Seattle's Crocodile Cafe & Live Bait Lounge opens its grungy doors for business on April 30, 1991.

  • By Peter Blecha
  • Posted 12/28/2007
  • Essay 8443
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On the night of Tuesday, April 30, 1991, Seattle's Crocodile Cafe & Live Bait Lounge opens its grungy doors for business. It is located at 2200 2nd Avenue in downtown Seattle. That auspicious first night for the dark and noisy three-room venue (restaurant/liquor bar/music mosh-pit) -- known by locals as “the Croc” -- features performances by a neo-psychedelic Sub Pop band, Love Battery, and by Bellingham’s promising Power Pop group, the Posies, who gigged under the pseudonym of P.O.T. (“Posies On Tour”).

Icon of Grunge Rock

Over the following decade and a half, and through thousands of sweaty shows --including fabled ones by top local rock bands (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Mudhoney) as well as touring stars (Beastie Boys, Beck, Cheap Trick, Green Day, Los Lobos, REM, the Strokes, and Yoko Ono) -- the Croc became an internationally recognized icon of the “grunge rock” era and one of the town’s most beloved live music venues. 

Founded by Seattle attorney and local-music fan Stephanie Dorgan (with a few partners), the Croc was featured in movies (1992’s Singles and 1995’s Georgia) and hailed by The Washington Post in 2002 as “the CBGB of grunge.” The Croc was abruptly and sadly closed down on December 16, 2007. At the time of the closing, the room was acknowledged as no less than “legendary” by both Billboard and England’s New Musical Express; as a “central meeting place for Seattle’s world famous music scene” by the Seattle Weekly, and as “a destination for grunge rock pilgrims from around the country” by the Associated Press.

Sources: Clark Humphrey, Loser: The Real Seattle Music Story (Portland: Feral House, 1995), 156, 160;  Paul Iorio, “Nirvanapalooza: Following in the Seattle Footsteps of Kurt Cobain, Grunge and All,” The Washington Post, November 10, 2002,  p. E-01; Gene Johnson, “Crocodile Cafe, Seattle’s ‘Living Room’ Of Grunge, Closes,” Associated Press, Seattle Post Intelligencer, December 17, 2007; Cortney Harding, “Seattle’s Crocodile Cafe Shutters,” December 18, 2007, website accessed December 25, 2007 (;  “Legendary Seattle venue shuts its doors,” December 18, 2007 website accessed December 26, 2007 (; Peter Blecha archives.

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