Sunday, August 16, 2009
1048 University Avenue, Berkeley-Mandrake's
1048 University Avenue in Berkeley (between 10th Street and San Pablo Avenue) was the site of Mandrake's. From 1965 onwards, Mandrake's was a pool hall that booked occasional music shows, often for free. By mid-1968, the venue was taken over and booked by Mary Moore, the wife of a jazz musician (Willie Moore).
From 1968 to 1974, Mandrake's was an important club on the Berkeley music scene. The Joy of Cooking had a regular weeknight gig there for much of 1969, and it helped to establish both the band and the venue. Weekly bookings at Mandrake's ran the usual spectrum of American music, but there was a little more emphasis on blues and jazz than competing clubs like The Longbranch (on 2504 San Pablo) and the New Orleans House (on 1505 San Pablo).
After Mandrake's closed around 1974, the venue reopened as Jerry's Stop Sign. The one time I went there in 1977, there were pool tables, so it appeared that the venue had returned to its earlier incarnation. I was seeing a friend's band play, but no one was there. The bartender politely suggested that the previous night's shooting may have cut down on attendance.
I took the photo above on August 11, 2009. The site is currently a pet emergency hospital. The angle is poor because of roadwork at the time, but 1048 University is the right half of the structure, with the orange awning. I no longer recall if the other half (1054) was part of the original venue, but I doubt it.