Vesuvio Cafe was established in 1948 and is located next to City Lights Bookstore. Together with City Lights Bookstore, one of the walls of the cafe forms Jack Kerouac Alley. Kerouac often frequented the cafe along with many of his fellow beat writers, leading to the cafe becoming a historical site as well as a popular tourist destination. Today, the cafe is still incredibly popular, and those who visit are greeted with a plethora of memorabilia from the Beat Generation.
Backstory and Context
The bar/cafe is located along Columbus Avenue next to City Lights Bookstore, a neighborhood establishment opened by Lawrence Ferlinghetti who was also one of the Vesuvio Cafe's famous patrons. The bookstore and cafe are located at the famous Jack Kerouac Alley which honors the Beat writer with inscriptions and murals honoring the literary and cultural history of both San Francisco and its diverse community.
In an effort to preserve and emphasize the importance of the Beat writers and the literary culture which led to the cafe's status as a cultural and historical landmark, cafe owners Janet and Christopher Fein have incorporated the bar's history into its decor. The interior of the Vesuvio Cafe is filled with paintings and historical photos in addition to a plethora of memorabilia commemorating its connection to the Beat Generation.