Stanley’s: a bohemian 1960s East Village bar

For years, the ground-floor of this handsome tenement, on the northwest corner of 12th Street and Avenue B, has been home to a bodega.

But in the early 1960s, it was Stanley’s, “a hip place where Harlem met bohemia,” according to one resident at the time, a hangout for artists, writers, musicians, and other creative types who had begun colonizing the neighborhood real estate folks had just christened the East Village.

A 1965 guide to Greenwich Village had this to say about Stanley’s, as well as the bars that came before it:

“Among its patrons: [Allen] Ginsberg, David Henderson, Calvin Hernton, Tuli Kupferberg, Odetta, Ishmael Reed, Ed Sanders, and actors Lou Gossett, Moses Gunn, and Cicely Tyson,” states The Beat Generation in New York, by Bill Morgan.

Stanley’s was run by Stanley Tolkin, who later opened the Dom on St. Marks Place, a bar-slash-performance space that took heat in the mid to late 1960s for attracting a very uncool crowd.

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11 Responses to “Stanley’s: a bohemian 1960s East Village bar”

  1. The Day | N.Y.P.D. Clears Zuccotti Park of Protesters - The Local East Village Blog - Says:

    […] Ephemeral New York pays homage to Stanley’s, a bygone bar on the corner of 12th Street and Avenue B that in 1965 was described in a guide book as “the granddaddy of the East Village ‘in’ bars.” […]

  2. Michael King Says:

    I lived on east 10th between 1st & 2nd Aves 1961-1965. I nearly always walked west to the Village, to subways, etc. The only reason I ever headed east of 1st Ave. was to go to Stanley’s. It was my favorite bar in NYC.
    It was the best place for a jazz fan to hangout and listen to recorded jazz and to escape all the folk music in West Village.

  3. richard connerty Says:

    I was employed by Stanley Tolkin from 1965-1968, both at the Dom on St. Marks Place and at Stanley’s on Ave B. What a time!
    Tending bar at both places were Aldo Guinta, Charlie Turin, David Gale, Walt Bowart, Mike Robbins, Steve Phillips. Yom Hayes,myself, and many others.
    It was a very interracial scene!

    • Rene Says:

      I was there too
      Gawd I was about 19 when the Dom first opened always looking for Bob Thompson there or at the 5 spot – what days of majick

    • Rene Says:

      I was there too
      Gawd I was about 19 when the Dom first opened always looking for Bob Thompson there or at the 5 spot – what days of majick

  4. Jan Blaszczak Says:

    Dear all, I am working on a book devoted to Stanley Tolkin, therefore I would appreciate, if You agreed to share Your memories related to Mr Tolkin and the extraordinary venues he run. My email is: I would be greatful for any help.

    P.S. This is such an amazing website, congrats!

  5. jessica ley Says:

    in 1966 I met my husband there. It was a very crowded night. He offered me his seat and when I ordered a beer he commented to the bartender (Mac – can’t believe I actually remember his name) “does the young lady have proof of age?” I was 25 and did. We married a year later and lasted 28 years.

  6. Michael Bluegrass McKenna Says:

    I enjoyed so many nights at Stanley’s, I lived in 1st Ave. between 9th and a short walk to many fun times! I remember one night watching a huge snowstorm the the windows of the bar!!

  7. teri Says:

    I am working on my memoirs and just came across this site. I was trying to learn who some of the musicians I heard in 1962-5 might have been when I was 15 – 19 yrs old. I was in Stanley’s the night of the ’65 blackout with candles on the bar. I loved the place. I also danced my first dances in the Dom to ‘Midnight Hr’ and ‘Heard it thru the Grapevine’. And upstairs was the Velvet Underground ! What a time !

  8. September 6-9, 2019. Friday-Monday. NY. Nice city you got here. | Jpw2013 Says:

    […] the East Village has changed and how it’s remained the same. A little research reveals that Dirty Stanley’s, where the urinals were the size of phone booths, is now a bodega at the corner of 12th and Avenue […]

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