Kenny’s Castaways, located on 157 Bleecker Street, is a legendary bar that has been opening its doors to live music since 1967. Patrick Kenny, the founder of the bar, gave up and coming musicians their chance to shine up until his death in 2002. Patrick’s legacy still continues today, however, and his son says “the visible traces of Kenny’s history and my dad’s presence are preserved in stories told on our bar stools and the smell of the whiskey soaked floors.”
If you think rockstars start off selling shows in giant venues right off the bat, think again. Most spend their startups in small venues like Kenny’s Castaways waiting to be heard. Kenny’s itself has welcomed Aerosmith, Blues Travleler, Lynard Skynard, upon hundreds of over bands before they hit it big. In fact, Bruce Springsteen played his first gig here. Check out the flyer below and note the mispelling of his name. You can be certain that wouldn’t happen today!The bar has a cozy feel to it and offers tons of live shows multiple times a day. The stage is quite small but the upstairs offers a great view performances when the downstairs is crowded, making it a great experience for everyone. It’s a casual bar so no need to dress up. Let’s face it, rockers play here so it’s what you’d expect. The coolest part about this bar is the sign above the entrance to the stage area which reads “Through these portals, walk the famous.” It’s a great way to remember all the talent this bar has seen over the past 40+ years, and also a way support the talent of today.
The clip below features the band Relentless 7, formed in 2008 featuring Grammy award winner Ben Harper as the lead man. It’s a great cover of the Led Zeppelin hit “Good Times, Bad Times” and shows the talent of today paying tribute to the past.
To reminiscent on the greats who started off here, grab a cold one, and maybe see the next big thing, book the West Village Pub Crawl today and explore other historic bars while you’re at it.