Thursday, January 24, 2013

The In Room, 1048 Old County Road, Belmont, CA

The In Room was located on Old County Road "a few lots north of the Belmont Iceland" (815 Old County Road) approximately 1 mile north of Ralston Avenue on the east side of the street (same side as Iceland) according to a long time Belmont resident named Jim who worked there as a bouncer after getting out of the service.
The bar was in business from 1964-66, was wild and closed after local neighbors complained to the police. Currently the 1000 block of Old County Road is just south of Ralston Avenue on the west side or train track side. In 2012 there were apartment complexes there.
According to Jim, the club was previously an up scale restaurant and not affiliated with a hotel which is on the internet. Jim does remember seeing the Warlocks and the Beau Brummels there. (5)
McNally describes "It was a heavy hitting divorcee's pick-up joint, the sort of swinging bar where real-estate salesmen chased stewardesses and single women got plenty of free drinks. Dark, with red and black as the color scheme, it was the kind of place that sold almost nothing but hard liquor.

The Warlocks were booked at the In Room for six weeks, from mid-September until late October of 1965. They played five 50-minute sets a night, five nights a week. 150 sets later, The Warlocks were a real band. The first week they had backed The Coasters for a set each night, but for the balance of the run they covered the gig themselves. They would start out playing almost straight-up, but as they got higher and the night got looser, their playing got more "barbaric." Oddly enough, they started to build their own audience of nascent freaks, who would show up for the later sets, distinctly different than the hard-drinking pick up crowd. One night, for example, a band of Tacoma transplants called The Frantics ended up hanging out there, which is how Moby Grape guitarist Jerry Miller and Jerry Garcia first met.(1)

The In Room was in Belmont, half way between Palo Alto and San Francisco. The Warlocks had played a little further up the El Camino (The Fireside and Big Al's), but the In Room stood for a mid-point. The Warlocks were a real band making real money (if not a lot), but they were still doing their own thing and finding their own audience, so they were half way there.(1)

Jerry performed here
approximately 30 nights over a six week period from
Mid September-late October 1965  The Warlocks
McNally: "By the end of October, it became clear that the In Room could get along without them...and they brought the run to a close. As they packed their gear into the Pontiac on the last night, the manager [told them] 'You guys will never make it. You're too weird.'" 
McNally: "A couple of Family Dog members had gone to the In Room to check out the Warlocks as a possible band for their first show, but they decided the boys didn't have enough original songs to make the cut."
What's interesting is not so much that the boys didn't make the cut, but that the Family Dog folks had heard of them in the first place, in early October '65!(4)

1.)^Arnold, Corry, Lost Live Dead, 2011-09-16,
2.)^jgmf, 2010-05-10, comment, Lost Live Dead
3.)^McNally, Dennis, Long Strange Trip, pg. 88.
4.)^Light Into Ashes, comments, 2011-09-30,
5.)^johnny, comments, Lost Live Dead, 2011-06-03


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  2. The confusion may be that it was not in Belmont but just outside in San Mateo. There is a Villa Hotel there at 4200 El Camino Real that is now used as assisted senior housing. It is right next to a little shopping district that is called Bel Mateo which might help lead to the confusion. Across the railroad tracks is Pacific Boulevard which was apparently Old County Road at one time before it was developed for housing around that time. Now Old County Road starts where Pacific ends at the Belmont border.

    What is now the Qube was perhaps the In Room.,-122.291519,3a,75y,265.27h,90t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sAF1QipOH_QhmsJu5BJkUVTw8uPWHG7zb8cC2qY1o90fs!2e10!3e11!!7i11000!8i5500