Last week, as part of our A Lot About a Plot series, we looked back on the history of some bygone jazz joints, including the Village Gate and Nick’s Tavern. Now you can add another Village venue to the list: Garage Restaurant & Cafe closed its doors on Sunday. So much for its claim of hosting “more live jazz than anywhere in the world.”
Photographer Nick McManus, who documented Sway’s last blast, was also on hand for this sendoff, and snapped a couple of group portraits of final act David Coss, some members of his quartet, and attendees. McManus tells us the goodbye was a “very intimate affair attended mostly by personal friends and longtime fans.” The concert ended around 10:30 p.m. and Garage closed soon after.
In 1930s, the former garage at 99 Seventh Avenue was home to live cockroach races when it was the Nut Club. That establishment, with its scantily-clad waitresses, was said to be touristy, and, truth be told, Garage was as well. But its commitment to live music was unwavering, with cats like John David Simon, identical twins Peter and William Anderson, and Williamsburg’s own Lou Caputo playing two sets nightly.
Garage’s building was put up for lease late last year. The broker, Cushman & Wakefield, noted that “Greenwich Village benefits from one of the highest income-per-capita rates in the country.” The listing does not, of course, mention that the neighborhood is riddled by urban blight caused by empty storefronts as landlords wait for chains to roll in.