Situated on New York’s almost-completely gentrified Lower East Side at 152 Ludlow Street is the Cake Shop, a small cafe/music venue where we’ve spent many hours, scoffing bagels, surfing the web, supping coffees or grabbing a beer.
Slightly reminiscent of the wonderfully shambolic 12 Bar in Denmark Street Soho, London, the upstairs room is a long and narrow affair, with the cafe counter nearest the door.
There used to be a great record store in the back, but that got smaller and smaller over the years until it finally shifted to a tiny space next to the door.
Now it’s less of a record store as a few magazine racks on the wall with some vinyl records stuffed in them, another victim of the digital age.
One of the precious few remaining venues on the Lower East Side that hasn’t been completely taken over by hipster and ‘young professionals,’ it’s a great place to grab a coffee or do some work in the day, or sup some beers in friendly surroundings at night.
There’s no cover charge if you want to hang out in the upstairs bar in the evening, but you usualy have to pay a small charge on the door to check out the bands downstairs.
Remaining bits of the display from the now-departed record store in the back (see below for archive photos).
We’ve always enjoyed the food and coffee here, but have to say that the last time we visited it was a bit rubbish – the wi-fi wasn’t working, the coffee bordered on undrinkable, the food was a bit ‘meh’ and the place looked a mess with chairs all piled up at the back.
I hope that’s just because it was on Thanksgiving Day when most of NYC closes down – the Cake Shop has long been one my favourite LES cafe so it would be a shame if it’s really gone downhill.
Have you been there recently? Please drop me a line and tell me it’s back to being as lovely as usual!
Archive views from November 2006
Here’s how the cafe looked at the end of 2006, when there was a full record store at the back.
A door by the end of the counter leads downstairs into a delightfully scruffy venue below which can get very hot’n’sweaty – like all good rock’n’roll venues should!
Vegan whoopoe pies on the cafe counter.
The Cake Shop record store in all its November 2006 glory.
I used to spend hours in stores like this when I was a kid, and it’s a shame to see them all disappearing for ever. Flicking through an iPod isn’t quite the same.
“Take a chance with your lives for once”.
The fella that ran the record shop was a nice bloke.
A last look at the Cake Shop. Hopefully, we’ll be back there soon!
Henry Rollins visits the Cake Shop and – to be honest – makes a bit of an arse of himself.
Despite what he says, the record shop was most definitely not stuffed full of “very hip” and “elitist” music. You can clearly see a Monochrome Set album in shot there FFS (I used to play for them and, trust me, I’m not elitist!)!
He comes over as a total div charging into a store with a film crew and slagging everyone off while trying to look good in front of his lady companion.
Not good, Henry.