The Bitter End


147 Bleecker St
Manhattan , NY 10012
Greenwich Village

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Fred Weintraub opened the Bitter End in 1961 as a no-alcohol talent showcase where he presented up-and-coming acts like Peter, Paul and Mary (who made their debut there that year), Joan Baez and Woody Allen. Paul Colby became the club’s manager and talent booker and, eventually, owner. The Everly Brothers, Bill Withers, Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and Neil Young all played the Bitter End during the ’60s and ’70s; Randy Newman, Curtis Mayfield and Arlo Guthrie recorded live albums at the club. In the summer of 1975, a series of late-night jams with Bob Dylan, Patti Smith Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Bobby Neuwirth took place at the club, setting the stage for the Rolling Thunder Revue. In 1992, the same year the City gave the Bitter End landmark status, the club’s landlord launched eviction proceedings. A settlement was reached following a series of benefit concerts (starring former Bitter End headliners Kris Kristofferson and George Carlin) and the intervention of City Council members. Colby’s book, The Bitter End: Hanging Out at America's Nightclub, was published in 2002. Colby, Paul Rizzo and Kenny Gorka, partners since 1993, still present live music every night at the oldest rock club in New York City.

Photo: Alexander Thompson
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