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Hudson Valley Magazine

Towne Crier Cafe Relocates to Beacon

towne crier cafe

Photograph by Roger Garbow

Hudson Valley Magazine
November 24, 2013

The iconic live music venue says goodbye to Pawling and hello to Beacon

What a difference a year makes. In 2012, Phil Ciganer, the founder/owner of the Towne Crier Cafe — the legendary live music venue in Pawling that helped launch the careers of the likes of Pete Seeger, Pat Metheny, and Richie Havens — celebrated 40 years of rock ’n roll. This milestone was marked by varied celebrations, but it soon became apparent that all the hoopla was going to serve as a goodbye party, too. Earlier in the year, Ciganer had made a sad announcement: They had lost their lease and would be closing their doors. But after an outpouring of support from the community, Ciganer started the search for a new home.

Last January, he announced that one had been found: a renovated building on Beacon’s Main Street. In October, the 8,000-square-foot, 250-seat, state-of-the-art club opened its doors, and a steady stream of performers and fans have rocked the house ever since. Four-dollar Open Mic Nights on Mondays and Wednesdays have already become a popular, according to Ciganer. And the new farm-fresh fine dining menu is a big draw (you can eat without seeing a show), and the much-ballyhooed desserts served in Pawling (and created by Mary Ciganer, Phil’s wife and a pastry chef) have also made the move. Open six nights a week for dinner and for brunch on weekends, the reinvented club proves there is nothing to cry about in Dutchess County after all.

Read article »

Van Wyck Gazette Cover

Beacon Welcomes the Towne Crier

Van Wyck Gazette CoverVan Wyck Gazette | Spring 2013
by Mike Jurkovic

Stops along The Stagecoach: Beacon Welcomes the Towne Crier

As Beacon prepares for its July 16 centennial, the Towne Crier — rich in its own forty-plus years of harmonic and rhythmic memory — readies its next incarnation at 379 Main Street, in the aforementioned town of Beacon. It’s a natural pairing… Read article »

Bluegrass Today

Mike Compton at the Towne Crier

Mike Compton

Bluegrass Today | April 29, 2013
by Dick Bowden

Many know Mike Compton from the Nashville Bluegrass Band and John Hartford String Band, or from duet appearances. Many students have taken his mandolin classes. He IS the acknowledged Monroe-style master.

When I learned Mike was appearing solo April 21 at the Towne Crier in Pawling NY, I thought “How can he go on stage, stand on his hind feet and entertain for an hour and a half with just a mandolin??”… Read article »

New York Times

Mainstay for Music, Trying Not to Leave

by Wendy Carlson for The New York Times

by Wendy Carlson for The New York Times

New York Times | April 6, 2012
by Phillip Lutz

SET well back from the highway, a nondescript two-lane stretch in exurban Pawling, the Towne Crier has a modest, multihued exterior gussied up with faux-Southwestern frills. Inside, though, the club’s pedigree is readily apparent. On a Saturday night last month, a coterie of fans sang and swayed to the finely wrought tunes of the troubadour Steve Forbert. After the set Mr. Forbert found solitude, as he had dozens of times before, in a dressing room plastered with posters of the famous acts that had played the club — including one of the British rocker Ian Hunter, who had dropped in earlier for a plate of shrimp tostadas and some camaraderie. Read article »


Towne Crier Café Moves to Beacon

Old Towne Crier Cafe

Chronogram | January 26, 2013
by Carolyn Quimby

After nearly a year of searching, the Towne Crier Café has found a new location to call home. In spring 2013, after 25 years in Pawling, Phil Ciganer’s live music club will move to a renovated industrial building in Beacon.

When the club lost its lease in early 2012, Ciganer thought about permanently closing their doors, but he said the outpouring of community support steered him toward a new vision of the club. His search for a new location led him to Beacon’s lower Main Street historic district, which has a lively arts and culture scene… Read article »

Towne Crier Moving To Beacon

Taj Mahal at Towne Crier

Beacon Streets | January 18, 2013
by Underpaid Genius

Pat Manning recently confirmed that the Towne Crier Cafe of Pawling NY will be moving to Beacon, and now the official word is out as well. Apparently there was a holdup in the permit approvals for the Town Crier occupying half of the Market Square renovation of the old DMV building, but that has now been accomplished… Read article »

Poughkeepsie Journal

VIDEO: Towne Crier Cafe Heading to Beacon

Poughkeepsie Journal | January 22, 2013
by John W. Barry

The owner of the Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling is finalizing plans to relocate to Beacon.

Phil Ciganer, who has welcomed Andy Summers of The Police, David Byrne of the Talking Heads and Clark Gayton of the E Street Band, along with many other notable musicians over more than 40 years, hopes to open his new location at 381 Main St. within four to six months. Read article »

Almanac Weekly

Town Crier Cafe to move to Beacon

Phil in 1974

Almanac Weekly | January 17, 2013
by Frances Marion Platt

Acoustic music-lovers of the mid-Hudson, rejoice! The Towne Crier Café will soon be moving from its longtime home in Pawling. And the terrifying rumors that it might be headed for faraway Westchester or Connecticut have turned out to be untrue. In fact, the club’s new site will be considerably more convenient for many local residents: It’s coming to Beacon… Read article »

Hudson Valley Magazine

Still Rockin’ After All These Years

Hudson Valley Magazine

Pawling’s Towne Crier Café celebrates 35 years as a matchless musical showcase

Opening night, November 21, 1972. Just three years after Woodstock. A new music venue called Towne Crier Café, equal parts coffeehouse and hippie hangout, opens its doors in a former general store and stagecoach stop in Beekman. The first act: the Wretched Refuse String Band.

Not exactly Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

But a few weeks later, when an obscure English folksinger’s car broke down on the way to the gig, the club hosted the first of many more-celebrated performers. “This singer was friends with Pete Seeger,” owner Phil Ciganer remembers. “He hooked us up with Pete. So, by accident, in walks Mr. Folksinger himself. No one complained.”

And there have been few complaints in the 35 years since. In an industry where clubs come and go with the latest musical fad, the Towne Crier has a history that’s hard to match anywhere in the country.

The club was a hit early on. “People came out because it was the only venue of its type in the Valley,” Ciganer says. “They were curious.” And they were treated to some fine music. Ciganer, a former Wall Street trader, would seek out talent himself. “I designed the place in 1972 to be a place I wanted to go to. I ask myself, would I pay to see this person? If the answer is only maybe, I pass.”

Over the years, his taste has proved impeccable. Such performers as Leon Redbone, Suzanne Vega, and Shawn Colvin served as opening acts before they became household names. A teenage Béla Fleck ventured up from New York City to hone his banjo chops. These days, Ciganer loves playing musical matchmaker. “Pat Metheny and John Scofield came to me and asked to play together,” he says. “David Byrne and Richard Thompson collaborated. Just last week, John Sebastian was here, and Paul Shaffer jumped up on stage to do some old Lovin’ Spoonful. Then Will Lee from David Letterman’s band hopped up. That’s just what happens here all the time.”

Making a living in the music business is tough, Ciganer admits. He moved the club to its current, more spacious location near Pawling 19 years ago. The coffeehouse fare evolved to fine dining. European-trained Chef Erich Panhofer and Pastry Chef Mary Ciganer offer cuisine that’s a far cry from the herbal tea and brownies of the ’70s.

“The key to survival is that the club has adjusted with the times,” Ciganer says. And even though he has “broken 60,” he has adjusted as well. “Sometimes I ask myself how I could be doing it this long,” he admits, “but when people come out of the club walking on air, looking at me with joy in their eyes, I know why I am doing it.”

— David Levine

New York Times

Now Playing in Pawling

New York Times | January 19, 2003
by Barbara Stewart

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