Baby O’s

122 Cherry Street

Contemporary photo of Baby O's venue
Poster for The Enemy at Baby O's, November, 1980

The Monte Cristo Café was the first restaurant to operate on this site back in the 1940s, followed in the 1950s by the Fox and Hounds Restaurant. Acquired by a local Greek family, their new Olympic Torch restaurant began offering belly dancing with live music around July 1979. Then, just as the New Wave music scene was picking up momentum, it was reimagined as a rock dance club. The official Grand Opening of Baby’s O’s was on February 6, 1981, with two bands: the Impacts, and the Bones. Many more local bands performed here, including Meredith Brooks and the Suspects, the Cowboys, Robyrt Delong and the Pushbuttons, Joe Despair and the Future, ESX, the Frazz, Dynamic Logs, the Enemy, the Heats, the Lonesome City Kings, No Cheese Please, the Numatics, the Pins, the Plugs, the Presidents, Billy Rancher and the Unreal Gods, the Rats, Annie Rose & the Thrillers, Shatterbox, Strypes, the Stealers, the Untouchables, the Villains, and the Visible Targets.

In January 1982, John Baptise, a controversial promoter and talent booker from the Astor Park venue, was poached as a manager by Baby O’s, and the shows continued. Local bands included the Allies, B Sides, Bobcats, Hi-Fi, the Jet, the Kinetics, the Kneekaps, Life In General, New Flamingoes, Next Exit, Rally Go, Red Dress, Three Swimmers, and the Zippers. Baby O’s participated in the Pioneer Square Music Festival on July 13, 1982 – which was organized to raise funds for radio station KCMU – and the Beat Pagodas, Blackouts and Dynette Set performed.

By 1983 the Blackouts had moved to Boston and resurfaced in the band Ministry, which, while on tour, played one gig here. Several other touring acts also played here, including the German avant-garde chanteuse Nico, the Waitresses from Ohio, England’s Vice Squad, and California’s the Units, Kingbees, Los Microwaves, Translator, and Paul Collins’ Beat, plus the Gun Club, and the Contractions.

Two bands that would gain renown during the Grunge era played early shows here: Bundle of Hiss (which included future TAD bassist Kurt Danielson and future Nirvana/Mudhoney drummer Dan Peters); and Room Nine (which did a rockabilly shtick as the Hick-Ups).

The final night of live music appears to have been on November 6, 1982. The venue changed hands and by February 1983 was recast as the Fox Restaurant & Lounge. Later, Bakeman’s Restaurant – which had opened elsewhere in 1970 — moved in and was a very popular sandwich deli until closing in 2017.

Returning to 1st Avenue, notice a parking garage across the street. This is the site of a legendary jazz club, The Penthouse.

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