Manny Roth, the owner of the legendary Cafe Wha?, located in New York's Greenwich Village, died at the age of 94.
The cafe became famous for hosting performances on its basement-level stage by Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen and many other music icons in the 1960s. Roth, who is the uncle of Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth, died July 25 of natural causes, Roth’s daughter Jodi Roth reportedly said Friday. Roth is reportedly survived by his first two wives and three children.
The cafe was founded in the late 1950s and was personally designed and decorated by Roth. The stage at the cafe was a stop for young performers, and in early 1961, Dylan came to perform at the cafe.
"He was just a kid," Roth previously said about Dylan, according to Associated Press. "The first time I heard Dylan get up on an open mic, I'm thinking to myself, 'This kid doesn't have a prayer. He can't sing, can't play and certainly doesn't have any stage presence.'"
Dylan remembered the cafe in his memoir, “Chronicles: Volume One,” as "a subterranean cavern, liquorless, ill lit, low ceiling, like a wide dining room with chairs and tables."
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Due to financial troubles, Roth had to leave the cafe in the early 1970s and started working in various other businesses.
The cafe made headlines in early 2012 after a reunited Van Halen chose Cafe Wha? to kick off their tour.
"It took us 50 years to get this gig. It was easier getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame than getting this gig," David reportedly said from the stage at the time. "This is a temple."