Seattle's Crocodile Cafe, 'living room' of grunge, closes

  1. Seattle's Crocodile Cafe, 'living room' of grunge, closes


    SEATTLE -- The Crocodile Cafe, a dingy nightclub that became a second home for Seattle musicians during grunge rock's heyday, has closed, its booking agent said Monday.

    Eli Anderson wrote on the Web site of the weekly newspaper The Stranger that the club's owner, Stephanie Dorgan, broke the news in a voice mail message over the weekend.

    "I also want to reiterate that the Croc's closure came as a TOTAL SURPRISE to everyone who worked there, myself included," Anderson wrote. "Obviously if I knew we were going to close I wouldn't have been putting so much work into securing the Croc a solid spring schedule. I'd like to apologize to any band or agent or promoter who I inadvertently lied to in the past few weeks."

    The announcement sent pangs of panic and nostalgia through the local music scene. Many of Seattle's most famous bands - from Nirvana and Mudhoney to Modest Mouse and Death Cab for Cutie - played there, and musicians lauded its sound quality, its intimacy and even its food.

    "It was the living room of the Seattle music scene," music writer Charles Cross said. "You would see Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love hanging out there. It was the place that people in the music scene went."

    Dorgan, a former attorney, opened the Crocodile in 1991, but the space had been a concert space for years before that, Cross said. When Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Soundgarden and other bands exploded nationally, the Croc became a destination for grunge rock pilgrims from around the country.

    Details were scant Monday about the future of the building in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, which has been booming with upscale condominium construction in recent years. E-mails to the venue were not returned and no phone listing was immediately available for Dorgan. The club's Web site continued to list bookings through next spring, including a performance by The Decemberists in January.

    It was well-known that the Crocodile had been losing money in the face of competition from other clubs. When Dorgan and her former husband - REM guitarist Peter Buck - divorced last year, the court file revealed its troubled finances.

    "It was an amazing, vibrant venue for a long time," said Ben London, who played there several times with his band, Alcohol Funny Car, in the 1990s. "The writing on the wall was when they built the senior center right next door."
  2. Ahhhh the good ole days

    RIP Crocodile Cafe