In 1959 opens a venue that would later become a station for Rock music.
At “Cafe Wha?” in Greenwich Village, New York, hosted the biggest names in the scene.
Perhaps his most important moment was when former Animals bassist Chas Chandler discovered Jimi Hendrix.
But let’s start from the beginning. In 1959, Manny Roth, an actor, and World War II veteran, opens his café.
Entering the area from a steep staircase, he sees the basement area that used to be a horse stable.
Roth repaired the entire space, placing marbles on his own and painting the walls black to make it look like a cave.
It was like a cafe where musicians, comedians, and artists of all types played all afternoon and evening.
The artists were paid by baskets that passed between the public and everyone gave what they wanted.
In his biography, Bob Dylan describes it as “an underground cave, without drinks, poor lighting, low ceilings, like a wide dining room with chairs and tables.”
The place changed hands and name in 1968 when it was taken over by Menachem “Manny” Dworman, who ran it as “Cafe Feenjon” until 1987.
In 1986 Dworman’s son Noam formed a band of the area’s most talented musicians, and they began playing in Feenjon.
Very quickly the band becomes famous and from appearances only 2 times a week, it plays every day.
Rename “Cafe Wha?” in 1987, but also the style of the space becomes more Rock.
On January 24, 1961, Bob Dylan first appeared in “Cafe Wha?” and continues to appear for a long time every afternoon.
Richie Havens proposes to Roth in 1966 to hire Jimi Hendrix.
He forms a band as “Jimmy James and the Blue Flames” and plays five sets six times a week.
There Chas Chandler discovers him, takes him to England, where he promotes his career.
In 1967 Bruce Springsteen with the band The Castiles appeared in the afternoons for about two months.
Van Halen singer David Lee Roth, Manny Roth’s nephew, appears live on “Cafe Wha?”
Times change for sure, but some things remain the same, such as the Rock story and “Cafe Wha?” which still stands where it all started.