The world mourns for David Lee Roth, aka Diamond Dave, the legendary frontman for hard rock pioneers Van Halen, as he mourns the death of his significantly less famous uncle Manny (lower right inset).
Well, you’re here now, so you might as well read the rest of this thing, despite the false pretense of the title. Hey, that’s how they got me to watch eight seasons of Home Improvement before I realized I was still no closer to knowing how to weatherproof my deck. You take your losses.
Anyway, Manny Roth was the owner of “Cafe Wha?,” the famous Greenwich Village nightclub that was home to all manner of 60s counter-culture weirdos from Lenny Bruce to Bob Dylan to Jimi Hendrix. “Cafe Wha?,” of course, was a shortened version of the club’s original name; “Cafe What the Hell is in Allen Ginsberg’s Beard?” (Shrimp scampi. It was shrimp scampi.)
In 1959, someone told Mr. Roth about a garage that used to be an old horse stable on Macdougal between Bleecker and West Third Streets. You had to go down steep stairs to reach the dark, dank basement, which was bisected by a trough once used as a gutter for horse dung. Mr. Roth immediately recognized it as an excellent site for a coffee house — that legendary genre of cafe where, at least in the haziness of memory, hipsters smoked, sipped espresso and discussed Sartre.
I’m not sure what kind of mental state a person has to be in to see the crusted remains of animal feces and immediately think, “yeah, people should probably be eating here,” but somehow it worked and, despite a temporary change of ownership, continues to operate to this day. So if you were looking for a place to hang out with hipsters so entrenched in their own haughtiness that their chunky glasses only work if they’re looking at an Arcade Fire concert, Cafe Wha? in 2014 is probably a safe bet. Or, if you wanted to get even deeper into the culture, I hear the new place to hang out and pretend to work on your manuscript is a club situated on a single plank of wood protruding from the remains of a tenement fire somewhere on Detroit’s lower east side. The WiFi password is “PuppyPaws87.”
Source: The NY Times