40 Years Of Great Live Music & Dining!


Since November 1972, the Towne Crier Cafe has presented the finest in live folk, jazz, blues, Celtic, bluegrass, cajun, zydeco, roots and world music. Connoisseurs of fine dining and live music from throughout Upstate New York's Hudson Valley have found it worth the little adventure to visit our intimate club in the Pawling - Quaker Hill area in Dutchess County for evenings with talent such as Rosanne Cash, Alison Krauss, Arlo Guthrie, Lucinda Williams, Don McLean, Richie Havens, Livingston Taylor, Shawn Colvin, Pete Seeger, Suzanne Vega, Leon Redbone and many, many more who have performed on our stage.

 

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The Towne Crier is available for private parties, seminars, business meetings and all types of affairs. We'll design a memorable party for you. Contact us to create your event!

 

More Than Just Great Music

Our highly acclaimed dining experience features a variety of delicacies, prepared fresh by our executive chef, Erich Panhofer, and our renowned pastry chef Mary Ciganer. See our menus.

 

The Towne Crier Cafe in NY's Hudson Valley ~ live folk, jazz, blues, Celtic, bluegrass, zydeco, roots and world music.   Some artists who've graced our stage since 1972 include... Acoustic Alchemy · Mose Allison · David Amram · Eric Andersen · Brian Auger · Aztec Two-Step · Bacon Brothers ~ Kevin Bacon & Michael Bacon · Balfa Freres · Pete Best (of The Beatles) · Norman Blake · Karla Bonoff · Bothy Band · Paul Brady & Andy Irvine · Oscar Brand · David Bromberg · Greg Brown · Buckwheat Zydeco · David Byrne · Rosanne Cash · Tom Chapin · C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band · The Clancy Brothers · Vassar Clements · Commander Cody · Billy Collins · Shawn Colvin · Larry Coryell · Elizabeth Cotton · James Cotton · Papa John Creach · J.D. Crowe & The New South · Rick Danko · Iris Dement · Hazel Dickens · Ani DiFranco · Dr. John · Dry Branch Fire Squad · Jonathan Edwards · Ramblin' Jack Elliott · Fairport Convention · Mimi Fariña · Bela Fleck & The Flecktones · Steve Forbert · Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus Of Dreams · Ronnie Gilbert · Eliza Gilkyson · Steve Goodman · Leslie Gore · John Gorka · Patty Griffin · David Grisman · Stefan Grossman · Arlo Guthrie · John Hall · John Hammond · John Hartford · Annie Haslam & Renaissance · Richie Havens · Colin Hay · Michael Hedges · Levon Helm · John Herald · Dan Hicks · The Highwaymen · Hothouse Flowers · Hot Tuna · Garth Hudson · Ian Hunter · Janis Ian · Eileen Ivers · James Earl Jones · Danny Kalb · Lucy Kaplansky · Steve Katz · Jorma Kaukonen · Bill Keith · Leo Kottke · Alison Krauss & Union Station · Sonny Landreth · Tony Levin · John Leventhal · David Lindley · Taj Mahal · Tommy Makem · John Mayall · Don McLean · Country Joe McDonald · John McEuen (of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) · Kate & Anna McGarrigle · Roger McGuinn · Ralph McTell · Pat Metheny · Buddy & Julie Miller · Bill Miller · Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys · Scotty Moore · Geoff Muldaur · Maria Muldaur · Charlie Musselwhite · Holly Near · Tracy Nelson · New Riders Of The Purple Sage · New Grass Revival · Randy Newman · Willie Nile · NRBQ · Laura Nyro · October Project · Odetta · Orleans · Graham Parker · Tom Paxton · The Persuasions · U. Utah Phillips · Bucky Pizzarelli · John Pizzarelli · Maddy Prior · Queen Ida · Red Clay Ramblers · Leon Redbone · John Renbourn · Tony Rice · Riders In The Sky · Jean Ritchie · The Roches · Garnet Rogers · Stan Rogers · Roomful Of Blues · Arlen Roth · Peter Rowan · Tom Rush · Leon Russell · Tom Russell · Buffy Sainte-Marie · Samite (of Uganda) · John Sebastian · Mike Seeger · Peggy Seeger · Penny Seeger · Nick Seeger · Pete Seeger · Seldom Scene · Paul Shaffer · Richard Shindell · Michelle Shocked · Bobby Short · Silly Wizard · Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown · Ricky Skaggs · Chris Smither · Phoebe Snow · Solas · Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys · The Andy Statman Klezmer Orchestra · Steeleye Span · Al Stewart · Andy M. Stewart · John Stewart · Strawbs · Patrick Street · The Subdudes · Andy Summers · Tannahill Weavers · Chip Taylor · Kate Taylor · Koko Taylor · Livingston Taylor · 10,000 Maniacs · Richard Thompson · Peter Tork · Artie Traum · Happy Traum · Derek Trucks Band · McCoy Tyner · Ian Tyson · Jay Ungar & Molly Mason · Dave Van Ronk · Suzanne Vega · Vivino Brothers Band · Loudon Wainwright III · Rufus Wainwright · Sloan Wianwright · Tom Waits · Doc Watson · Jim Weider · Gillian Welch · The Whites · Buck White & The Down Home Folks · David Wilcox · Dar Williams · Robin & Linda Williams · Cris Williamson · Lucinda Williams · Jesse Winchester · Paul Winter · Wishbone Ash · Kate Wolf · Victor Wooten · Peter Yarrow · Jesse Colin Young · · ·

 

 

Towne Crier to close, hopes to relocate

 

The Poughkeepsie Journal - Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

John W Barry

Jan 1, 2012

 

The Towne Crier Cafe, a restaurant and music venue that over the last four decades has welcomed hundreds of musicians on its stage, David Byrne from the Talking Heads, Andy Summers from The Police and Pete Seeger among them, is closing.

 

Owner Phil Ciganer made his decision after his lease expired and the building was put up for sale by its owner. But he hopes to open a new location -- which would be the Towne Crier's fourth -- and is "seriously considering" the City of Poughkeepsie. Ciganer's second choice would be Westchester.

 

"I think it's terribly, terribly sad," said Kiriaki Bozas, a singer-songwriter from Poughkeepsie who has performed at the Towne Crier's open mike, showcase evening and as an opening act. "It was always a dream of mine to perform there and having the opportunity to do so was a big step in my career."

 

Also shaping Ciganer's decision are new venues that have opened in the region, including Infinity Hall in Norfolk, Conn., which can hold more than 300 people. And, he added, the struggling economy. His current location seats 140.

 

"In order for me to stay competitive, I have to be in that arena," said Ciganer, a resident of Dover Plains. "One of the secrets of the Towne Crier's success is, I have adjusted to the times -- and that's what I'm trying to do, I'm adjusting to the times."

 

Ciganer would also like to design a venue in an area with a larger population.

 

"The Towne Crier," he said, "needs a change."

 

This establishment -- which will host shows through February -- is yet another example of the rich arts community that is a cornerstone of life in the Hudson Valley.

 

From the Hudson River school of art to Seeger -- a Dutchess Junction resident -- to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on the site of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in Sullivan County to the Bardavon 1869 Opera House in Poughkeepsie, which has hosted both Mark Twain and Bob Dylan, our region boasts a historic arts legacy that impacts the economy, attracts residents and provides a wide range of cultural offerings.

 

Ciganer's stage has hosted many different acts, performers and personalities.

 

"It's a great little place -- the food is good, great music," said Doug Sawicki of LaGrange. "It's intimate, personal."

 

Towne Crier audiences have seen:

 

- Dance, film and vaudeville acts.

 

- Actor James Earl Jones of Pawling, on two occasions, join Woodstock Music and Art Fair veteran Richie Havens on stage.

 

- Jimmy Vivino, who is now band leader for Conan O'Brien's late-night television show, back up Woodstock festival veteran John Sebastian. Vivino and Sebastian were joined by Paul Shaffer and Will Lee from David Letterman's band, who were in the audience.

 

- Suzanne Vega as an opening act.

 

- Talking Heads founder David Byrne join Richard Thompson for a performance filmed by the BBC.

 

- Summers, guitarist for The Police, play an evening of acoustic Brazilian guitar music.

 

"We're losing a great music venue that's kept the Hudson Valley supplied with entertainment for many, many years," said Woodstock resident Jim Weider, a guitarist who has performed as a headliner at the Towne Crier many times and will play there Jan. 27 with Blue Chicken. "Phil's going to be sorely missed -- until he comes back."

 

The Towne Crier employs 12-16 people and will close for a few months while Ciganer secures a new location.

If Ciganer relocates to Poughkeepsie, his new site could serve lunch and dinner and hold 250-300 people for a show.

 

Downtown Poughkeepsie, where Ciganer is considering relocating, is home to The Chance, with a capacity of 748; the Bardavon, with a capacity of 944; and the Mid-Hudson Civic Center with a general admission capacity of 3,050.

 

Ciganer opened the Towne Crier on Nov. 21, 1972, after running a boutique in Brooklyn. While in New York City, he also staged concerts featuring the Grateful Dead and hosted after-hour jam sessions attended by Jimi Hendrix.

 

He had planned to open a club in Austin, Texas, but after finding a site in the Lone Star State, returned briefly to the Northeast. That's when an artist friend from New York City asked him for help transporting a sculpture of a toothbrush to Dutchess County.

 

The destination was a former general store and inn on Beekman Road in the hamlet of Beekmanville that had been a major stagecoach stop on the route from Danbury to Newburgh.

 

Ciganer scrapped his plans for Texas and opened the Towne Crier in the old general store and inn in Beekmanville. He relocated to Millbrook in 1987, then moved to the current site in Pawling, on Route 22, in 1988.

 

"I'm proud of my 40 years," Ciganer said. "130 Route 22 is an address. The Towne Crier is not going away."

 

The Rolling Stones inquired about performing a warm-up gig for their 1989 Steel Wheels tour at the Towne Crier Cafe, but the stage was too small. The band opted for Toad's Place in New Haven, Conn., instead.

 

Singer Paula Cole asked Towne Crier Cafe owner Phil Ciganer to free up a night so she could do a warm-up show prior to a concert at Madison Square Garden. But Ciganer turned Cole down because he would have had to bump a local musician. He later turned down The Corrs for the same reason.

 

Prior to the release of her Grammy-winning record, "Come Away with Me," Norah Jones asked Ciganer if she could perform at the Towne Crier Cafe. But the headliner didn't want an opening act.

 

"A lot of them slipped away over the years," Ciganer told the Journal in 2003. "But my thing has always been to support the local artists. If you're from out of the area, you get second consideration."

 

Towne Crier Cafe
Open evenings Wed thru Sun; Closed Mon & Tues
130 Route 22, Pawling, NY · (845) 855-1300