Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coffee Gallery, 1353 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, California

Coffee Gallery
1353 Grant Avenue
San Francisco, California
37° 47' N / 122° 24' W

Capacity unknown
This spot was a bohemian hangout, always extremely seedy, and always popular. Originally called Miss Smith's Tea Room, the club then offered Beat entertainment. On weekends you'd hear Pony Poindexter or Bev Kelly, and on weeknights poets. In it's heyday, the Coffee Gallery was full of romantic visionaries, spaced-out poets, and boozing locals.[5]
Bop saxophonist Pony Poindexter ran the house combo in the late fifties, and the joint hosted a benefit one night in 1960 to raise money for a sprinkler system in a nearby club, The Cellar. The six hour jam session featured everything from Jimmy Rushing belting the blues to Duke Ellington reciting poetry.

On October 15, 1965, The Great Society performed at the opening of the Coffee Gallery. Band members included Darby, Jerry and Grace Slick. San Francisco State College Vietnam Day Committee Teach-In. Country Joe and the Fish entertained.
Although an occasional out of towner passed thru the club-comedians Lord Buckley and Hugh Romney (Wavy Gravy) played here-it was the North Beach music hopefuls who commanded the stage most of the time. The owner was Leo Riegler.[5]
Long before her days with a rock band, Janis Joplin sang country blues, one of thousands of young unknown folkies to play at the Coffee Gallery over the years.[1]
The club changed it's name to Lost and Found when Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and band wandered in on an off night from touring and soon took over the bandstand from the everyday blues band that was booked for the evening, delivering a rocking blues jam, much to the astonishment of the dozen or so customers watching.[1]
John Cippolina, with Thunder and Lightning, performed here on November 3, 1979.[2]
In 2012 it's still called Lost and Found Saloon.

Jerry performed here in
Alan Trist Robert Hunter
"When they had a working car, they often would go up to San Francisco to wander around North Beach and soak up what was left of the Beat scenes at places like City Lights Books and the Coffee Gallery.(7)

1963 Sara Ruppenthal, Marshall Leicester, Suzy Wood
“At least one of these gigs was as an a cappella quartet."[3]

8/63 Wildwood Boys (David Nelson, Ken Frankel)(4)
Jerry plays a nickel plated Weyman 5 string banjo known as "John".
Robert Hunter does not perform.
"I know Jerry used to play at the Coffee Gallery when David Meltzer was hosting Monday night hootenannies."[6]

Coffee Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1.)^Selvin, Joel, San Francisco, the Musical History Tour, pg. 33, 34.
3.)^Katz, Sara, 2015-01-26, email to author.
4.)^Grushkin, Paul, Grateful Dead:The Official Book Of The Deadheads, pg. 194.
5.)^Morgan, Bill, The Beat Generation in San Francisco: A Literary Tour, pg. 49, http://books.google.com/books?id=TvLu3q4SEgoC&pg=PA27&lpg=PA27&dq=garibaldi+hall,+san+francisco&source=bl&ots=mIQm_85VJq&sig=l8kAB6ah0aV4Qaq7C2CXCtsJT3w&hl=en&sa=X&ei=KLWEVMWZG4zaoAT_x4LwDg&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=garibaldi%20hall%2C%20san%20francisco&f=false
6.)^Garrett, City Lights Bookstore, 2015-04-30, email to author.
7.)^Jackson, Blair, Garcia: An American Life, pg.36.


  1. San francisco venues has astounding indoor event space and marvelously decorated outdoor terraces with Bay Area

  2. The Coffee Gallery was my favorite place to hang out in the late 60s. I performed there myself on open mic nights twice. The first time was a disaster. I more or less redeemed myself the second time, but I had learned my lesson. I was not cut out to be a performer. I remember the place with great fondness.

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  7. They played the jukebox in the bar while the band was playing in the next room.


  8. Used to play there and another place down Grant on the corner of Columbus and Grant. It went through different names but at one time was called M.D.R. The Coffee Gallery was a real dive.

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