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Postcrypt Coffeehouse: One of Columbia University's best-kept secrets

Posted: 7:48 AM, Feb 28, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-28 10:16:52-05

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, Manhattan — There’s a specific coffee and music venue that sits at the Columbia University campus, but it’s so hidden, some students don’t even know it exists.

Postcrypt Coffeehouse. It’s considered one of Columbia’s best-kept secrets.

Not a Columbia student? No problem! You don’t have to be a student to visit. The campus is open to the public.

Tucked away off the city streets, you’ll find St. Paul’s Chapel.

Then head down a tiny staircase to the basements and welcome to Postcrypt Coffeehouse.

It’s actually a music venue/coffeehouse that is completely run by students.

“We book acts from all over the country, sometimes all over the world,” said Lawrence, our tour guide who is also Postcrypt’s manager.

It was established in 1964 with a rich history. A number of artists came through the venue to try out their music sets before big releases in this intimate, 30-seat room. Jeff Buckley and Suzanne Vega, to name a few.

Rumor has it Art Garfunkal wrote and played some songs down here.

No alcohol is served — just coffee, cookies and good music.

By the way, everything including entry is free, which is why so many outside the walls of Columbia keep coming back.

“We have a lot of people. We call them regulars who’ve been coming for 10, 20, 30 years.”

Postcrypt Coffeehouse is open Fridays and Saturdays. They have three music sets each night and recently, they had Buck Meek there, who went on to play with a group called Big Thief. The group made it onto Barack Obama’s music playlist.

For more information on Postcrypt Coffeehouse, click here.