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Jan 9, 2023

Wall-to-wall posters, sticky floors, a small stage and the stale-beer smell give Toad’s Place its enduring character as a live-music shrine. Authenticity can’t be faked. Opened as a restaurant in 1975, Toad’s has welcomed hundreds of musical acts from the pioneers of the Blues like B.B. King, to today’s megastars Drake and Cardi B. But what does it take to run a nightclub? And have it be successful for almost half a century?


Author and historian Mary Donohue interviews Randall Beach, co-author with Toad’s Place owner Brian Phelps, of the new book The Legendary Toad’s Place, Stories from New Haven’s Famed Music Venue, published in 2021 by Globe Pequot Press. Beach was the rock music critic for the New Haven Register from 1978 to 1984, covering many shows at Toad’s Place. He later wrote about rock music for the New Haven Advocate, the Hartford Courant, and Billboard magazine. He currently writes a column for Connecticut magazine. 


Read more about Toad’s Place in the photo essay published in Connecticut Explored at


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