Rock ‘n’ Roll Coffee Shop Duke’s Shutters

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A tip of the hat to L.A. TV legend Tom Hatten, who called today with news that his neighborhood breakfast spot had disappeared. West Hollywood’s legendary Duke’s Coffee Shop closed on April 16th. The modest restaurant has been located next to the Whisky a-Go-Go since 1988, but originally opened two decades earlier inside the Tropicana Motel on Santa Monica Boulevard. The little joint quickly became a musician’s hangout. “Back in the ‘60s all the acts would stay there because there were 12 or 13 rock and roll TV shows like Shindig! And Hollywood Palace.” Said Domenic Priore, author of Riot On Sunset Strip: Rock ‘n Roll’s Last Stand in Hollywood. “That’s why the bands came here and that’s why the strip was so full of action in those days.”  The Tropicana sounds like a pretty debaucherous place – check out this memoir from Iris Berry casting Andy Warhol, Jim Morrison and Tom Waits among the partiers at the palm-lined motor lodge and its late night coffee shop. The motel was “Your first stop up the rock and roll ladder” according to writer Art Fein “as well as a place to stay when you made it.” The last incarnation of Duke’s was a mildly spruced up version of the divey diner, with a $6.95 breakfast special that served until 4 A.M. The location has been acquired by the folks behind Rock & Reilly’s Irish Pub next door who report that a new restaurant resembling neither their bar or Duke’s will open in about four months.  “It’s not the way things should have gone” Duke’s owners posted on Facebook the day they closed. “We wish it had been different, but without any well earned fanfare Duke’s goes into the history books this morning.”

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