Yippee! The Yippie Museum Cafe Gets Back Its Groove

Earlier this week, The Local interviewed Ed Sanders, who is often associated with the Yippies. How’s the movement doing these days? Quite well, if its new cafe is any indication.

The Yippie Museum Café at 9 Bleecker Street hadn’t been on anyone’s party map recently, but after closing over the summer and reopening with a renovated basement, a new paint job, and new menu items such as vegan cookies and empanadas, the longtime Youth International Party headquarters is hopping once again. Next spring, it will host its first comprehensive exhibit of Yippie artifacts.

Part of the credit goes to Michael McKenna, who was called in last spring to give the café a makeover. The manager cleared out the front of the room, so passersby could get of glimpse inside, and found good homes for 30 cats living upstairs (there had been complaints of a weird smell). Mr. McKenna is still sprucing up the place, but said he had already seen an increase in interest among daytime customers as well as organizations wishing to use the cafe for events.

It’s a good thing: Nine Bleecker Street has long been an iconic meeting place. In 1967, Abbie Hoffman, one of the prominent founders of the Yippies, held meetings there with the “Tribal Council,” a predecessor to other Yippie publications. By 1973, the building had become the unofficial headquarters of the Yippie movement. The “Yipster Times” was published from the third floor until 1979, when its name was changed to “Overthrow,” and so-called “smoke-ins” and pro-medical-marijuana marches were also organized from the building. “Overthrow” lasted until 1989, but the marches continue to this day. Dana Beal, a former resident of 9 Bleecker Street, started the Global Marijuana March in 1999.

Watch The Local’s video to hear how the Yippie Museum and Cafe is keeping up with the times. Rest assured, the French-press coffee is still 75 cents.