An Oral History of Apache Cafe

By Jewel Wicker

As Atlanta evolves, there are few relics of “Old Atlanta” that remain. (In general, locals use the term “Old Atlanta” to nostalgically and idealistically refer to a time period that includes events and establishments ranging from Freaknik to Yin Yang Cafe. This bygone era was crucial for black culture, effectively laying the foundation for the city to become what it’s known as today.) At the end of March, another hub for local black artists shuttered — although, this one has plans to reopen in a new location (880 Woodrow St. SW).

Apache Cafe opened its doors in 2001, delivering delectable jerk chicken wings, visual art, spoken word, live music and more. Apache owner Asa Fain said he and his wife, Karen, were inspired by the 1900s creative collective Les Apaches in Paris when naming the venue. “It refers to the idea of freedom, emancipation from the norms,” Fain says.

Apache opened less than a year after its equally noteworthy predecessor Yin Yang Cafe closed. Artists ranging from India.Arie to Bone Crusher (who worked as a cook) had performed inside the venue — a former laundromat, according to NPR — since 2004. Despite being owned and operated as two different venues, in many ways, the two cafes at 64 3rd Street are intertwined. A 2000 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called Yin Yang “the kind of place Atlanta needed to become the black music center many think it already is.” This is where Apache co-owners Asa and Karen Fain made the connections that would allow them to open Apache and usher in a new wave of local talent.

Read the full story: ArtsAtl

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