Earlier today, news came down via Bowery Boogie that The Hat, the storied Mexican restaurant on the corner of Ludlow and Stanton in the heart of the Lower East Side was slated to soon close its doors. In my usual fashion, I re-posted the news on my Facebook page, appended with this weepy preamble…
In the footsteps of the original Baramundi, the original Ludlow Street Cafe, the Luna Lounge, the Pink Pony, Motor City and -- wait for it -- Max Fish, so vanishes another reason to ever go back to Ludlow Street. Well, I guess Cake Shop's still there. And Katz’s, of course.
Honestly speaking, I stopped being a Ludlow Street regular quite some time ago, and I can’t recall the last time I actually darkened the doors of El Sombrero, but I still have many fond, beery memories of the place. You may remember this post from several years back, wherein I read off a similar laundry list of preferred bars, eateries and live music venues on Ludlow that couldn’t meet the demands of their respective rents. It’s indeed been many years since that street looked like the strip I reminisce about, but it still stings that most of the joints I cared about have vanished. This particular phenomenon is sadly not limited to Ludlow Street either.
Anyway, in the throes of my mourning, I stumbled upon a clip of the place I probably miss that most, that being the Ludlow Street Café. As I wrote in that earlier post, this spot was indeed a great live music venue, but what I loved about it was the Cajun food and the bar. In any case, there’s no year cited on this video, but here’s a walk inside the Ludow Street Café from probably sometime in the very late `80s or early `90s. Note the Missing Foundation graffito at 00:24, before you climb down the steps and into the Café.
I have no idea who George Gilmore is/was, but Beat Rodeo was a band that frequently graced the stage at the Ludlow Street Café. Not exactly my cup of tea -– kinda proto alt.country/NYC cowpunks, for lack of a better description. Check out one of their proper videos beneath (also shot, or so it looks, somewhere on a Lower East Side rooftop).