Manhattan – Greenwich Village
116 MacDougal St between Bleecker and W 3rd Sts
Manhattan, NY 10012
John Mitchell opened the Gaslight Cafe in 1958 in a grimy converted coal cellar under a bar called the Kettle of Fish. According to legend, the very low ceiling made it impossible to stand upright in the room, so the owner lowered the dirt floor by shoveling it out himself. Mitchell played a crucial role in establishing the coffeehouse as a Greenwich Village countercultural institution and made the Gaslight a showcase for poets and monologuists. In 1961, he sold the club and the entertainment changed to folk music—which could play on until dawn, since the Gaslight did not serve alcohol. The Gaslight closed in 1971.