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Chronicles: Cafe Wha

Cafe WhaOpening in the 1950s, the hip Cafe Wha played host to some of the greatest of its generation. Young writers and singers, such as Alan Ginsberg and Bob Dylan, came to drink and perform here and comedians Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, Joan Rivers, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor all received an early start on the Cafe Wha stage.
In fact, the legend of Bob Dylan’s beginnings takes place at Cafe Wha. The soft spoke singer often told people that he arrived in New York on a freight train. Well, he actually landed in the city via a 1957 Impala. Having been told that Greenwich Village was the center of the universe for the folk and Beat scene, Dylan made his way downtown on January 24th 1961 and his first stop was Cafe Wha. Within the next few days, Dylan was onstage and his career began.

Cafe Wha currently sits on the corner of MacDougal and Minetta Lane, but don’t let the venue’s website fool you, the original Cafe Wha, the location where all the afore mentioned caroused, was next door at 117 MacDougal. The owner, Manny Roth, uncle to David Lee Roth, sold the original property in 1988, it is now the Comedy Cellar.
Cafe Wha is packed every night and often with tourists. There is a cover charge and drink minimum.
Cafe Wha
115 MacDougal Street, New York, NY‎ – (212) 254-3706‎

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