Village Barn, New York 1960s
Audience participation was the point of The Village Barn, a hillbilly-themed restaurant and nightclub in Greenwich Village, New York, opened in 1930 by entrepreneur Meyer Horowitz.
Customers entered the basement location by a steep set of stairs, and the interior was made to look like a barn with harnesses, wagon wheels and horse collars on the walls, lighting hidden inside milk cans and buggy lanterns, hay strewn on the floor and walls covered in mis-spelled graffiti.
Homespun food such as pot roasts, corn fritters and biscuits were served along with copious amounts of alcohol, post- Prohibition. In later years, the menu became more refined.
A ‘highlight’ of the entertainment was live turtle races as well as noisy games like musical chairs. There was square dancing, bucking hobby horses (like slow mechanical bulls) for customers to ride and thrice-nightly revues featuring folk musicians and hillbilly comedians (the hillbillies were mostly local Jewish and Italian comedians).
A 1939 New York Times review of the Village Barn noted: ’The humor is rough and ready, the accents nasal and the costumes rural.’
From 1948 – 1950, TV’s first country music show was broadcast from the premises. The Village Barn stayed in business until 1967 when it became a nightclub - The Generation. In 1968 Jimi Hendrix and his manager Michael Jeffrey bought the now defunct club and turned into the legendary Electric Lady Studios.
Above ground was the 8th Street Playhouse which ran cult classics and revivals until it closed in 1992.
Each order includes a print of the interior menu.
All printed in USA.