Towne Crier Café to Relocate to Beacon

Yearlong search ends on Main Street

For the past year, Phil Ciganer has been searching for a new home for his Towne Crier Café. In the spring of 2013, the legendary live music club will move into a renovated industrial building in the heart of Beacon.

“It’s the ideal location,” said Ciganer, who founded the Towne Crier in 1972. “Beacon has a revitalized downtown, a thriving arts community and easy access from the whole Hudson Valley.”

The move was prompted in early 2012 when the club lost its lease on the Pawling location that had been its home for nearly 25 years. “We briefly considered closing our doors,” Ciganer said, “but the overwhelming outpouring of support inspired me to pursue a new and better vision of the Towne Crier.”

Open Book; photo courtesy of the band

Open Book plays the Town Crier.

Ciganer’s search took him throughout the Hudson Valley, and many towns attempted to lure the club. But in the end he was drawn to Beacon, with its Lower Main Street Historic District that is bustling with galleries, restaurants, boutiques and shops. With its vibrant arts scene, some new arrivals have even taken to calling it BroNo — Brooklyn North. “And we stay right here in Dutchess County,” he said.

It was 40 years ago that Ciganer opened the Towne Crier Cafe, in an old stagecoach stop in Beekman, N.Y. The club has changed location twice over the years, but it has never altered what Ciganer sees as his mission: to present world-class musical talent, along with promising up-and-comers, in an intimate club environment. On its stage have appeared such greats as Lucinda Williams, Randy Newman, Richie Havens, Pete Seeger and Levon Helm.

The new Main Street location, Ciganer said, will enable him to build a new Towne Crier, while keeping the same great vibe and respected listening environment that music and dining enthusiasts have enjoyed for four decades. He plans to increase seating by more than 50 percent, but a flexible floor plan will allow him to adjust the seating to the act. State-of-the-art sound and lighting will be installed. And while the dining has always been a Towne Crier attraction, he plans to update the menu to focus on locally sourced food. “It’s going to be the kind of restaurant people will want to visit even when the stage is quiet.”

Ciganer told that “it’s very exciting to be part of this blossoming community along with the whole Rivertowns renaissance. I keep hearing from people in this area who are excited by the convenience factor of us moving closer.” Ciganer said that after 25 years, the Towne Crier had become a destination venue in and of itself. He is looking forward to “taking four decades of experience and applying it in Beacon. In life we step up, and that’s what we intend to do here: more comfort, quality sound, better food.”

Ciganer said the City of Beacon had held out a “welcome mat” for him, adding, “They’ve been nothing but helpful and comfortable.” In turn, Ciganer and his team have “put a lot of work into planning and design; our goal is to fit in to Beacon, with a place that is comfortable, rustic and welcoming.”

While the new location is under construction, the café will continue to serve up a full menu of music and dining at its current Pawling location. “We’re planning on a seamless transition,” said Ciganer. “Our fans have kept us going for four decades, and we have no plans to stop now.”

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