Bay Area restaurant founded by Grateful Dead bassist closes

Terrapin Crossroads, a famed San Rafael music venue and restaurant opened by Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh and his wife, Jill, has permanently closed.

The last show, a performance from the cover band Stu Allen & Mars Hotel, took place over Halloween weekend. The lease for the venue on Yacht Club Drive ended in September, according to the Marin Independent Journal. Terrapin Crossroads opened in 2012.

“We explored all possible options in an attempt to keep Terrapin at its current location, but after carefully considering a number of various partnerships and collaborations, we decided that the best thing for us, and for Terrapin, was to bid farewell – for now,” read a statement from the couple on Terrapin Crossroads’ website.

“In that spirit, while Terrapin’s time at its current location may be coming to a close, we know that Terrapin Crossroads was never a location — it was a community. We hope to see you all soon, in some form, somewhere down the road,” the statement concluded, thanking the venue’s staff, visiting musicians and the community surrounding it. “We hope that you’ll remember the past decade the same way that we do; with love, joy, and a deep sense of pride at what we all built together.”

Housed in the former Seafood Peddler space, the live event spot intended to provide an alternative to Lesh’s tumultuous touring schedule. It offered gorgeous views of the San Rafael canal against the Marin sunset, as well as dishes like wood-fired pizza, chicken paillard topped with arugula salad, burgers and pasta.

During the pandemic, when it wasn’t possible to continue scheduling shows in the venue’s Grate Room — which once hosted lively crowds of up to 300 people — the couple continued to host outdoor gigs at the adjacent Beach Park, where they held a separate lease. Over the years, they invested more than $200,000 into improvements on the property, reported the Marin Independent Journal. 

Ezra Lipp, the drummer for Stu Allen & Mars Hotel, described the last show as “a great (and emotional) honor.” 

“That place and the community that surrounded it has held more significance and meaning and brought more gifts to me and others than I can do justice trying to encapsulate in a single social media post,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “What a long strange trip its certainly been. I’m just grateful to have been on the journey and to have one last blow out with so many good friends.”

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