Terrapin Crossroads where the 60’s and Modern Age Blend
San Rafael, CA- “In another times forgotten space…”, words penned by the prolific and celebrated Grateful Dead lyricist, Robert Hunter sound quite apropos upon a visit to Terrapin Crossroads in this Marin County city of San Rafael.
The musical and culinary home for Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh which at first glance strikes some as an unusual location for such an endeavor, is an ideal fit upon further inspection.
As a member from a band that was surrounded by devoted fans who created their own culture outside mainstream society, Terrapin Crossroads is situated in a private corner along the banks of San Rafael Creek. San Rafael and the Grateful Dead history are tightly intertwined as this location lends itself perfectly to the joining of both the Dead faithful and the community at large. In short, it’s a damn fun place to visit.
Music and Atmosphere
Upon entering and sometimes before entering Terrapin, it’s quickly apparent this place is chill. The place exudes a relaxed vibe from employees to the patrons. The relaxed, no hassle culture is as welcoming as visiting with old friends and family.
Live music permeates your entire experience and most of it free of charge.
There’s a band area in the bar area where Phil and guests provide impromptu jams at any time of day. It’s not uncommon to see music legends take the stage or blend in the crowd without a fuss. Fans often toss a quick thanks or just say hello. Keep your smartphone in your pocket.
A new outdoor backyard provides a more spacious and scenic waterside music setting, best on warm weather evenings. Play areas for children, Bocce Ball, Ping Pong keep patrons entertained as the music plays while other dance or relax on the lawn.
The Grate Room hosts paid concerts on selected evenings and has a capacity of a few hundred. Grab your tickets early online.
Hungry or thirsty, head over to the bar or restaurant for a meal or quick appetizer bites.
For smaller crowds and lower prices, try hitting Terrapin at Happy Hour then hit the backyard for some live music.
We highly recommend making reservations as some evenings fill up quickly with families. Valet parking is provided on busier evenings. We arrived early and parked in the lot.
Terrapin Crossroads success appears rooted in its ability to run a thriving business while celebrating the musical heritage of the Grateful Dead and at the same time honoring their fans in an artful and respectful way. Not an easy task, but perhaps a model for the future in music venues and business.
There’s a lotta love at Terrapin Crossroads and the gratitude is easily discernible as it flows from Phil toward his fans and from the fans in return.
There are quite a few people happy to see Phil, now 76, enjoying life at his musical and culinary home than on the road with the Dead. I’m certainly one of them.
Online at Terrapin Crossroads