Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cafe Wha? and The Purple Onion: Where The Beat Elite Used To Meet

Cafe Wha? in New York and The Purple Onion in San Francisco are two of the original beatnik hangouts that are still in existence today,

"Since the 1950s the Café Wha? has been a favorite hot spot cornered in the heart of Greenwich Village. The 60s was an impressionable and revolutionary era. Artists of the time frequented the Café Wha? as it was known to be a sanctuary for talent; Allen Ginsberg regularly sipped his cocktails here. The Café Wha? was the original stomping ground for prodigies Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. Bruce Springsteen, Peter, Paul & Mary, Kool and the Gang, as well as comedians, Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby also began their road to stardom on this historic stage. The Café Wha? encompassed the Beat Generation and continues to hold tight to its spirit, entertaining all walks of life."

"The Purple Onion is a celebrated cellar club in the North Beach area of San Francisco, California located at 140 Columbus Avenue (between Jackson and Pacific). With an intimate, 80-person setting, the club was a popular influence in local music and entertainment during the Beat era.

Notable entertainers who either got their starts or played the club in the 1950s and 1960s include Maya Angelou, Jim Neighbors, Bob Newheart, Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, Phyllis Diller (who made her stand-up debut here), the Kingston Trio (then a quartet), and the Smothers Brothers (then a trio --who recorded their first album, Live at the Purple Onion there. Richard Pryor also performed at The Purple Onion."

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