Caffe Cino Closes, the Old Reliable Rises

Caffe Cino Closes, the Old Reliable Rises

A group of Caffe Cino mainstays—Michael Smith, Robert Patrick, Magie Dominic, and Charles Stanley—helped keep the coffeehouse open, but they were getting too many citations and summonses from the city. Even before it permanently closed in 1968, many of the regulars stayed away. “I stopped going to the Cino because I guess I was in mourning without knowing it,” William Hoffman said. “It was such a shock and it was no longer the same place.” During this period, he began going to Norman Hartman’s Old Reliable Theatre Tavern. This old-school bar was located in a volatile neighborhood, on Third Street between Avenues B and C. “In the back room of this smelly bar,” Hoffman recalled, “we put on fantastic plays at the time and I learned how to be a director. I followed Bob Patrick there.” After Patrick’s turbocharged energy was unleashed at Caffe Cino, he became even more prolific at the Old Reliable. Patrick and Hoffman were part of the bohemian migration away from the West Village in search of cheaper rents and new adventures, with ailing bars like the Old Reliable willing to let them do their thing.

From Chapter 14 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


Old Reliable Theatre Tavern
231 E 3rd St, New York, NY 10009