Founded by two Northwestern students in the Beatnik days of the late '50s, this coffeehouse/performance space has hopped its way through a couple locales and a few owners over the years without squashing its cult status. Its current resting spot is an oasis just off the Morse Red Line, where a few ruffians still linger about and peek their heads through the theft-deterring gates of the cafe.
Conceived as a kind of social-political hub for university students and other young art-loving radicals, the idea was to meet up, shoot the bull and catch some sort of show, be it poetry, jazz or theater. A timeless snapshot of the original wild-haired crew can be found on the wall by the bathroom, and legend has it that sorority girls would be deactivated if they were seen at the place.
Currently, it's more of a scene for literature and plays than hipster hangout, but it's been known to throw a punk show or two. The menu is a simple one: $2.50 for all your coffees, teas and cookies. There's no booze except for when its current owners, located a stone's throw away at Heartland Cafe, cater private parties and shows in the space.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Gavin Paul