a revolutionary, historic, and unique phenomenon : They copy the trappings and forget the soul of the thing. Suppose they actually featured live acoustic music...nahhhh.

Anyway, glad to see this old thread re-surface. Living history in this.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 11:57 AM

Flat black walls; pillows on the floor; dim light; smoky haze and pungent tobacco smells from the pipes of the chess players in the rear; small tables; smaller stage along one wall, with one spot on it; one or two performers, who usually worked for free drinks or tips and a chance to be seen; players, and wanna be's, comparing guitars and banjos; young girls looking for young guys, who are looking for young girls; smells of spice, cider, tea and coffee emanating from behind the dark curtain that screened the kitchen. All this imagery creeps along in the recesses of my distant memory banks. It was more than a venue and coffee had little enough to do with it. It was a social phenomenon of its time, an opportunity, for those of us who wanted to perform, to try and fail - and try again. I'd go there again, if I could.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: frogprince
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 08:45 PM

I spent some good liberty (from Navy duty) weekend hours at the Coffee and Confusion in San Francisco in late 1967. That was my first exposure to the coffee house concept. I later lived for several years within a couple of blocks of the No Exit in Chicago, and totalled up a lot of hours there.
Believe it or not, the metropolis of Lapeer, MI., now has a small decent spot, "Cup o' Joe's", with fairly regular Friday night music.
The music can range from good folk and blues to gawd-awful zero talent rockers, but at least somebody's trying to keep it alive.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 12:38 PM

The Purple Onion, where my group and I once performed, and The Hungry I (Bruno Banducci's salute to the hungry intellectual), which were originally "Beat" oriented venues of the fifties, became major launching pads for such as the Kingston Trio, The Limeliters, The Smothers Brothers, Mort Sahl and many others. They were never, strictly speaking, coffee houses, but they served the same purpose.

Others I remember were the Pamir House, in Seattle, The End, in Tacoma (a regular stop for me in my army days in '61 and '62), The Renaissance, in Fresno, where I cut my musical teeth with a cadre of other young folk, the Orange Ogre, "Gussie" Gostanian's alternative coffee house in Fresno, catering more to the avant garde crowd, and several in southern California whose names have vanished along with the venues - with the exception of the Prison of Socrates and the Ash Grove.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 12:13 PM

I don't know how I missed this wonderful thread before!   I love hearing stories about these legendary venues!

I "came of age" a bit later than most of the posters here, and for me the real "coffeehouses" had all but vanished. The clubs that I remember in NYC were the Bottom Line and most notably - Speak Easy.   The Speak Easy was THE place for music in the mid-80's.

By the 1980's, at least here in NJ, folk music was settling into church basements and organized "clubs" that presented the music. The Hurdy-Gurdy(which is now int he 27th season and I am the new president of) was one of the first that I attended. The grandaddy of them all in NJ is the Minstrel Coffeehouse run by the Folk Project.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,sheridan805
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 02:51 PM

I am trying to remember the Beatnik type coffee house that was quite well known in the early 60's in what is now West Hollywood, CA.

It was on the corner of Fairfax Avenue and Willoughby St.

Does anyone out there know the name of this?


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: JJ
Date: 27 Nov 05 - 09:21 AM

Good heavens, Padre, John Swalm!

He taught me a few banjo chords so that I could play "Down in the Valley" and "Just a Picture From Life's Other Side" in the WVU production of DARK OF THE MOON in the fall of 1965. I haven't touched a banjo since.

John and David Hardin played the guitars in that show, if I recall correctly. David also played at the Resort.

I have both of Charlie Quarto's recordings, bought on eBay. Also a story about him in Rolling Stone. A longtime friend of mine almost got involved with him back then; I bought them as a teasing memory for her.


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: Padre
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 10:02 PM

JJ,

Charlie Quarto - I had forgotten him - truly a mad man!!

My mother still lives in Morgantown, so next time I am up there I will drive slowly up Spruce street and tip my hat.

Do you remember a really tall guy named John Swalm, who used to sing at the LR?


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: JJ
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 08:59 AM

Padre

I, too, remember the Last Resort in Morgantown. I spent a lot of time in that basement, 65-68, some listening to the folk music, but more working on the theatre they occasionally produced, IRMA LA DOUCE, USA and several revues directed by Jim Conaway.

Jim Vellenoweth ran the place, under the auspices of the Methodist Church. Performers I remember include Jim Bob Kessinger and Charlie Quarto, the mad poet, who later cut two LPs and wrote a number of country songs.

Alas, it is no more, and a restaurant called Joyce's now occupies the site on Spruce Street where so many were made so happy for so little so long ago...

JJ


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: Deckman
Date: 26 Nov 05 - 12:27 AM

Dianavan ... of course I remember you ... at the LAST EXIT ... it's walls were always painted flat black ... cheap paint. You always sat close to the kitchen and just around the side from the chess table!

What timess ... EH???
CHEERS Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: Joybell
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 11:45 PM

Long shot and I notice that the original request is a year old but Hildebrand knew a girl who was often taken for Joan Baez back in the 60s. It was in Boston. She made a point of letting people believe she was Joan. He thinks that the name's the same. There's a bit more but it won't help.
In answer to the original question - Yes, he thinks he did. Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: Padre
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 10:55 PM

In the 60's, when I was a grad student at WVU, there was a coffehouse called 'The Last Resort' run by one of the campus church groups. If you sang (Fri and Sat only) you got a hamburger and a coke for each set. No big names, but a lot of fun (and it was a cheap date!)

Padre


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 25 Nov 05 - 10:42 AM

...and Chicago's No Exit is still going now (even if not exactly going strong) in November of 2005 and they have wonderful small venue productions of larger shows like "Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris". Current owner David James of THE HEARTLAND CAFE (right down the street) ought to be heartily commended for keeping the venerable old place alive.

Our son, Chris, lives very close to the No Exit now---and he hangs out there and at the Heartland Cafe. What goes around, comes around !! ------ As a baby, we used to carry him into the place on Thursday nights for my regular gigs there in the 1970s.

Art


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Subject: RE: Great Coffee Houses
From: GUEST,janet yacht
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 01:17 PM

The Figaro in 1957, Rienzi's, NYC, you could sit there till 4AM playing chess and drinking a lousy cup of tastless coffee, but no one would ask you to leave.


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