A History of 19 Broadway
19 Broadway was built in 1921 and operated as the Fairfax Hotel & Restaurant by Albert Bolongaro. In 1923, L.M. Clifford leased the hotel and restaurant, with a pool room and a card room upstairs. A speak-easy existed in the space from 1922 to 1931, with slot machines in the back.
In 1929, Bella Celoni purchased the Fairfax Hotel & Restaurant, moving his family into the hotel rooms onsite. His restaurant, which included a small bar, was downstairs at what is now 19 Broadway’s MYX Lounge. After World War II, Mr. Celoni retired and his two sons, Jerome and Louis, decided to close the restaurant and open a liquor store at 19 Broadway and a bar at 17 Broadway called Celoni’s. The present bar was built byTony Tetroni, Jerome’s uncle, in 1940. The address of the present 19 Broadway Bar & Restaurant is actually 17 Broadway.
In 1979 three brothers and their spouses purchased the property from the Celonis, which included the bar at 17 Broadway, the liquor store at 19 Broadway, the three-bedroom unit above the bar, 3 one-bedroom rental units above the liquor store, a house behind the liquor store and a small cottage behind the bar where the comedian W.C. Fields stayed in 1935. When Tucker and Barbara Spolter came in to run the bar and the liquor store, the name was changed from Celoni’s to Tucker’s Tavern.
This attracted a whole new group of regulars, some of whom still frequent the bar today. The tavern featured softball, darts and pool teams and was a very active and fun place to hang out.
In 1984, new owners Garry and Amory Graham moved into the upstairs 3-bedroom living quarters, and instituted “Music Every Night” at 19 Broadway, which just celebrated its 30th Anniversary (in 2014). The upstairs unit is now the “green room” for musicians and with the great kitchen, shower, outdoor bar and deck it is considered the best green room in California. The Grahams’ concept was to give the musicians a cool and intimate place to play so their fans could see and hear them up close, and the magic happened frequently… it felt like New Year’s Eve every night.
Chuck Day from the Mamas and the Papas and Johnny Rivers Band became a close friend of Garry. He moved upstairs above the club and held a Blue Monday Jam that lasted 16 years to 2006. In the 1990s before the club expanded, bands such as The Mad Hannans, Vinyl, Luther Tucker and Chuck Day regularly packed the house. In 1991 Chris McCarthy became an owner and came in to manage 19 Broadway, and the daily patronage and club’s success grew. The club was doubled in size in 2001 by selling and removing the liquor store. Agents were brought in to book local, national and international acts as the capacity was now up to 250 patrons. The club gained a national reputation for presenting great music every night. It is estimated that over 1,000,000 fans have enjoyed the 90,000+ musicians who have performed between 1994 and 2014
In 2013 Dr.Tony DeFrance bought a majority interest in the 19 Broadway Niteclub. All the partners believe the best is yet to come! Stay tuned! Since the beginning of its existence, the building at 17 and 19 Broadway has been dedicated to fun and entertainment, a tradition carried into the new millennium!.