When you imagine a 1930s West Village bar or club, a hole-in-the-wall speakeasy or dimly lit jazz joint probably comes to mind. But the popular Village Barn, in the basement of 52 West Eighth Street, had a hokey, country yokel theme, where, as a 1939 New York Times article put it, “the humor is rough and ready, the accents nasal, the costumes rural.”
The only clue to the hick theme in this 1936 New Yorker ad is the bit about live turtle races. Turtle races?
When the Village Barn closed in the late 1960s, it became Electric Lady Studios, where Jimi Hendrix, The Clash, and pretty much every other rock group recorded. Above ground was the late, great 8th Street Playhouse, which ran cult classics and revivals until it shut its doors in 1992.