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Towne Crier Cafe

Towne Crier Cafe

The Towne Crier Cafe has been a mainstay of New York’s Hudson Valley entertainment industry since 1972. From its beginnings in an old stagecoach stop in the hamlet of Beekmanville, to relocation in the town of Pawling and its current site in the blossoming arts hub of Beacon, the Towne Crier has featured world-class talent in an intimate setting.

The venue offers what The New York Times called “Down-home access to world-class performers.”

GREAT LIVE MUSIC & FINE FOOD in NY’s Hudson Valley since 1972.

Some of the artists who have graced the Towne Crier stage include folk icons such as Pete Seeger, Tom Chapin and Judy Collins; top-tier singer-songwriters like Richard Thompson and Jimmy Webb; stellar instrumentalists like Bela Fleck, McCoy Tyner, Pat Metheny and Leo Kottke; in addition to a variety of Americana, Celtic, jazz, rock, Cajun, zydeco and R&B artists – as well as many who defy categories. The Crier has also featured dance, cabaret, vaudeville, film, spoken word/poetry and theater.

As the Crier celebrates its 50th anniversary, it’s worth taking a journey back to the beginning.

Phil Ciganer was a young trader on the American Stock Exchange in the late 1960s. After work, he’d head down to Greenwich Village and check out music that opened up new vistas. “That became my thing, staying in these clubs until late at night,” says Ciganer. “I realized I’d much rather be in that world than the world I was in.”

Ciganer had a vision of opening a music venue, but was turned off by the drug scene in NYC. He embarked on a journey to find a community where he could nurture that dream. “My thought was, the most progressive community I came across was Austin, Texas,” he says.

As he made plans to head south, however, fate intervened. In 1972, while delivering art to a friend who lived in the bucolic Dutchess County town of Beekman, about 75 miles north of NYC, he came across a charming building that had once been a stagecoach stop. The place captured Ciganer’s imagination. “I decided to try it for three months, and if it didn’t work out, I’d head back to Austin,” he says. Finding a lot of forgotten dry goods in the attic and basement, he decorated the place like a general store/stagecoach stop of bygone days.

The Towne Crier Cafe became a fixture in Beekman, gaining a reputation for presenting some of the finest folk acts such as Pete Seeger, Richie Havens and Odetta. After about 15 years the club moved eastward, to Pawling. Here, the décor had a Southwestern theme, and the previous coffeehouse fare expanded to include full dining options. Hundreds more artists played on that stage.

After spending more than two decades in Pawling, Ciganer grew restless and began looking for a new home for the Crier. His search ended in Beacon, a hip little place on the eastern banks of the Hudson River. The city, which has been enjoying a cultural renaissance, was the good fit; and in 2013 the community welcomed one of the most renowned listening clubs in the nation to its vibrant Main Street. The city is also closely associated with the late, legendary folksinger and activist Pete Seeger, a longtime friend of Ciganer’s; it was another reason he chose to drop anchor in Beacon.

Nearly ten years later, the Towne Crier Cafe is a Beacon institution, a home base for some of the finest local talent as well as a showcase for a wide variety of national and international talent. The recipient of several awards throughout its history, the Towne Crier’s recent honors include the 2018 Dutchess County Executive’s Award for Arts Business; Hudson Valley Magazine’s “Open Mic Night Editors Pick 2016” award, as well as its award for “Best Thing to Happen to the Local Music Scene 2014.”

It’s been a storied journey from Wall Street to Main Street; and as the Crier celebrates its 50th anniversary, history continues to be made weekly.


  • Pete Seeger
  • Randy Newman
  • Dr. John
  • Jeff Daniels
  • Judy Collins
  • Al Kooper
  • Kevin Bacon
  • David Byrne
  • Leon Russel
  • James Earl Jones
  • Arlo Gutherie
  • Richie Havens
  • Kevin Nealon
  • Brewer & Shipley
  • Vanessa Carlton
  • Rosanne Cash
  • Albert Collins
  • Rick Derringer
  • Buckwheat Zydeco
  • Iris Dement
  • Joan Hartford
  • Janis Ian
  • Levon Helm
  • John Pizzarelli
  • Joan Osborne
  • Buster Pointdexter
  • Johnny Winter
  • 10,000 Maniacs
  • Tom Paxton
  • Jimmy Webb
  • Tom Waits
  • John Sebastian
  • Susanne Vega
  • John Mayall
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Graham Parker
  • Taj Mahal
  • Carey Bell
  • Bèla Fleck
  • Phoebe Snow
  • Ian Hunter
  • Kenny Rankin
  • Leon Redbone
  • Colin Quinn
  • Pat Metheny
  • John Stewart
  • The Persuasions
  • The Four Freshman
  • Kenny White
  • Spyro Gyra
  • London Wainwright III
  • Patty Griffin
  • Herbie Mann
  • New Riders of the Purple Sage
  • Jimmy Vivino
  • Kate Wolf
  • The Flying Karamazov Brothers
  • Doc Watson
  • … and many more!

379 Main Street, Beacon, New York 12508

  • Thursday 4 – 9pm
  • Friday 4 – 9:30pm
  • Saturday 10:30 – 9:30pm
  • Sunday 10:30 – 9pm

(845) 855-1300

[email protected]