Dino and Carlo's Bar

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For a period of about four years from 1965 until 1968, overlapping the Summer of Love in both directions of time, there was a small bar in San Francisco on Vallejo Ave (on the opposite side of Columbus Ave from North Beach) called Dino and Carlo's.

The bar was owned by and named after Dino Pettuchi and Carlo Morrela. It was managed by Lou 'the Glue' Marcelli[1] who is still well known to patrons of the Dolphin Club in San Francisco. He is known as 'The Commodore'

This period of time was an exceptional fertile period in the development of rock and acid rock music. Dino and Carlo's showcased new musical groups, poets and artists. While serving pitchers of dark beer in an even darker environment, the bar allowed many new and up and coming bands to play their music.

The beer was cheap. The performers were never paid. They put a hat on the front of the small stage to earn some compensation for their performance. The acoustics were terrible. The clientele included longshoreman and flower children, not necessarily a good mix. No one ever complained because the performances were outstanding.

Small bars that last for only a few years are soon forgotten. Dino and Carlo's is exceptional in that it showcased so many "later to be famous" music groups and other personages. While forgotten by many of its patrons, it is remembered by those given the opportunity to perform there.

Notable Groups[edit]

The more successful bands who performed at Dino and Carlo's were:

plus many others before they had become household names.

Other musical groups[edit]

There were many talented groups not reaching the popularity of those mentioned above who also performed at Dino and Carlo's. Among then were:

  • Celestial Hysteria
  • The Flamin’Groovies
  • Devil's Kitchen[5]
  • Trudy Broussard Trio[2]
  • Country Weather[3]
  • Marble Farm[3]
  • Little Miss Cornshuck's Loose Troupe

Notable Poets[edit]

There were many poets who presented their material at Dino and Carlo's. Among them were:


Celestial Hysteria[edit]

This group of high school kids played on several occasions at Dino and Carlo's. They also played all around the bay area including the Filmore West.

The scuttlebutt around Dino and Carlo's was that they came close to signing a recording contract with Seymour Stein of Sire Records but their parents had not allowed them to sign.

The Flaming Groovies[edit]

"I remember the very first place we played, it was a place called Dino and Carlo’s, and Danny couldn’t make our first show, so the very first Flamin’ Groovies show was played without drums! But, he did play the next night. It was very ramshackle back then, everything was pretty goofy. We barely had amps, you couldn’t believe the small little funky amps we were playing through"[6]

Harry Chapin[edit]

Harry is probably one musician that management at Dino and Carlo's was totally unaware had ever performed at their bar.

"I met Harry when he was strolling around the Haight Ashbury. He asked about many things but particularly about any music spots (bars) in the area. I knew of none so I took him to the Haight-Ashbury Switchboard and introduced him to Ron Small. Ron knew of no good music bars in the Haight but suggested that Harry would like one of Ron's favorites close to North Beach. We both agreed to go there that evening with Ron. Ron was a prolific drinker and had already finished a full pitcher of beer before either of us had finished a glass. He excused himself to call his girlfriend Mary. The band was taking a break and Harry got up and talked to them. In a short bit, Harry got on stage, used one of the groups guitars and sang a ballad.

It was not well received.I think the bar crowd liked the real band and just didn't pay any attention to Harry. Actually I don't think anyone knew who he was. Harry returned to our table. Ron returned and ordered another pitcher of brew for himself and two more glasses for us. He was having a problem with Mary. Harry joked that "we" need better lyrics, a play on words since Ron's telephone call went badly and so had Harry's brief performance

Shortly, Harry and I were on our third or fourth beer and Ron was finishing his second pitcher. We were kicking about lyrics dealing with Mary and Ron. The one line I distinctly remember was 'I'm a young old sodden souse'. I did not realize who Harry would become. It was not until about 5 years later when I heard the song 'If my Mary were here' and remembered this incident" [4]

The Muir Beach connection[edit]

With the success of the San Francisco establishment, Dino and Carlo expanded and booked time at the Muir Beach Lodge in Marin County. They parlayed the success of a local disk jockey affectionately known as "The Buddha from Muir Beach" who already ran concerts at the Lodge. They renamed the Lodge to "The Dino and Carlo Naval Base"[2] and many of the same bands played both in San Francisco and Muir Beach

Unfortunately the bar later added nude dancing which outraged the local residents of Muir Beach. Eventually the residents had the Lodge condemned and a public park placed at that location.[7]


  1. ^ SF Chronicle article June 06, 2011|By Meredith May, Staff Writer
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Personal letter from Lou Marcelli to Ron Small
  3. ^ a b c d MarinIJ Staff Report Posted: 06/26/2009 "Michaels for the ladies and Berlin for the guys |"http://www.marinij.com/ci_12685236
  4. ^ a b N.C. Demet Notes about "Life in San Francisco"
  5. ^ Robbie Stokes Bio |http://robcoaudio.com/robbie.aspx
  6. ^ Roy Loney Interview by John Battles | http://www.psychotronic.com/psychotronic-interviews/roy-loney
  7. ^ Sarah Smith's History of Muir beach | http://www.muirbeachcsd.com/documentsSarahSmith.pdf