Toad's Place

Last updated
Toad's Place
Toad's Place
Location300 York St # 1
New Haven, Connecticut
OwnerBrian Phelps
Type Nightclub
Capacity 1000

Toad's Place is a concert venue and nightclub located in New Haven, Connecticut.



The building, located on York Street down the street from Ashley's Ice Cream and across an alley from Mory's Temple Bar, was the original location of the Yale Co-op. During the 1960s, it was a popular restaurant called Hungry Charlie's and then the location of Caleb's Tavern. In 1974, Michael Spoerndle, formerly a student at the Culinary Institute of America, rented the building for a French and Italian restaurant, which opened in March 1975. He named it Toad's Place, after a childhood joke. He said, "When my parents were going out to dinner, they would tell me they were going to such-and-such, and I thought it would be funny if they said, 'We're going to Toad's Place.' Plus, people who didn't go out and stayed at home, we'd call them 'toads.' It was the equivalent of a couch potato." [1] In 1976, Spoerndle turned the restaurant into a live music venue, [2] working with a local musician named Peter Menta to bring in bands. Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Koko Taylor were some of the first performers. [1] In 1976, Brian Phelps joined as manager and eventually co-owner. Phelps took control in 1995, after Spoerndle's numerous problems with alcohol and drug addiction. [2] Spoerndle died on May 6, 2011. [3] [4]

In 1983, a second location opened in Waterbury, Connecticut, although it lasted only three years. In 2007, a franchise location in Richmond, Virginia opened with a concert by the Squirrel Nut Zippers. It included a restaurant and club for up to 1,500 visitors. [5] The principal owner was Charles Joyner, a local physician who was a disc jockey at Toad's Place while he was a Yale undergraduate in the 1980s. On 9 March 2009, Toad's Place Richmond was closed. [6] All scheduled shows were canceled and/or moved to The National, another venue in Richmond. A third location was planned for Trenton, New Jersey. [7]

Jeff Lorber, a jazz keyboardist, included an instrumental piece called Toad's Place on his album Water Sign. [7] Through mutual friends, singer Rob Zombie met future wife, actress Sheri Moon, at Toad's in 1989. They married on Halloween of 2002.

Notable concerts

A long wall inside the venue the names of the many famous artists to have played there Toad's Place interior 2009.JPG
A long wall inside the venue the names of the many famous artists to have played there
July 10, 1980 Billy Joel Billy Joel recorded the song "Los Angelenos" from his album Songs in the Attic at Toad's Place.
December 14, 1980 U2 U2 played during the second leg of the Boy tour. This was only their eighth tour date in North America.
May 27, 1981 U2 U2 played during the fourth leg of the Boy tour. This was their first public performance of the song "Fire". [8]
November 15, 1981 U2 U2 played during the second leg of the October tour.
April 2, 1984 Allan Holdsworth Allan played tracks from the upcoming album Metal Fatigue
February 13, 1989 Dream Theater According to the "I Can Remember When" documentary taken from the When Dream and Day Reunite bootleg, Dream Theater played there during the When Dream and Day Unite tour. [9]
April 24-5, 1989 Cyndi Lauper The April 24 concert was the second one on the A Night to Remember tour. Earlier that evening, Brian Phelps (owner of Toad's Place) took Cyndi Lauper to dinner at Mory's Temple Bar, where the Whiffenpoofs serenaded her with an a capella performance of her song "Time After Time". She invited them to join her onstage the next day. [10]
August 12, 1989 The Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones played a surprise hour-long concert for 700 people at Toad's Place. They had been rehearsing for the Steel Wheels tour for six weeks at the Wykeham Rise School, a girls' school in Washington, Connecticut, that had closed earlier that year, and performed the concert as "a thank-you to Connecticut for the hospitality." [11]
January 12, 1990 Bob Dylan Bob Dylan started a tour with a Toad's Place performance including four sets that lasted over five hours, his longest show to date. It was his first club performance in 25 years. [1]
January 24, 2002 Slayer Original drummer Dave Lombardo performs with the group for the first time since 1992.
March 17, 2005 The Black Crowes The concert was called "Mr. Crowes Garden" and was one of five tour dates at small Northeastern clubs. The concerts were intended as a warm-up for their 2005 tour, after not having toured for almost four years. [12]

Incidents with under-age drinking

In September 2002, Toad's Place was fined $25,000 and closed for a week after underage drinkers were found on the premises. In May 2007, it closed for ninety days, after a November 5, 2005 inspection by the state Liquor Control Commission found 142 underage drinkers were present. The owner paid a fine of $90,000 in addition to the ninety-day closure. It reopened on August 4, 2007 with a concert by Badfish, a Sublime tribute band. [13]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Derby, Connecticut</span> City in Connecticut, United States

Derby is a city in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States, approximately 8 miles (13 km) west-northwest of New Haven. It is located in southwest Connecticut at the confluence of the Housatonic and Naugatuck rivers. It shares borders with the cities of Ansonia to the north and Shelton to the southwest, and the towns of Orange to the south, Seymour to the northwest, and Woodbridge to the east. The city is part of the Naugatuck Valley Planning Region. The population was 12,325 at the 2020 census. It is the smallest city in Connecticut by area, at 5.3 square miles (14 km2).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Haven Green</span> United States historic place

The New Haven Green is a 16-acre (65,000 m2) privately owned park and recreation area located in the downtown district of the city of New Haven, Connecticut, United States. It comprises the central square of the nine-square settlement plan of the original Puritan colonists in New Haven, and was designed and surveyed by colonist John Brockett. Today the Green is bordered by the modern paved roads of College, Chapel, Church, and Elm streets. Temple Street bisects the Green into upper (northwest) and lower (southeast) halves.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Haven Coliseum</span> Sports and entertainment arena in Connecticut, U.S.

New Haven Coliseum was a sports and entertainment arena located in downtown New Haven, Connecticut. Construction began in 1968 and was completed in 1972. The Coliseum was officially closed on September 1, 2002, by Mayor John DeStefano Jr., and demolished by implosion on January 20, 2007.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Old Campus (Yale University)</span>

The Old Campus is the oldest area of the Yale University campus in New Haven, Connecticut. It is the principal residence of Yale College freshmen and also contains offices for the academic departments of Classics, English, History, Comparative Literature, and Philosophy. Fourteen buildings—including eight dormitories and two chapels—surround a 4-acre (1.6 ha) courtyard with a main entrance from the New Haven Green known as Phelps Gate.

The Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center is an 8-court indoor intercollegiate tennis facility and outdoor stadium located on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center is part of the Yale University tennis complex which consists of 17 outdoor and 8 indoor DecoTurf hardcourts. Across Yale Avenue from the Yale Tennis Complex is the Connecticut Tennis Center Stadium, which hosted men's and women's professional tennis tournaments, hosted its last WTA tournament in 2018. In 2019 approval was given to convert the stadium into a concert venue. The outdoor stadium was built in 1991 for the Volvo Tennis Championships, and by 2009 it had seats for 15,000 spectators. The current capacity of the Connecticut Tennis Center Stadium is around 15,000, making it the third largest tennis venue in the United States and one of the largest in the world by capacity, behind the French Open's Roland Garros Stadium. The Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center is located at 279 Derby Avenue, West Haven, CT 06516. It is one of the nicest indoor collegiate tennis facilities in the country. The facility has a master scoreboard and there are HD video cameras on every court that support streaming. All eight courts also have individual scoreboards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Louis' Lunch</span> Restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut

The Chapel Square Mall was a shopping mall in downtown New Haven, Connecticut. It was one of the first fully enclosed air-conditioned downtown malls in the United States; it has now been converted into apartments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battell Chapel</span>

Battell Chapel is the largest chapel of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Built in 1874–76, it was funded primarily with gifts from Joseph Battell and others of his family. Succeeding two previous chapel buildings on Yale's Old Campus, it provided space for daily chapel services, which were mandatory for Yale College students until 1926. Together with Durfee Hall and Farnam Hall, the chapel was part of a program begun in the 1870s to build up the perimeter of Old Campus and separate it from the rest of the city. These three buildings, all by the same architect, were among the first at Yale to be named for donors rather than function, location, or legislative funding.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mory's</span> United States historic place

Mory's, known also as Mory's Temple Bar, is a private club adjacent to the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, United States, founded in 1849 and housed in a clubhouse that was originally a private home built sometime before 1817. Originally it was a restaurant, especially hospitable to Yale undergraduates, located at the corner of Temple and Center Streets, but in 1912, when the building was to be demolished, the owner and proprietor, Louis Linder, sold it to a group of Yale alumni who moved the bar to 306 York Street and turned it into a membership club. The building was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Haven Arena</span> Defunct American indoor ice hockey arena

New Haven Arena was an indoor arena on Grove Street in New Haven, Connecticut, that served as a venue for ice hockey, concerts, and circuses.

The Oakdale Theatre is a multi-purpose performance venue, located in Wallingford, Connecticut. Opened in 1954, the venue consists of an auditorium and domed theatre, known as The Dome at Oakdale.

The Empire Bar and Zoo Bar were two adjoining night clubs in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. First called The Zoo Bar, followed by the Rock Shed founded by Local Rock DJ - Jon Ingle, in the early 1980's, Ian Dobbs sold the venue in the latter part of the 1980s and then became "Theo's Zoo bar", in the early 1990s, and named after the head bouncer, the original venue was a standalone nightclub. The Tramshed and Zoo Bar were brought to national attention by the media as a "haven" for underage drinkers, when they became among the first establishments to be closed under the auspices of the Licensing Act 2003, which came into effect in England and Wales at midnight on 23 November 2005.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Infinity Hall</span>

Infinity Hall is an American performing arts venue located in Norfolk, Connecticut, located in a historic building from 1883. Another venue also named Infinity Hall is operated by the same company in Hartford, Connecticut.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Meriden Mall</span> Shopping mall in Meriden, Connecticut

Meriden Mall is a shopping mall located in Meriden, Connecticut. At almost 900,000 square feet, Meriden is Connecticut's seventh largest mall, housing over 140 shops. The mall features the traditional retailers Boscov's, Dick's Sporting Goods, and TJ Maxx, while featuring prominent specialty retailers such as Charlotte Russe, Bath and Body Works, Forever 21 Red, Foot Locker, and Torrid.

Bob Dylan performed 93 shows in 1990 as part of what is popularly known as the Never Ending Tour.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Modern Apizza</span> Restaurant in Connecticut, United States

Modern Apizza is an American pizza restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut. Along with Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and Sally's Apizza, Modern forms what is informally referred to by locals as the "Holy Trinity" of New Haven-style pizza; the three pizza parlors are consistently ranked by food critics as some of the best pizza places in the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Comet Ping Pong</span> Pizzeria in Washington, D.C.

Comet Ping Pong is a pizzeria, restaurant, and concert venue located on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C.'s Chevy Chase neighborhood. Owned by James Alefantis, Comet has received critical acclaim from The Washington Post, The Washingtonian, New York magazine, the DCist, and Guy Fieri of Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bow Tie Cinemas</span> American movie theater chain

Bow Tie Cinemas is an American movie theater chain, with 8 locations in Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia. As of 2013, it is the eighth-largest movie theater chain in the United States and is the oldest, having been founded in 1900. Bow Tie Cinemas is family-owned and has been for four generations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Taft Hotel (New Haven)</span>

The Taft Hotel was a hotel in New Haven, Connecticut. The building is still extant, primarily used for apartments. It is a contributing part of the Chapel Street Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


  1. 1 2 3 Fried, Fran, "Twenty years of rock 'n' roll: Toad's Place hits milestone", New Haven Register, January 1, 1995, page A1
  2. 1 2 Ball, Molly, "After swerving off-course, a grab for the wheel", Yale Herald, September 29, 2000
  4. McCready, Brian (8 May 2011). "Toad's Place founder dies, brought legends to New Haven". New Haven Register. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  5. Neman, Daniel, "Toad's Place opens on a smooth note", Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 22, 2007, page B3
  6. Peters, Mitchell, "Toad's Place In Richmond To Close?", Billboard.Biz, March 10, 2009
  7. 1 2 Verel, Patrick, "For a Hopping Club, The Beat Goes Onward", New York Times, November 19, 2006
  8. de la Parra, Pimm Jal, U2 Live: A Concert Documentary, Omnibus Press, 2003, page 23
  9. "Dream Theater - I Can Remember when documentary". YouTube .
  10. Benninghoff, Eric (16 February 2018). "The Toad Keeps Hopping after 43 Years". The Yale Daily News. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  11. "Rolling Stones' Surprise For Fans in New Haven", New York Times, August 14, 1989.
  12. Rothman, Robin A, "Black Crowes Heat Up", Rolling Stone, March 21, 2005
  13. Sirois, Kevin, "Toad Hops Anew: 90 days later and $90K lighter, an entertainment franchise is born", Business New Haven, August 20, 2007

41°18′41″N72°55′46″W / 41.311488°N 72.929511°W / 41.311488; -72.929511